Alicia Augello Cook professionally known as Alicia Keys, was born on January 25, 1981 in in Manhattan, New York City. She is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, pianist and actress. She is the only child of Teresa (mother) an Italian, Scottish, Irish descent and African American father Craig Cook. When she was 2 years her parents separated and she was raised by her mother alone. Throughout her childhood, Keys was sent to music and dance classes by her mother. She was a bright student, at the age of 16 Key’s graduated as valedictorian. At the same time as signing a recording contract with Columbia Records, Keys was accepted at Columbia University but after a month she dropped out college to pursue her music career full time.
Key’s first ever professional recording was the song titled “Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)”, which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1997 film “Men In Black”. Her record contract with Columbia ended as she was unhappy with the executive indecision and the company has undergone major changes. She was signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis which later disbanded. Keys had almost changed her name to Wilde but her manager suggested not to.
Clive Davis signed her to his newly formed record label J Records. Keys first studio album “Songs in A Minor”was released in June 2001. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 , sold over 6.2 million copies in the United States and 12 million copies internationally. The albums debut single “Fallin” was a major hit sitting at the top for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The same year she collaborated with Christian Aguilera on a song titled “Impossible”.
Keys second album was released in December 2003 titled “The Diary of Alicia Keys”. With sales over 618,000 copies its first week it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album’s lead single “You Dont Know My Name” peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Keys also collaborated with Usher on the song “My Boo” for his 2004 album, as expected the song sat at number one on the Billboard Hot Hundred for six weeks.
Keys had taped her performance of the MTV Unplugged series in July 2005 as in October 2005 the session was released in CD and DVD titled “Unplugged”. The album sold over 1 million copies in United States.
Taking her music career along with her acting, she made her film debut in early 2007 in the crime film “Smokin Aces”. She was successful as always she recieved much praise from her co-stars for being “so natural” and that she would “blow everybody away”.
In November 2007 her third studio album “As I Am” was released. The album too debuted at number one the Billborad 200. The albums lead single “No One” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for five long weeks. As for the album’s second lead single “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” was at number one on the Billboard chart for almost 4 months.
Keys was featured on Jay-Z’s song “Empire State of Mind” as a lead single for his eleventh studio album. the song was a major hit. Keys released her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009.
In commemoration of its 10th anniversary Songs in A Minor was re-released as deluxe and collector’s editions in June 2011. In October 2011,RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. Keys will release her future material on RCA Records.
Through RCA Records Keys released her fifth album “Girl On Fire” on November 27, 2012. As stated by Keys she wanted the album to “liberate” and “empower” fans. The album did not score much as her previous ones.
In September 2015, Swizz Beatz stated that Keys’ sixth studio album will be released in 2016 . Blended Family the single from her upcoming album “Here” was released in October 2016. “Here” was released in November 4 , which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 becoming her seventh top 10 album.
In January 2017 she released the track “That’s What’s Up”which is reinterpretation of the spoken words segment on Kanye West song “Low Lights”.
Songs in A Minor led Keys to win five awards at the 2002 Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song for “Fallin'”, Best New Artist, and Best R&B Album. Keys won Best R&B Video for “If I Ain’t Got You” at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2006, Keys won three NAACP Image Awards , including Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Song for “Unbreakable”. She also received the Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. “No One” earned Keys the awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
In May 2010, a representative for Keys and Swizz Beatz confirmed that they were engaged and expecting a child together. Keys and Beatz had a wedding celebration on the French island of Corsica on July 31, 2010. 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. On December 27, 2014 Keys gave birth to her second child, son Genesis Ali Dean.
Net Worth : $70 Million.3