An international star from the age of 19, singer-pianist Alicia Keys has become recognized as one of the great young talents in R&B, a class act who records music that seems destined to be timeless. Born in Harlem in 1981, she had classical piano lessons from the age of 7 and was writing songs when she was 11. Even before that, she appeared in a small part in an episode of The Cosby Show in 1985 when she was 4. She graduated from the Professional Performance Arts School when she was 16. Signed briefly to Columbia, Keys contributed a song to the Men in Black soundtrack but label problems resulted in her being dropped. She made her debut album for Clive Davis’ J Records. Thanks to all of the pre-release publicity, Songs in A Minor sold more than 50,000 copies during the first day of its release in 2001, eventually selling over 10 million copies. Her singles from the CD, “Fallin'” and “A Woman’s Worth,” were hits. The Diary of Alicia Keys (with its singles “You Don’t Know My Name,” “If I Ain’t Got you,” “Diary” and “Karma”) followed, as did Unplugged and As I Am. Thus far Keys has sold over 25 million albums. She has also had a second very successful career as an actress, starring in Smokin’ Aces and The Nanny Diaries in 2007, with other projects upcoming.
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