Alicia Keys was born in New York City, New York on January 25,
1981, the future R&B vocalist was practicing piano and being
tutored in the classics by age seven. Since the tender age of
5, Alicia Keys has proven herself a true musical prodigy.
credits much of her success to her mother's insistence on her
continuing with the lessons, and ultimately growing as an artist.
Her ultra-supportive mother advised her that piano-playing was
the one thing in life that she would not allow her daughter to
give up on. While many children may consider this to be a form
of punishment, Alicia thought otherwise. Piano-playing proved
to become one of her true passions in life and she pursued it.
eventually enrolled in the Professional Performance Arts School
of Manhattan and chose to major in choir. An all-around outstanding
student, her musical talents grew to an even higher level under
the guidance of one of her instructors. This instructor helped
to train her voice, enabling Alicia to further grow as a multi-talented
which she composed at 14, would later appear on her hit debut
album, Songs in A Minor. At the age of 16, Alicia's outstanding
academic grades allowed her to finish high school early. Columbia
University accepted her immediately thereafter, but she was intent
on pursuing her love of music instead.
1998, major record labels began discovering her, which resulted
in old-fashioned bidding wars in her honor. She eventually signed
with Arista Records.
late 1999, Alicia decided to join Clive Davis and his newfound
record label, J Records. Davis has supported and groomed many
high-profile artists in the past, including Janis Joplin, Bruce
Springsteen and Santana. Keys saw this as an opportunity to grow
and Davis, being the legendary record mogul that he is, has been
relentlessly hyping the piano-playing prodigy ever since.
as valedictorian from the Professional Performing Arts School
in Manhattan, and attended Columbia University on scholarship
before embarking on a full time music career. A standout as a
performer, her grounding in the basics set her apart from the
teen pop music scene and garnered respect from the music community
- which bestowed five Grammy Awards on the newly-fledged singer
and songwriter in 2002.
of Alicia Keys, released in 2003, immediately catapulated to the
top of the Billboard R&B charts. Since then, Keys as racked
up an impressive number of music awards and nominations in 2004,
including Billboard Female Artist of the Year, Vibe Awards Artist
of the Year, and the American Music Awards Favorite Female Artist.
In 2005, Keys
took home Grammy Awards for Best R&B album for The Diary of
Alicia Keys, Best Female R&B Vocal for If I Ain't Got You
and Best R&B performance by a duo or group for My Boo, a duet
it has been announced that the singer will also receive the Starlight
Award - honoring gifted young songwriters - at the Songwriters
Hall of Fame Awards gala on June 9, 2005.