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Monday, February 13, 2006

Alica Keys

Alica Keys (born January 25, 1981) is an American R&B/soul singer, songwriter,composer, record producer, and pianist. Keys is a renowned artist who has sold over 20 million albums and singles worldwide and won numerous awards, including nine Grammys,10 Billboard Music Awards and 3 American Music Awards.

Alica Family and musical background

Keys was born Alica Augello Cook to a Puerto Rican and Italian mother, Terri Augello, and a African-American father, Craig Cook, in Manhattan, New York, and was raised in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. She began playing piano when she was seven, learning classical music by composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and her favorite Chopin. She wrote her first song "Butterflyz" at the age of fourteen; the song was later recorded for her debut album. Keys' mother and father separated during her early childhood, thus she was raised by her mother during her formative years; her mother was the one who most supported her during the time she was developing her musical talents. It has been reported by the press that Keys reconciled her relationship with her father [1]. However, Keys has denied this but says she does not hold on to negative feelings towards her father .

Alica Keys Education and early career

Keys graduated as valedictorian from the Professional Performing Arts School, a public high school in Manhattan at the age of sixteen. She briefly attended Columbia University on a scholarship before devoting herself to a full-time musical career. Keys signed a demo deal with Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def label, then distributed to Columbia Records. She wrote and recorded a song entitled "Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)" which appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 blockbuster, Men In Black. The song was Keys' first professional recording, it was never released as a single and her record contract with Columbia Records was ended quickly and Keys later met Clive Davis who signed her to Arista Records, which has since disbanded. Following her mentor Clive Davis to his newly-formed J Records label, she recorded songs "Rear View Mirror" and "Rock with you" which featured on the soundtracks to the movies Shaft (remake) and Nutty Professor: The Klumps respectively, both the films and the soundtracks were released in 2000. Keys then released her debut album Songs in A Minor in 2001, the title being a reference to both her classical aspirations and to the fact that she wrote most of the songs at a very young age.

ALica Keys Current activities

* Keys contributed her vocals to two tributes albums by late soul singers Ray Charles and Luther Vandross. Keys' duet with Jermaine Paul (one of her backing vocalists featured on her World Tours and on her Unplugged album) of Vandross' song "If This World Were Mine" can be heard on So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross, released in September 2005 [11], is currently nominated for the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. This is Keys' fifth nomination at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Keys duetted with the late Ray Charles on his song "America the Beautiful" as part of his tribute album Genius and Friends, also released in September 2005.

* Keys was approached by Jerry Bruckheimer to appear on the soundtrack for his basketball film "Glory Road." Keys is featured on three songs on the soundtrack. She sings "I Will Make the Darkness Light" and the duet "Glory Road" with Trevor Rabin and a cover with Lyfe Jennings of the Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions' classic "People Get Ready." The soundtrack was released on January 10, 2006 and the movie on January 13. Songs on the soundtrack and in the movie include Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar," Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street".

* Keys has already began working on her third studio album, which is likely to be released in 2007. Rollingstone magazine reported in December 2005 that Keys and her longtime songwriting partner Kerry "Krucial" Brothers will start working seriously on Keys' third studio album in the latter half of 2006. Keys has explained that her new upcoming album has a more edgier feel than her first two albums and she is keen to do strange and unexpected collobrations outside the R&B and Hip Hop worlds .

* Keys recently opened a new recording studio in New York, which she co-owns with her co-production and co-songwriting partner Kerry "Krucial" Brothers . Keys and Kerry Brothers are co-founders of KrucialKeys Enterprises, a production and songwriting team who assisted Keys in creating her award-winning albums as well as create music for other artists.

* Keys has finished shooting a film alongside Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds entitled Smokin' Aces (scheduled for release in 2006), in which she plays an assassin. Keys has received much praise from her co-stars in the film; Ryan Reynolds said Keys has "natural" acting ability as he was suprised she had not starred in movies before. Keys will also play piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler in an upcoming movie entitled Compositions in Black and White scheduled for release in 2007 (shooting to begin in 2006).

* Keys and her longtime manager, Jeff Robinson, have formed a Televison production company called Big Pita. Their first project will be a US-UPN Network TV series inspired by Keys' experiences as a biracial youngster growing up in New York. Keys has been tapped to executively produce an upcoming TV drama. The title and airing date are presently unconfirmed


* VH1 conducted a recent poll that asked music lovers which artists topped their wish lists this holiday season (Christmas 2005). Keys' "Unplugged" ranked #2 in a telephone poll commissioned by VH1 that surveyed a random national sample of approximately 1,000 20-49 year-olds who listen to music. Ray Charles' "Genius and Friends" ranked #1.

* In 2005, TIME magazine named Keys one of "The Most Influential People In The World".

* In July 2005, The Sun newspaper reported that Keys had been voted the second most powerful artist in the pop industry in the Los Angeles Times 2005 Pop Power List, after fellow R&B star Usher. The list was compiled by producers such as Jermaine Dupri, Rick Rubin and entrepreneur Russell Simmons.

* Keys became an Honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. on September 24, 2004.

* She is seen in episode number 1-22 of "The Cosby Show". She played the role of a girl named Maria, who was one of Rudy's friends. She was then credited as her real name, "Alicia Cook". The episode was called "Slumber Party" and aired on March 28, 1985.

2005 Unplugged [CD & DVD]
2005 Unplugged
2004 Diary of Alicia Keys [Import Bonus Track]
2004 Diary of Alicia Keys [Germany Bonus CD]
2004 Diary of Alicia Keys [Australia Bonus CD]

2006 Smokin' Aces
2005 Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast
2004 With All Deliberate Speed
2003 Alicia Keys: From Start to Stardom

External links


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