171 Facts About Alicia Keys


Alicia Keys released her first live album, Unplugged, and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one.


In 2007, Alicia Keys made her film debut in the action-thriller film Smokin' Aces.


Alicia Keys released the theme song to the James Bond film Quantum of Solace "Another Way to Die" with Jack White.


Alicia Keys released Santa Baby, her ninth studio album, in 2022 under her independent label, Alicia Keys Records.


Alicia Keys has sold over 90 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling music artists.


Alicia Keys has received numerous accolades in her career, including 15 Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 12 ASCAP Awards, and an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association.


Alicia Keys Augello Cook was born on January 25,1981, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.


Alicia Keys is the only child of Teresa Augello, who was a paralegal and part-time actress, and one of three children of Craig Cook, who was a flight attendant.


Alicia Keys's father is African American and her mother is of Italian, Irish, and Scottish descent; her mother's paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sciacca in Sicily and Lamezia Terme, in Calabria.


Alicia Keys's father left when she was two and she was raised by her mother during her formative years in Hell's Kitchen.


Alicia Keys said her parents never had a relationship, and her father was not in her life.


Alicia Keys recalled feeling fearful early on of the "animal instinct" she witnessed, and eventually feeling "high" due to recurrent harassment.


Alicia Keys became very wary, emotionally guarded, and she began wearing gender-neutral clothing and what would become her trademark cornrows.


Alicia Keys explained that she is grateful for growing up where she did as it prepared her for the parallels in the music industry, particularly as she was a teenager starting out; she could maintain a particular focus and not derail herself.


Alicia Keys attributed her unusual maturity as a young girl to her mother, who depended on her to be responsible while she worked to provide for them and give Alicia Keys as many opportunities as possible.


In preschool, Alicia Keys sang in her school's production of the musical Cats and was cast as Dorothy Gale in a production of The Wizard of Oz.


Alicia Keys discovered that she had a passion for the piano by age six, as she loved the sound and feel of the instrument and desired to play and learn it.


Alicia Keys began receiving classical piano training by age seven, practicing six hours a day, learning the Suzuki method and playing composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Satie.


Alicia Keys was particularly drawn to "blue, dark, shadowy" and melancholic compositions, as well as the passionate romanticism of "blue composers" like Chopin.


Alicia Keys's mother had encouraged her to participate in different extracurricular activities, including music, dance, theater, and gymnastics, so she could "find her muse".


Alicia Keys remained so occupied with her various pursuits that she experienced her first burnout before adolescence.


Alicia Keys would continue studying classical music until the age of 18.


Alicia Keys enrolled in the Professional Performing Arts School at the age of 12, where she took music, dance, and theater classes and majored in choir.


Alicia Keys would continue singing, writing songs, and performing in musical groups throughout junior high and high school.


Alicia Keys became an accomplished pianist; according to some sources, after her classical-music teacher had nothing left to teach her, she began studying jazz at age 14.


Alicia Keys spent more time in Harlem during her teenage years.


Alicia Keys connected with the cultural and racial diversity in the neighborhood, where she expanded upon her musical exploration, and her character was solidified.


In 1994, manager Jeff Robinson met 13-year old Alicia Keys, who participated in his brother's youth organization called Teens in Motion.


Alicia Keys's brother had talked to him about Keys and advised him to go see her, but Robinson shrugged it off as he had "heard that story 1,000 times".


At the time, Alicia Keys was part of a three-member band that had formed in the Bronx and was performing in Harlem.


Robinson eventually agreed to his brother's request, and went to see Alicia Keys perform with her group at the Police Athletic League center in Harlem.


Alicia Keys was taken by Keys, her soulful singing, playing contemporary and classical music and performing her own songs.


Robinson wanted Alicia Keys to be informed and prepared for the music industry, so he took her everywhere with him, including all the meetings with attorneys and negotiations with record labels, while the teenager often became disgruntled with the process.


Robinson had urged Alicia Keys to pursue a solo career, as she remained reluctant, preferring the musical interactions of a group.


Robinson and Edge helped Alicia Keys assemble some demos of songs she had written and set up a showcases for label executives.


Alicia Keys performed on the piano for executives of various labels, and a bidding war ensued.


Alicia Keys was finishing high school, and her academic success had provided her opportunity for scholarship and early admission to university.


That year, Alicia Keys accepted a scholarship to study at Columbia University in Manhattan.


Alicia Keys graduated from high school early as valedictorian, at the age of 16, and began attending Columbia University at that age while working on her music.


Alicia Keys attempted to manage a difficult schedule between university and working in the studio into the morning, compounding stress and a distant relationship with her mother.


Alicia Keys often stayed away from home, and wrote some of the most "depressing" poems of her life during this period.


Alicia Keys decided to drop out of college after a month to pursue music full-time.


Alicia Keys said they were not receptive to her contributions and being a musician and music creator.


Alicia Keys would go into sessions already prepared with music she had composed, but the label would dismiss her work in favor of their vision.


Alicia Keys had performed "Little Drummer Girl" for So So Def's Christmas compilation in 1996, and later co-wrote the song "Dah Dee Dah " for the Men in Black film soundtrack, the only released recording Keys made with Columbia.


Alicia Keys "hated" the experience of writing with the people Columbia brought in.


Alicia Keys had already built a "protect yourself" mentality from growing up in Hell's Kitchen, which served her as a young teen then in the industry having to rebuff the advances of producers and being around people who "just wanted to use [her]".


Alicia Keys began working separately from the label, exploring more production and engineering on her own with her own equipment.


Alicia Keys had moved out of her mother's apartment and into a sixth-floor walk-up apartment in Harlem with Brothers, where she fit a recording studio into their bedroom and worked on her music.


Alicia Keys felt being on her own was "necessary" for her sanity.


Alicia Keys brought her songs to the executives, who rejected her work, saying it "sounded like one long demo".


Alicia Keys had wanted to leave Columbia since they began "completely disrespecting [her] musical creativity".


Alicia Keys was able to leave with the music she had created.


Alicia Keys almost chose Wilde as her stage name at the age of 16 until her manager suggested the name Alicia Keys after a dream he had.


Alicia Keys felt that name embodied her both as a performer and person.


Alicia Keys contributed her songs "Rock wit U" and "Rear View Mirror" to the soundtracks of the films Shaft and Dr Dolittle 2, respectively.


In 2000, Davis was ousted from Arista and the release of Alicia Keys's album was put on hold.


Alicia Keys played small shows across America, performed at industry showcases for months and then on television.


Alicia Keys performed the song on Oprah's show the week prior to the release of her debut album.


Alicia Keys tied Lauryn Hill's record for the most Grammy wins for a female solo artist in a year.


That year, Alicia Keys wrote and produced the song "Impossible" for Christina Aguilera's album Stripped, providing background vocals and piano.


Keys followed up her debut with The Diary of Alicia Keys, which was released in December 2003.


Alicia Keys collaborated with recording artist Usher on the song "My Boo" from his 2004 album, Confessions.


Later that year, Alicia Keys released her novel Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics, a collection of unreleased poems from her journals and lyrics.


The book sold over US$500,000 and Alicia Keys made The New York Times bestseller list in 2005.


Alicia Keys performed "If I Ain't Got You" and then joined Jamie Foxx and Quincy Jones in a rendition of "Georgia on My Mind", the Hoagy Carmichael song made famous by Ray Charles in 1960 at the 2005 Grammy Awards.


Alicia Keys performed and taped her installment of the MTV Unplugged series in July 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


The debut of Alicia Keys's Unplugged was the highest for an MTV Unplugged album since Nirvana's 1994 MTV Unplugged in New York and the first Unplugged by a female artist to debut at number one.


Alicia Keys opened a recording studio in Long Island, New York, called The Oven Studios, which she co-owns with her production and songwriting partner Kerry "Krucial" Brothers.


In 2006, Alicia Keys won three NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Song for "Unbreakable".


Alicia Keys received the Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Alicia Keys's grandmother had died and her family was heavily dependent on her.


Alicia Keys felt she needed to "escape" and went to Egypt for three weeks.


Alicia Keys made her film debut in early 2007 in the crime film Smokin' Aces, co-starring as an assassin named Georgia Sykes opposite Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia.


Alicia Keys guest starred as herself in the "One Man Is an Island" episode of the drama series Cane.


Alicia Keys released her third studio album, As I Am, in November 2007; it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 742,000 copies in its first week.


Alicia Keys received five nominations for As I Am at the 2008 American Music Award and ultimately won two.


Alicia Keys starred in "Fresh Takes", a commercial micro-series created by Dove Go Fresh, which premiered during The Hills on MTV from March to April 2008.


In 2008, Alicia Keys was ranked in at number 80 the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists.


Alicia Keys starred in The Secret Life of Bees Her role earned her a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.


Alicia Keys later wrote a statement clarifying the issues and saying her words were misinterpreted.


Later that year, Alicia Keys was criticized by anti-smoking campaigners after billboard posters for her forthcoming concerts in Indonesia featured a logo for the A Mild cigarette brand sponsored by tobacco firm Philip Morris.


Alicia Keys apologized after discovering that the concert was sponsored by the firm and asked for "corrective actions".


In 2009, Alicia Keys approached Clive Davis for permission to submit a song for Whitney Houston's sixth studio album I Look to You.


Alicia Keys subsequently co-wrote and produced the single "Million Dollar Bill" with record producer Swizz Beatz.


Alicia Keys collaborated with Spanish recording artist Alejandro Sanz for "Looking for Paradise", which topped the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, this was Keys's first number one on all three charts, which made her the first African-American of non-Hispanic origin to reach No 1 on the Hot Latin Tracks.


Alicia Keys released her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009.


On October 14,2010, Alicia Keys gave birth to their first son, in New York City.


Alicia Keys recorded a song together with Eve called "Speechless", dedicated to her son.


Alicia Keys is set to co-produce the Broadway premiere of Stick Fly, which was opened in December 2011.


Alicia Keys released her fifth studio album Girl on Fire, her first album through RCA Records on November 27,2012.


Alicia Keys has stated that she wants the album to "liberate" and "empower" fans.


In September 2012, Alicia Keys collaborated with Reebok for her own sneakers collection.


In October 2012, Alicia Keys announced her partnership with Bento Box Entertainment's Bento Box Interactive to create an education mobile application titled "The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee" for iOS devices about the relationship between a young New York City girl and her wise grandmother.


In January 2013, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins and Alicia Keys officially unveiled the BlackBerry 10 mobile platform in New York City.


Heins announced that Alicia Keys would be the company's new Global Creative Director.


In December 2013, Alicia Keys was featured on "I Will Pray " released as a single from Italian singer Giorgia's studio album Senza paura.


In 2014, Alicia Keys collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the song "It's On Again" for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.


In July 2014, it was reported that Alicia Keys had changed management from Red Light Management's Will Botwin to Ron Laffitte and Guy Oseary at Maverick.


On September 8,2014, Alicia Keys uploaded the music video to a new song called "We Are Here" to her Facebook page, accompanied by a lengthy status update describing her motivation and inspiration to write the song.


Alicia Keys was working with Pharrell Williams on her sixth studio album, first set for a 2015 release.


In November 2014, Alicia Keys announced that she is releasing a series of children's books.


Alicia Keys gave birth to her second child, son Genesis Ali Dean, on December 27,2014.


In 2015 Alicia Keys performed at the BET Awards 2015 with The Weeknd.


Alicia Keys played the character Skye Summers in the second season of Empire.


Alicia Keys first appeared in the episode "Sinned Against", which aired November 25,2015.


On March 25,2016, Alicia Keys was announced as a new coach on Season 11 of The Voice.


In May 2016, Alicia Keys released "In Common" and performed the song in the opening ceremony of 2016 UEFA Champions League Final in San Siro, Milan.


On June 20,2016, World Refugee Day, Alicia Keys released the short film Let Me In, which she executive produced in conjunction with her We Are Here organization.


On November 1,2016, Alicia Keys unveiled her short film, "The Gospel," to accompany the LP.


Alicia Keys returned for Season 12 of The Voice and won the competition with her artist Chris Blue, on May 23,2017.


In May 2017, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Alicia Keys announced that she was working on her seventh studio album, therefore she did not return for the thirteenth series of The Voice.


On September 17,2017, Alicia Keys performed at Rock in Rio, in a powerful and acclaimed performance.


On October 18,2017, NBC announced that Alicia Keys would be returning to the series for the show's fourteenth season of The Voice alongside Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson.


Alicia Keys placed in second place with her team member, Britton Buchanan with whom Keys released a cover version of Avicii's "Wake Me Up" as a single.


In December 2017, Alicia Keys appeared on Eminem's album Revival on the song "Like Home".


Alicia Keys featured on the song "Morning Light" from Justin Timberlake's fifth studio album Man of the Woods and on "Us", the third single from James Bay's second studio album Electric Light.


On December 6,2018, Alicia Keys spoke at the 13th Annual Billboard Women in Music event spotlighting her new non-profit named "She Is the Music".


Alicia Keys created Alicia Keys is the Music upon learning that the number of women in popular music reached a six-year low in 2017, partnering with Jody Gerson, Sam Kirby and Ann Mincieli.


On January 15,2019, Alicia Keys was announced as the host of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.


Alicia Keys's performance playing two pianos at the same time was declared one of the best moments of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards by Entertainment Tonight as well as the Los Angeles Daily News who noted her fashion.


Alicia Keys dedicated the performance to those who have inspired her, including Scott Joplin and Hazel Scott.


In May 2019, Alicia Keys attended the 2019 Met Gala themed "Camp: Notes on Fashion" in New York City wearing a light aqua green sequined dress with hood alongside her husband Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean who wore a dark green suit and black bow tie.


The next month, Alicia Keys performed at Pride Live's Stonewall Day Concert on June 28,2019, wearing a white jumpsuit with the name of her upcoming song "Show Me Love" in multi-colored beads on the back of the jumpsuit.


Alicia Keys was announced as the buyer of the "Razor House" in the La Jolla community of San Diego, California in early September 2019.


In September 2019, Alicia Keys released a new single, "Show Me Love" with Miguel.


The song impacted urban radio on September 24,2019, as the first single from Alicia Keys's upcoming seventh studio album.


Alicia Keys performed the track for the first time during her appearance at the 2019 iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas.


In December 2019 Alicia Keys was awarded the American Express Impact Award for her efforts to foster female artist growth and provide them with new opportunities through the non-profit she co-founded the year before and developed in 2019 named She Is the Music.


Alicia Keys received the award at the 14th Annual Women in Music Billboard event on December 12,2019.


On January 26,2020, Alicia Keys hosted the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards for the second year in a row as announced on November 14,2019.


Alicia Keys performed her new song "Underdog" with Brittany Howard backing the performance on acoustic guitar.


Keys's seventh studio album Alicia was scheduled to be released on May 15,2020, but then got postponed to September 18,2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Alicia Keys released her memoir More Myself: A Journey on March 31,2020.


In September 2020, Alicia Keys launched her lifestyle brand Alicia Keys Soulcare.


On October 29,2020, Alicia Keys released "A Beautiful Noise" with Brandi Carlile to encourage Americans to get out and vote.


In May 2021, Alicia Keys was freatured on DMX's album Exodus in the song Hold Me Down.


On September 9,2021, Alicia Keys released the single "Lala " featuring US rapper and singer Swae Lee of the hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd.


On July 14,2022 Alicia Keys unveiled that "Come for Me" featuring Khalid and Lucky Daye would be released as the next single, ahead of a re-release of the album titled Alicia Keys II during the following month.


Alicia Keys achieved acclaim for her unique style and maturity as a classical musician and singer-songwriter.


The Times wrote that Keys's debut album, Songs in A Minor, "spoke from a soul that seemed way beyond its years", and her follow up, The Diary of Alicia Keys, "confirmed her place in musical history".


Alicia Keys is distinguished for being in control of her artistic output and image and having fought for creative independence since getting signed at 15 years old.


Blender magazine expressed that Alicia Keys emerged as a "singer-songwriter-instrumentalist-producer with genuine urban swagger", and her largely self-produced second album showcased her growing "deftness and explorative verve".


In 2016, NPR stated that Alicia Keys "stood apart from pop trends while forging a remarkable career" and "sustained her focus on artistry".


Alicia Keys has been praised for her expressive vocals and emotive delivery.


Alicia Keys was described by New York Daily News as "one of the most versatile musicians of her generation".


The Songwriters Hall of Fame stated that Alicia Keys broke onto the music scene with "her unmistakable blend of soul, hip-hop, jazz and classical music".


Pareles considered in 2007 that Alicia Keys did not "offer private details in her songs" and that her musical compositions make up for a lack of lyrical refinement.


Gregory Stephen Tate of The Village Voice compared Alicia Keys's writing and production to 1970s music.


Alicia Keys has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, while her singles "No One" and "Empire State of Mind" are amongst the list of best-selling singles worldwide.


Alicia Keys has attained 4 Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles from 9 top-ten singles.


Alicia Keys has earned numerous awards including 15 Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 9 Billboard Music Awards and 7 BET Awards.


Alicia Keys received 5 Grammy Awards in 2002, becoming the second female artist to win as many in one night.


In 2005, Alicia Keys was awarded the Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight Award, which honors "gifted songwriters who are at an apex in their careers and are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs".


Alicia Keys performed Donny Hathaway's 1973 song "Someday We'll All Be Free" at the America: A Tribute to Heroes televised benefit concert following the September 11 attacks.


Alicia Keys protested at the New York City Hall against proposed budget cuts for students' education in June 2002.


Alicia Keys has donated to Frum tha Ground Up, a non-profit organization that aids children and teenagers with scholarships.


Alicia Keys is the co-founder and Global Ambassador of Keep a Child Alive, a non-profit organization that provides medicine, orphan care, and social support to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.


Alicia Keys discovered first-hand the extensive impact of the AIDS epidemic on a visit to South Africa, a trip that was the impetus to cofounding Keep a Child Alive.


Alicia Keys visited other African countries such as Uganda and Kenya to promote care for children affected by AIDS.


Alicia Keys hosted and acted as the musical director of Keep A Child Alive's annual fundraising gala The Black Ball.


In 2005, Alicia Keys performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of the worldwide Live 8 concerts to raise awareness of the poverty in Africa and to pressure the G8 leaders to take action.


Alicia Keys participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert which took place at the Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway, on December 11,2007, along with other artists.


Alicia Keys performed the song "Prelude to a Kiss", retitled "Send Me an Angel", from her 2007 album As I Am for the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.


In June 2011, Alicia Keys spoke alongside Annie Lennox at the United Nations AIDS conference in New York.


Alicia Keys participated in a panel titled "HIV Priorities for Positive Change: In Women's Words", in which she calls on supporting organizations that provide treatment and care for families affected by AIDS.


In July 2016, Alicia Keys participated in a video on taking action against systemic racism in the United States titled, "23 Ways You Could Be Killed if You are Black in America".


In 2017, Alicia Keys received and shared the award for the Ambassador of Conscience from Amnesty International alongside Canadian Indigenous rights activists.


In 2018, Alicia Keys was honored at Variety Power of Women luncheon for her work with Keep A Child Alive.


For over a decade, Alicia Keys was in a low-profile romantic relationship with her long-time good friend and collaborator Kerry Brothers Jr.


Alicia Keys later dated hip hop artist-producer Swizz Beatz whom she married on July 31,2010.