Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys

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Birth Name: Alicia Augello Cook

Date of Birth: Jan 25, 1980

Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA

Occupation: Singer/piano player

Height: 5' 5½"

Best Known For: Her single "Fallin'" from her album Songs in A Minor

Alicia Keys Biography

Alicia Augello Cook on January 25, 1980 in New York City. She adopted the surname Keys when she started her music career. Her mother, Terri Augello, is of Italian and Irish descent and her father, Craig Cook, is Jamaican. Though Keys grew up in poverty, she began piano lessons at age 7. Keys proved to be so talented that she was later accepted to the Professional Performance Arts School of Manhattan, where she majored in choir. Keys was an exceptional student and actually graduated as valedictorian at age 16. She was accepted at Columbia University at age 16, but but never attended in order to pursue her music career.

Keys wrote her first song, "Butterflyz," when she was only 14. The song later appeared on her debut album. Her career began when she signed a demo deal with Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def label, then distributed to Columbia Records. She wrote and recorded a song entitled "Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)" which appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 blockbuster, Men in Black. The song was Keys' first professional recording, it was never released as a single and her record contract with Columbia Records ended quickly. Keys later met Clive Davis who signed her to Arista Records in 1998. In late 1999, Keys followed Clive Davis to his newly-formed J Records label, where she recorded songs "Rock Wit U" and "Rear View Mirror" which featured on the soundtracks to the movies Shaft (2000) and Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) respectively. Keys then released her debut album Songs in A Minor in 2001. The album includes the hit single "Fallin," along with collaborations from other high-profile artists, including Jermaine Dupri and Isaac Hayes, and it entered the Billboard album charts at #1 and held its position for six weeks.

Keys' sophomore album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in December 2003. Singles from the album include, "You Don't Know My Name" and "If I Ain't Got You" which both reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Keys became the best-selling female R&B artist of 2004. In 2005, Keys won won four Grammy Awards: Best R&B Album for The Diary of Alicia Keys, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "If I Ain't Got You", Best R&B Song for "You Don't Know My Name", and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "My Boo" with Usher.

Keys performed and taped her installment of the MTV Unplugged series on July 14, 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has a third album set for release in 2007.

In addition to music, Keys has broken into the world of film. After a few guest appearances on television shows, Keys was cast in three films set for release in 2007. She will appear alongside Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds in a film entitled Smokin' Aces, in which she plays an assassin named Georgia Sykes. She will also play piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler in an upcoming movie entitled Composition in Black and White, and she will be seen in The Nanny Diaries with Scarlett Johansson.
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