ALICIA KEYS Biography - Musicians


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Name: Alicia Keys                                                                   
Birth name: Alicia J. Augello-Cook                                                 
Born: 25 January 1980 Manhattan, New York City                                     
Alicia Keys (born Alicia J. Augello-Cook on January 25, 1980)                       
is an American R&B, soul, and neo soul singer-songwriter, pianist, record           
producer, actress, music video director, philanthropist, and author who has sold   
over forty-one million albums and singles worldwide as of 2007, and has won         
numerous awards, including eleven Grammy Awards, eleven Billboard Music Awards,     
three American Music Awards, and fourteen NAACP Image Awards.                       
Keys was born in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem, in New York City, New       
York, to Teresa "Terri" Augello, a paralegal and part-time actress, and Craig       
Cook, a flight attendant. Keys' mother is of Irish, Scottish, and Italian           
descent and her father is Jamaican.                                                 
Keys' parents separated during her early childhood, and she was subsequently       
raised by her mother during her formative years in Hell's Kitchen, also in         
Manhattan. In 1985, Keys and a group of other girls played the parts of Rudy       
Huxtable's sleepover guests in an episode of The Cosby Show called "Slumber         
Party". She began playing the piano when she was seven, learning                   
classical music by composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and her favorite, Chopin.   
Keys graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School, a prestigious high     
school in Manhattan, as valedictorian at the age of sixteen in only three years.   
Although accepted to Columbia University, she decided to drop out and pursue her   
musical career. Keys signed a demo deal with Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def       
label, then distributed by Columbia Records. She co-wrote and recorded a song       
entitled "Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)", which appeared on the soundtrack to the       
1997 blockbuster, Men in Black. The song was Keys' first professional recording;   
however, 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, which has since disbanded. Following Davis to his newly-formed J           
Records label, she recorded the songs "Rock wit U" and "Rear View Mirror",         
featured on the soundtracks to the films Shaft (2000) and Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)     
respectively. Keys then released her debut album, Songs in A Minor.