Alicia Keys is a world known American singer and an awesome songwriter who is famous for her piano skills. She has also tried herself in acting and is a known philanthropist.

Early years

The popular singer was born as Alicia Augello Cook. It was January 25, 1981, in New York City in United States. Her family came out of  Manhattan, from a neighbourhood named Hell’s Kitchen.

Her mother’s name is Teresa, who was a paralegal in profession, and she was her only child. Teresa was of mixed descent: part Sicilian, part Irish.

Her father is Craig Cook, an African-American flight attendant who had two more children with an another woman. Alicia got her name from her godmother, who was from Peurto Rico.

Her father abandoned the family later on and Alicia was brought up by her single mother when Alicia was only two years old.

Alicia and her mother lived in a little condo and struggled not to lose it. Her mum often worked the whole day, sometimes even had three jobs in order for her and Alicia to lead a secure life.

Alicia admitts that she had problems with her self-esteem from the earliest childhood. Living in hell’s Kitchen made her often exposed to drugs, prostitution and violence, but today she claims that it gave her the right kind of motivation to become a star.

When she became older and very beautiful she felt that she has to carry a knife with herself, to protect herself from the possible danger. She learned that wearing gender-neutral clothing can help her hide her sexuality.

Keys matured very early, not only because she had a working mother who relied on Alicia, but also because she was often alone while her mother worked so she had to be responsible.

Alicia wass in love with music from her early age. She had sang as long as she knows about herself. Her mother liked playing jazz and this brought Alicia and emotional bond with music.

Her first public appearance was in pre-school when she was a part of the musical „Cats“, and later she was made Dorothy from „The Wizard of Oz“.

After her first meeting with piano at the age of six, Alicia recognized that she has a special bond with this instrument and wished that she could learn how to play it.

At the age of seven she was already playing Beethoven, Mozart, and other classics. Chopin and his melancholic music were her biggest passion.

She was only twelve when she decided to write her own song, encouraged and inspired by the great movie „Philadelphia“.

Teresa, Alicia’s mother, supported her daughter in music passionately but also forced her to be occupied with other engagements such as dancing and theatre. She tried to keep Alicia busy so she wouldn’t have time to get in trouble.

Keys studied classical music, leaving other activities, untill she was 18. She was 14 when she started studying jazz and found interest in artist such as Marvin Gaye.

Alicia was writing her songs in all this period. It was during the time she has been a part of Harlem that she met Kerry Brothers Jr who became her good friend.

In 1994, Alicia was one of the members of a girl band from Bronx. She was discovered by Robinson, who saw her perform at Harlem and offered her to make her a star.

At first, Alicia wasn’t into a solo career but after her group stopped playing, she got in touch with Robinson. It was in 1995 that Robinson took her to meet Peter Edge, an executive of the record label Warner Bros.

Career development

She was only 15 when she signed a contract with a record company named Columbia Records. This also made her schooling easier since she has received a scholarship due to her musical success.

She finished her high school education at 16 and entered the Columbia University in Manhattan.

Although she was very interested in college, she was a lot more interested in music so she finally left college to focus on her music career since it was impossible for her to do both.

Alicia wasn’t happy working with Columbia Records. They tried to change her author songs, to sing songs written by others and tried to make her work with people she disliked.

Eventually, they weren’t pleased with her too because they felt she hated the materials they gave her. In 1996, she appeared on So So Def’s Christmas album, and next year she contributed in writing a song for “Men in Black”.

Her good friend Kerry told her to get her own stereo equipment and record herself.

In this period she wanted to live by herself so she has moved out of her mother’s place. She was also fighting with her often and wanted to avoid that.

She decided to move to Queens. Alicia and her friend Kerry opened their own studio in the basement. It was called “KrucialKeys Studios”.

At the same time, she was having problems with her producers at Columbia Records who thought her songs are not good for radio.

Alicia asked to be released from the record label and join Arista Records. It was in 1998. This label gave her the freedom to work like she wants to and write her own songs.

She made two singles for movies: “Rock wit U” for a movie titled “Shaft” and “Rear View Mirror” for Dr.Dolittle.

Davis created his own label “J Records” after he left the firm.

Alicia got the chance to go to The Tonight Show to promote her debut album. After her hit single “Fallin'” came out she was invited by Oprah Winfrey to sing her hit song.

“Fallin’ immidietaly went to No.1 on the Billboard chart and became the hit she was recognized by.

Her debut album “Songs in A Minor” also went to No.1 on the same list. The album was sold in millions and even garnered six Platinum sales.

Her album was nominated for six Grammy awards, and she won three of them. She became the winner of the Song of The Year, Best New Artist and Best R&B album. It was the same year that she wrote Christina Aguilera’s hit “Impossible”.

In 2003, Alicia released “The Diary of Alicia Keys”. It was a huge hit album and again came to No.1 of the Billboard chart.

In 2004, Alicia won an award for Best R&B Video for the single “If I Ain’t Got You”.

The same year, Alicia Keys decided to release her first novel named “Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics”.

The book was The New York Times bestseller that year.

She released her MTV Unplugged album at the end of 2005. It was so well received amongst the public that it became the best sold female Unplugged album ever.

Alicia and her friend Kerry opened their own place to record music, “The Oven Studios”. They have also founded together  “KrucialKeys Enterprises”.

It was especially glad for her that she received the Starlight Award which was given to her by the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 2006, Alicia’s grandmother died. It was extremely difficult for Alicia to make peace with that event that she had almost had  nervous breakdown. To cope with this event, she flew to Egypt alone.

In 2007, Alicia gained her first role in a crime movie called “Smokin’ Aces” with known stars Ben Afleck and Andy Garcia. She gained good critcs for her role. She also acted in “The Nanny Diaries”, with Scarlett Johansson.

Her third album was released the same year and it was called “As I Am”. The biggest hit from this album was a song called “No One”. The single got her two Grammy Awards in 2008.

Alicia has been in a lot of commercials: she became the spokesperson to Glacéau’s VitaminWater and was involved in a campaign for American Express. She had a role in  “The Secret Life of Bees”.

Her fifth album in the row was named “Girl on Fire” and it was released in 2012.

The same year, 2012, was the year when she began her collaboration with Reebok and the company created her own collection of sneakers.

She partnered with Bento Box the same year to create a mobile app ment for education.

In 2013, she was hired by BlackBerry to advertise their new BlackBerry devices. She even became their Global Creative Director.

In 2013, she collaborated with an Italian singer named Giorgia on the song called”I Will Pray”.

In 2014, she was working on the soundtrack “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, alongside Kendrick Lamar.

In the fall of 2014, she has released a children’s book “Blue Moon: From the Journals of MaMa Mae and LeeLee.”

In 2016, Alicia starred in the popular series “Empire” where she played Skye Summers. She became the coach in the popular TV show “The Voice”.

In 2016, she has released a short movie “Let Me In”, in collaboration with an organization named “We Are Here”.

In 2017, she became the coach at “The Voice” again, and this time her contester won. His name was Chris Blue.

In 2017 she again returned to “The Voice” and this time she was second.

She had a collab with Eminen on his new album.

The Rolling Stone Magazine listed her album “Songs in a Minor” on the list of  “100 Greatest Albums”.

In 2018, she has received the “Songwriter Icon award”.

Alicia is known as a big philanthropist. She is an ambassador of an organization “Keep a Child Alive”, which she herself co-founded. She organizes the “Black Ball” on a yearly basis, which is a gala event for raising funds to fight against AIDS in Africa.

Personal life

Alicia had dated her good friend and business partner Kerry Brothers Jr. which ended in 2008, but they were very secretive about it.

They got married in 2010, and Alicia gave birth to her son Egypt Daoud Dean. His brother Genesis Ali Dean, was born four years later.

She lives in a big house in New Jersey, with her husband and children. It is decorated in a contemoprary design.

They have a couple of extra expensive car, such as Lamborghini and a black SUV.

Quick summary

Full name: Alicia Augello Cook

Date of birth: January 25, 1981

Birthplace: New York City, United States

Age: 37

Profession: singer, songwriter, actor, philanthropist, composer, producer

Height: 1, 68 m

Weight: 57 kgs

Net Worth: $70 million