Born under the name Alicia Cook in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen area, the musician and singer known today as Alicia Keyes made her show-business debut at the age of four on The Cosby Show. She began playing the piano at age seven and was sent by her mother to music and dance classes throughout her childhood. At age twelve, she was accepted to New York’s Professional Performing Arts School. Her talent was recognized early by important people in the music business. Dropping out of Columbia University after four weeks to pursue her musical career full time, she released her first album, Songs In A Minor, in 2001 at the age of twenty. Since then, she has become one of the best-selling and most successful R&B performers and recording artists in the world. Written for young readers, this is the story of her life.
An R&B great and an inspiration to young artists
Originally signing with Columbia Records, Keys broke that relationship when her career stalled after two years with them, no records being released and the company going through major internal upheavals. She signed with Clive Davis’ Arista Records, and when that company disbanded shortly thereafter went with him to the newly-formed J Records. After releasing a couple of songs that appeared on movie soundtracks, she released Songs In A Minor on the J Records label. The album quickly hit number one on Billboard and sold over 200,000 copies in its first week, and won five Grammy Awards. Her second and third albums, The Diary of Alicia Keys and As I Am, were even more successful. Although still in her twenties, Keys has received the kind of recognition not just for performing but for songwriting as well that normally goes to much older artists. She has appeared in movies as well as musical performances and there is every indication that her career will continue to be successful. A good introduction to the life and career of an important artist and an inspiring story for young people.