Alicia Keys is an American singer, pianist, songwriter, record producer, and actress. The singer has been hot on the music scene since 2001 and is one of the most celebrated female singers of recent times.
Let’s learn some interesting facts about her!
1.Alicia Augello Cook was born on January 25, 1981.
2.She was born in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan, in New York City.
3.She is the only child of Teresa Augello, a paralegal and part-time actress, and Craig Cook, a flight attendant.
4.Her father is African-American and her mother is of Italian, Scottish and Irish descent.
5.Keys has expressed that she was comfortable with her biracial heritage because she felt she was able to “relate to different cultures”.
6.Her parents separated when she was two and she was subsequently raised by her mother during her formative years in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan.
7.Keys has 2 younger half brothers: Clay Cook Branch and Cole Cook.
8.In 1985, Keys made an appearance on The Cosby Show at the age of four, where she and a group of girls played the parts of Rudy Huxtable’s sleepover guests in the episode “Slumber Party”.
9.Throughout her childhood, Keys was sent to music and dance classes by her mother.
10.She studied classical piano from age seven, playing composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin, and enrolled in the Professional Performing Arts School at the age of 12, where she majored in choir and began writing songs at the age of 14.
11.She graduated in four years as valedictorian at the age of 16.
12.In 1994, Keys met long-term manager Jeff Robinson after she enrolled in his brother’s after-school program.
13.The following year Robinson introduced Keys to her future A&R at Arista Records, Peter Edge.
14.Keys signed to Columbia Records soon after.
15.At the same time as signing a recording contract with Columbia Records, Keys was accepted at Columbia University. At first, Keys attempted to manage both, but after a month, she dropped out of college to pursue her musical career full-time.
16.Keys was unhappy with the label because her career had stalled during her two years under contract at Columbia due to executive indecision over her direction and major changes within the company.
17.Keys called Clive Davis, who sensed a “special, unique” artist from her performance and signed her to Arista Records, which later disbanded.
18.Keys almost chose Wilde as her stage name until her manager suggested the name Keys after a dream he had. Keys felt that name represented her both as a performer and person.
19.Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide.
20.She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of 2001.
21.The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “Fallin'” becoming the second American recording artist to win five Grammys in one night.
22.Her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, selling eight million copies. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005.
23.She made her film debut in Smokin’ Aces and also went on to appear in The Nanny Diaries in 2007.
24.Her third studio album, As I Am, was released in the same year and sold five million copies worldwide, earning Keys an additional three Grammy Awards.
25.The following year, she appeared in The Secret Life of Bees, which earned her a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards.
26.She released her fourth album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009, which became Keys’ first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom.
27.She released her fifth album, Girl on Fire, in November 2012, which became Keys’ fifth chart-topping album in the United States.
28.Throughout her career, Keys has won numerous awards and sold over 35 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide.
29.Billboard magazine named her the top R&B songs artist of the 2000s decade.
30.Keys is the first female artist to have an MTV Unplugged album top the Billboard 200 chart.
31.In October 2006, she played the voice of Mommy Martian in the “Mission to Mars” episode of the children’s television series The Backyardigans, in which she sang an original song, “Almost Everything Is Boinga Here”.
32.That same year, Keys nearly suffered a mental breakdown. Her grandmother had died and her family was heavily dependent on her. She felt she needed to “escape” and went to Egypt for three weeks. She explained: “That trip was definitely the most crucial thing I’ve ever done for myself in my life to date. It was a very difficult time that I was dealing with, and it just came to the point where I really needed to-basically, I just needed to run away, honestly. And I needed to get as far away as possible.”
33.In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
34.In May 2010, a representative for Keys and Swizz Beatz confirmed that they were engaged and expecting a child together.
35.On October 14, 2010, Keys gave birth to their son, in New York City. She recorded a song together with Eve called “Speechless”, which is dedicated to her son.
36.Dr Deepak Chopra officiated Keys and Swizz Beatz’s Corsica wedding in July 2010.
37.In 2010, Swizz Beatz confirmed he and Keys had adopted an entire village in Soweto, South Africa.
38.In November 2014, Keys announced that she is releasing a series of children’s books. The first book released is entitled Blue Moon: From the Journals of MaMa Mae and LeeLee.
39.Keys gave birth to her second child, a son, on December 27, 2014.
40.Alicia Keys decided to ditch cosmetics with an essay in Lenny Letter in May 2016, and quickly earned praise and support from fans for her take-me-as-I-am attitude.
41.Since then, she’s been ditching the foundation and mascara more often, even going without makeup on the MTV VMA red carpet in 2016.