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Alicia Keys

  • American musician
  • Born January 25, 1981

Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records. After disputes with the label, she signed with Arista Records, and later released her debut album, Songs in A Minor, with J Records in 2001. The album was critically and commercially successful, producing her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Fallin'" and selling over 16 million copies worldwide.


I've stepped more into my womanhood, I'm a mother now, I'm having a beautiful relationship as a wife and as a friend.




As a lyricist, you love to hear other great lyrics or other great concepts.




My mom is definitely my rock.




To be able to help a 13-year-old kid from the Bronx follow her dreams just by letting her know she's not forgotten in this crazy world - that's why I got involved with Frum Tha Ground Up.




A lot of times I watch TV and I watch film and there's so many things I'd love to talk about that I feel don't get the opportunity to be shown. Sometimes things become very stereotypical and one-sided, and I feel like it's such a colorful world.




When I was younger, studying classical music, I really had to put in the time. Three hours a day is not even nice - you have to put in six.




Once people see this 'Unplugged,' I just want them to feel the spontaneity, to feel passionate... I want you to see another side of me, that's free, and feel where my head is, where whatever happens, happens. I want you to feel inspired.




Simplicity makes me happy.




My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures. But any woman of colour, even a mixed colour, is seen as black in America. So that's how I regard myself.




I'm inspired by artists and musicians. There are so many wonderful and talented people in the world. I love discovering new music, new writers, or new art.




Things can be really empty in this world, and I don't just mean the music world. It can become a very meaningless place if you don't really understand: 'who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing?' To feel fulfilment and have a deeper level of understanding, personally, that is the most important thing.




I really like to live my life in a low-key fashion.




I grew up in the middle of everything. I walked the streets alone, I rode the trains alone, I came home at three in the morning alone; that was what I did.




I'm a very positive person, but this whole concept of having to always be nice, always smiling, always happy, that's not real. It was like I was wearing a mask. I was becoming this perfectly chiselled sculpture, and that was bad. That took a long time to understand.




I see what happens when one gets very attached to material things. That's just not what my life is.




When I was a kid, I'd practise Chopin on piano - and I love Chopin! He's my dawg! Then I'd go out on the stoop and blast the radio. I'm from New York, the concrete jungle. Hip-hop influenced me from day one.




I love my heritage! I have my mother, who is an Irish-Italian, and my father who is African, so I have the taste buds of an Italian and the spice of an African.




I was tired and I had overworked myself and burnt myself out. So I went to Egypt by myself. When I saw what was built there, it made me understand how powerful we are, that we can create anything. And I felt like I needed to create things that were timeless too.




My mom always said, 'Don't date a guy who thinks he's prettier than you.'




I feel the presence of a higher power. I believe that what you give is what you get. It's universal law. I believe in the power of prayer and of words. I've learned that when you predict that negative things will happen, they do.




From the beginning, I've had to juggle and weigh the silly things people say - and I've learnt that they're meaningless, and they're mostly inaccurate. So I don't worry about it, because there's nothin' for me to deal with.




I'd rather not have anything than be a liar.




There's too much darkness in the world. Everywhere you turn, someone is tryin' to tear someone down in some way; everywhere you go, there's a feeling of inadequacy, or a feeling that you're not good enough. I want to bring a certain light to the world.




When I'm on stage, my interaction with the audience is something that really makes me come alive. It's a feeling like no other. The energy of the crowd fuels something new inside.




Not because I'm trying to be fabulous, but I love those big crazy Jackie O shades.




I know people who've gone to jail. It don't mean you stop loving them! They deservin' love just as much in there, and maybe they needin' it more.




The last thing I want is to walk into my house after a long day and see all the Grammys and awards. It would make me feel weird.




And I love kick boxing. It's a lot of fun. It gives you a lot of confidence when you can kick somebody in the head.




I believe in the limitlessness of humans. We're capable of incredible things. At times, that realization is frightening.




What breaks my heart is suffering of any kind. Too often, our world is divisive and cruel where it needs to be uniting and loving.




My parents weren't married. It wasn't like my dad up and left. I maintained a steady relationship with my grandparents. My dad's mother is my nana, and I'm closer to her than almost anybody in this world.




I really appreciate Frank Ocean's lyrical style, I appreciate the way that he can kind of draw you into this personal space, but it's still lyrical. It's almost poetic, in a way, but it's very personal at the same time.




I have my mother who is an Irish-Italian, and my father who is African, so I have the taste buds of an Italian and the spice of an African.




Some of the greatest artists did their best work when they got political.




When I was first learning songs, I'd have a favorite song, and I'd take the chords and twist them around. I'd learn the chords and then play them backward. That was my first experimenting with writing a song.




Music is funny. I shouldn't even ever talk about music, because you can have all the ideas in your head, and it never goes exactly the way that you think it's gonna go.



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