Alicia Keys was born in 1981 as Alicia Cook in Hells Kitchen in Manhattan, New York. She was born to an Italian, Scottish and Irish mother and an African American father. As a child, Alicia was able to relate to different cultures due to her biracial heritage. Her mother, Teresa Augello, started Alicia in acting and music classes at a very young age, and in 1985 she made an appearance on “The Cosby Show” when she was only four years old. She started playing the piano at the age of seven and was influenced by Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin. She attended the Professional Performing Arts School at the age of 12 and graduated in four years at the age of 16 as valedictorian. Right away, it was obvious that Alicia was unlike any other child at her age, and she was destined to be a star.
After dropping out of Columbia University to pursue her music career full time, Alicia began making connections with notable figures in the music industry including Jermaine Dupri and many others. She landed a couple recording contracts and was featured on a few movie soundtracks including “Men In Black” in 1997 and
“Dr. Dolittle 2” in 2001. It wasn’t until June 2001 when she finally scored her first solo hit with “Fallin” which was off of her debut album, “Songs In A Minor” which debuted at number one on the Billboard chart. She went on to release more singles from her debut album such as “A Woman’s Worth” and “How Come You Don’t Love Me” all of which spent time in the top 10 slots. “Songs In A Minor” went on to win five Grammy Awards at the 2002 Grammys and “Fallin” was nominated for record of the year. Keys’ next album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys” was released in December 2003, which also debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and earned her countless awards and nominations. Alicia went on to release three more albums after that complete with hit number one singles earning her countless awards and nominations. Alicia Keys married music producer Swizz Beats in 2010 and gave birth to her first son, Egypt, later that year. Alicia is currently working on her fifth studio album, “Girl On Fire”, which will be released later this month. The album’s first single, ”Girl On Fire” was released in September and so far has received airplay across the country.
Aside from her music career, Alicia Keys is also heavily involved in the charity, Keep A Child Alive, which is a non-profit that provides medicine to families with HIV and Aids in Africa and she’s donated funds to benefit programs to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina and is an avid supporter of President Barack Obama.