Alicia Keys


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.

She 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.

Alicia 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 musician.

"Butterflyz", 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.

In 1998, major record labels began discovering her, which resulted in old-fashioned bidding wars in her honor. She eventually signed with Arista Records.

In 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.

Keys graduated 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.

The Diary 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 with Usher.

Most recently, 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.


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