Alicia Keys: biography
The exotic beauty with a charming, melodic voice, Alicia Keys is a talented pianist and one of the bestselling musicians ever. She is called the princess of soul, but her outstanding achievements give the ground to see her as its queen.
Childhood and youth
Alicia Augello Cook was born on January 25, 1981, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Manhattan, New York. The girl’s father, Craig Cook, was African American and worked as a flight attendant. The mother, Teresa Augello, had Italian, Scottish, and Irish roots; she was an actress and a lawyer’s assistant. Alicia was the only child in the family, but she had a half-brother, Cole, later.
According to the artist, the interracial family turned out to be an advantage: she felt the connection with diverse cultures. The parents divorced when their daughter was only two; Alicia and her mother continued to live in the deprivileged Manhattan area.
The would-be celebrity diligently studied music and dancing. She debuted on the TV screen at The Cosby Show (“Slumber Party”). At seven, Alicia took an interest in playing the piano and performed Mozart’s, Beethoven’s, and Chopin’s works. The 12-year-old girl attended the prestigious Professional Performing Arts School and chose choir as her major. Two years after Keys enrolled at the school, she created her first songs.
The artist started her career with the trial contract with So So Def and the soundtrack to the fantastic movie Men in Black (1997).
On June 5, 2001, her debuting studio album Songs in A Minor was released and proved to be a commercial success: 12 million copies were sold worldwide, and critics called the young woman the best R&B artist and the best newcomer. Besides, she won five Grammy Awards in 2002; one of them was Song of the Year for touching “Fallin’”. Alicia became the second American singer after Lauryn Hill who went to the stage to receive her five prizes.
The next year, the musician recorded the second album The Diary of Alicia Keys that repeated the previous success: eight million copies were sold all over the world. This work gave the artist four Grammys in 2005. The lyrical song “If Ain't Got You” composed by Alicia gained the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
2006 was marked with the concert album Unplugged that immediately topped Billboard-200; only Nirvana achieved the same results in 1994.
Alicia Keys is also known as a talented actress. She appeared in several TV series, such as American Dreams and The Backyardigans. The big-screen debut took place in 2006 when the woman personified Georgia Sykes in the thriller Smokin' Aces. The project also starred Ryan Reynolds and Andy Garcia.
In 2007, the artist released the next album, As I Am, that could boast three Grammy Awards and sold five million copies. Alicia’s acting career was also flourishing: she played one of the main characters in the drama The Secret Life of Bees and got a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.
On December 1, 2009, the fourth album The Element of Freedom came out and topped the British music album chart. Girl on Fire followed three years later and enjoyed the fifth position in the American chart. The sixth studio album Here was presented on November 3, 2016; music critics and ordinary music lovers appreciated it immensely. The album reached the upper position in Billboard-200 within the first week.
Alicia Keys creates a mixture of jazz, soul, and R&B flavored with piano. It is also a gospel and vintage soul combined with drum rhythms and bass elements. Her primary themes are love, a broken heart, and women’s rights protection. The artist is inspired by Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jay-Z, and other music icons. Alicia avoids genre limits and experiments with pop and rock sounds as well.
The celebrity is happily married to Kasseem Dean known as Swizz Beatz; he is a rapper and composer. The closed wedding ceremony took place in the mid-summer 2010 in Corsica. The same year, in October, the couple’s son Egypt Daoud was born. The second child, Genesis Ali, was born on December 27, 2014. Besides, the spouses bring up two kids from Kasseem’s previous relationship.
Alicia is an active Instagram user: she shares pictures without makeup and from red carpets, photos in a swimsuit and family moments. The composer is involved in charity work and helps fight breast cancer, as well as participates in protests with ordinary Americans.
Today, the artist continues to give concerts and present new songs and music videos.
In 2019, the woman hosted the Grammy Awards ceremony and impressed the audience by playing two pianos.
Alicia Keys’ net worth is $70 million in 2019.
- 2001 - Songs in A Minor
- 2003 - The Diary of Alicia Keys
- 2007 - As I Am
- 2009 - The Element of Freedom
- 2012 - Girl on Fire
- 2016 - Here