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Alicia Keys - Biography
The release, which she wrote and produced for Clive Davis' J Records, blends diverse influences, including R&B, hip-hop, classical, and jazz. The day the album went on the market, it sold more than 50,000 copies. Her entire life, it seems, had been an accelerated learning experience, preparing her for a career in music. A Manhattan native, her musical gifts became apparent when she was five years old.
As a choir major enrolled in Manhattan's Professional Performance Arts School, she further developed her vocal talents with extra help from a teacher. By the time she was 16; Keys graduated and entered Columbia University. However music kept tempting her and she quickly left Columbia behind. Alicia was writing songs when she was 14. In later years, she appeared on movie soundtracks, including “Shaft” and “Men in Black.” In 1998, she signed a deal with Arista Records.
When Davis left the company for J Records in 1999, Keys went along. Her 2001 major-label debut, Songs in A Minor, hit number one, went multi-platinum, and was followed in 2003 by another chart-topper, “The Diary of Alicia Keys,” which became a Grammy winner. The live CD/DVD “Unplugged” appeared in 2005, following her previous releases to the top of the charts.
Since late 2006, Keys worked on her third album, “As I Am” released on November 13, 2007. “As I Am” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 742,000 copies, gaining Keys the second largest sales week of 2007. In early 2007 she also made her big-screen debut in the crime film “Smokin' Aces,” with Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Common, Andy Garcia, Taraji P. Henson, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds.
Keys received much praise from her co-stars in the film; Reynolds said that Keys had "natural" acting talent as he was surprised she had not starred in films before. Keys earned further acclaim for her second film outing, “The Nanny Diaries” released on August 24, 2007, in which she co-stars alongside Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans.