Alicia Keys’ official website says she possesses an “old soul,” and the hard facts seem to back up the implied claim of wisdom and experience that transcend Alicia Keys’ youth. Barely in her twenties, Alicia Keys is responsible for an extremely hot debut, Songs in A Minor. The release, which Alicia Keys 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. Label executives confidently predicted similarly favorable numbers for the first week’s tally.
Around the time that Songs in A minor was released, Alicia Keys was popping up everywhere, including an Associated Press story. Where had Alicia Keys been before then? Alicia Keys’ entire life, it seems, had been an accelerated learning experience, preparing her for a career in music. A Manhattan native, Alicia Keys’ musical gifts became apparent when she was five years old. As a choir major enrolled in Manhattan’s Professional Performance Arts School, Alicia Keys further developed her vocal talents with extra help from a teacher. By the time Alicia Keys was 16, Keys graduated and entered Columbia University. Music beckoned, however, and she quickly left Columbia behind.
Alicia Keys was writing songs when she was 14, with seven years of piano lessons under her belt by that time. In later years, Alicia Keys appeared on movie soundtracks, including Shaft and Men in Black. In 1998, Alicia Keys signed a deal with Arista Records when the company triumphed in a bidding war over other labels. When Davis left the company for J Records in 1999, Keys went along. Davis promoted the careers of such artists as Carlos Santana and Whitney Houston, and part of his launch strategy for Alicia Keys was to secure exposure on BET and MTV, as well as on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Alicia Keys has already began working on her third studio album, to be released in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine reported in December 2005 that Keys and her longtime songwriting partner Kerry “Krucial” Brothers will start working seriously on Keys’ third studio album in the latter half of 2006 Keys has explained that her new upcoming album has a more edgy feel than her first two albums and she is keen to do strange and unexpected collaborations outside the R&B and hip-hop worlds. Keys plans to collobarate with John Mayer, John Legend and Linda Perry on her third studio album.
Alicia Keys recently opened a new recording studio in New York, which she co-owns with her co-production and co-songwriting partner Kerry “Krucial” Brothers. Keys and Kerry Brothers are co-founders of KrucialKeys Enterprises, a production and songwriting team who assisted Keys in creating her award-winning albums as well as create music for other artists.
Alicia Keys has finished shooting a film alongside Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds entitled Smokin’ Aces, in which she plays an assassin named Georgia Sykes. Keys has received much praise from her co-stars in the film; Ryan Reynolds said Keys has “natural” acting ability as he was surprised she had not starred in movies before. Keys will also play piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler in an upcoming movie entitled Composition in Black and White scheduled for release in 2007. Furthermore, she has been shooting her second film The Nanny Diaries alongside Scarlett Johansson. She is playing Johannson’s best friend in the film.
Alicia Keys and her longtime manager, Jeff Robinson, have formed a televison production company called Big Pita. Their first project will be a US-UPN Network TV series inspired by Keys’ experiences as a biracial youngster growing up in New York. Keys has been tapped to executively produce an upcoming TV drama. The title and airing date are presently unconfirmed.