Alicia Keys is an accomplished singer, pianist, composer, and record producer from New York. She was born in Harlem, a neighborhood in Manhattan where blacks in America bloomed, and then she was raised in Hell's Kitchen, which once was a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans. S he ended up being raised by only her mom after her dad walked out when she was two-years-old. At that time, he was a flight attendant. Alicia's mom was a paralegal and a theatre actress. She and her mom shared a one-room apartment in a spot where there was common to see drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes out on the blocks nearby. Thus, she started to learn to play the piano at the age of 7 to distract her from all the seedy elements. She studied classical music such as Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart and great jazz musicians including Marian McPartland, Oscar Peterson, and Fats Waller. When she was 13, Alicia started to attend Profession Performance Arts School (PPAS), a high school in Manhattan, where she took dancing, singing, and piano lessons. At age 16, she was able to graduate two years early as valedictorian from PPAS.

Alicia was going to start attending classes at Columbia University in New York after she won a scholarship to study performing arts. Instead, she ended up signing her first record deal with Columbia Records. The idea of passing the chance to go college was not an easy decision for her to make. Her dream was to be a singer/songwriter. Nevertheless, she never did an album with Columbia due to creative differences.

In 1998, Clive Davis bought out Alicia's contract and has her record with Arista Records. A year later, he created a new label, J Records, in 1999 on his own. Alicia and other musicians followed him after he was ousted from Arista. As Clive worked to build up his company, Alicia wrote songs and performed at local New York shows. Hence, she honed her piano and singing skills. Her first album, titled Song in A Minor was released on June 5, 2001. It entered the U. S. Billboard 200 at number one. Most of the tracks were either written or co-written by Alicia herself, including Butterflyz, which she wrote at the age of 14. Then she won five Grammy in 2002.

Alicia didn't take a break after
touring to promote her first album. She released her second album, "The Diary of Alicia Keys," on December 1, 2003. She was able to finish it in less than a year. It debut the U. S. Billboard 200 at number one. It also took home the Grammy award as the best R&B album in 2005.

On November 13, 2007, Alicia's third studio album was released and debuted at number one on the U. S. Billboard 200. The title of it is, "As I Am," which included the song, No One. That took the Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song in 2008. The next year she received another Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It was for the song, Superwoman.

Alicia collaborated with Alejandro Sanz for a song, Looking for Paradise from his latest album, Paraiso Express, which was released on November 16, 2009. It was the first single from his eight studio album, and was Number One on Billboard's Latin Songs for the week ending Friday, November 10, 2009.

Alicia continued on making music and on December 11, 2009, The Element of Freedom, her fourth studio album, was released. This time, her album opened at number two on the U. S. Billboard 200. Number one was Susan Boyle's, "I Dreamed a Dream." On May 12, 2010, the video for the single, Unthinkable, was released. Chad Michael Murray plays Alicia Key's character's love interest. It sets in America during the 1950s and it involves an interracial love relationship between a white man and a black woman.


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