Alicia Keys described herself on Twitter as “Passionate about my work, in love with my family and dedicated to spreading light. It’s contagious!” She is an only-child and a mix of African-American, Italian, Scottish and Irish ancestry. She said of her mixed-race background, “It made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures.” She added, “Thank God I never had to go through that in regards to ‘You’re not black enough, you’re not white enough.” Though she is of mixed-race, she identifies as “black.” She said, “Any woman of color, even a mixed color, is seen as black in America. So that’s how I regard myself,” (arogundade.com).
Her parents separated when she was two, and then her mother raised her in Hell’s Kitchen. When Alicia Keys was four, she appeared on “The Cosby Show” as guests of Rudy Huxtable’s sleepover party. At seven, she began taking piano lessons and was later accepted in the Professional Performing Arts School, where she majored in choir. She wrote her first song when she was 14 and graduated as a valedictorian at age 16 in 1997.
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Alicia Keys was accepted into Columbia University, but she dropped out to pursue a music career. A year later, she signed to Arista Records. She made her debut album in 2001 with “Songs In A Minor,” which sold over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R & B artist of 2001. She would later win five Grammys in one night.
Alicia Keys changed her name from Augello to Keys in order to reflect her favorite musical instrument (the piano). Supposedly, she once considered calling herself “Alicia Wild.”
She has named the following as musical influences: Nina Simone, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Tupac Shaker, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan.
As for her figure, Alicia Keys said, “I have big everything on the bottom but I love my legs. You’ve got to love what’s yours.” She added, “I’ve learned to love my curves, my womanliness. I used to hide it, to downplay it. But now I revel in it.”
In February 2013, she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the opening of Super Bowl XLVII.
Aside from music, she acts and has appeared on “Charmed,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and “The Nanny Diaries,” among others.
She has a child, Egypt Daoud Dean, born in 2010 from her relationship with Swizz Beatz. Alicia Keys currently resides in New York City.