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She is a young renaissance woman. She writes music; she arranges music, she produces music. But there’s more than that, much more than that. She touches people’s hearts and souls. Her music is honest. Her music is pulsating. Her music is melodic. Walk down the street of any city in the world and you’re apt to hear someone singing one of her songs. She is also a poet of the streets and already one of the best ambassadors to the world that music has ever had. I would venture to say that if you took a poll of people all over the world to choose what musician under 30, no under 40, best exemplifies the highest quality of contemporary music, she would be the choice by a landslide. She’s learned to give back from the day she had anything to give back. Her “Keep A Child Alive” charity exemplifies what is clearly her mantra: Aim as high as you can and make sure you deliver and hit the target. —Clive Davis presented Keys at the 2007 NY Recording Academy Honors on September 26
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Yet her lifestyle doesn’t play into the paparazzi-feeding frenzy like so many other stars of her generation. She’s no doubt more accomplished than the bald headed, drug influenced celebutantes who find themselves in the eye of those special kinds of hurricanes. For Keys, the difference is simple. “You look in the mirror and check yourself. You choose how you want to be.” Certainly Alicia’s choices have been fueled by monumental talent, and she’s chosen exactly who she wanted to be, using the talent to expand emotions and awareness on many levels. She has not used it for selfish or self-indulgent ends. Sayng that her whole life had been in preparation for the last six years, this bi-racial child in a single parent urban household grew up with a strong role model mother. Her mom recognized Alicia’s musical gifts by the time she was five

years old. She was enrolled in Manhattan’s Professional Performance Arts School, graduating valedictorian. A full scholarship at Columbia was there, but she had to leave early—the music called as it had done her whole life. With seven years of classical piano training behind her, Alicia had already begun writing songs at age 14. Early in her performing career, she often opened shows playing Tchaikovsky and has always had a particular fondness for Chopin. She seemed to breathe in both the darkness and the light of the great classical composers, permitting them to give her extraordinary flavor as her own gifts grew. Her musical breadth was smartly used as a marketing tool during the promotion of her first album, and her gifts have shown up clearly on all her subsequent albums. Now

it’s time for the much-anticipated third studio album As I Am. “This one,” Alicia says, “really expresses who I am.” But she hastens to add that description can be said “of all my albums.” They represented where she was at the moment. Where she was in 2001 was an unknown with a debut album. Under the wise tutelage of J Records founder Clive Davis, Alicia was about to be discovered. Somewhat unusual for the man who’s been correctly telling artists what to do with their music for more decades than can be remembered, Davis wisely left Alicia to her own devices for that first album. Songs in A Minor, released in 2001, sold 10 million copies and won five Grammys, an unprecedented feat for a new artist. In the space of a few months she went from being minor to major in the pantheon of recording artists. Where she was in 2003 was smack under the microscope of an industry waiting to see if she’d face the horrific ‘sophomore slump’ that often follows a brilliantly successful debut album. It was also the first product of Alicia’s that the label tried to protect from the Internet invasion of file sharing and piracy. The Diary of Alicia Keys didn’t disappoint anyone waiting to see what the prodigious writer, producer had to say this time around. The album was hailed by critics and debuted at #1 in the U.S., selling more than 618,000 copies its first week of release. At last count, it has sold eight million copies worldwide. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she performed the album’s second single, “If I Ain’t Got You,” and then joined Jamie Foxx and Quincy Jones in a rendition of “Georgia on My Mind,” in tribute to Ray Charles who had died the previous year. That evening, she won four Grammy Awards including “Best R&B Album” for The Diary of Alicia Keys, “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” for “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Best R&B Song” for “You Don’t Know My Name.” Falling under the category of breaking records, she stayed on the charts for more than a year and went on to become the bestselling female R&B artist of 2004. The live CD/DVD Unplugged appeared in 2005, following the course of her previous releases that went straight to the top of the charts, giving her a three for three track record. It’s a stat not only rare but not likely to be duplicated. The wait is nearly over for the entirety of her third studio album, As I Am, set for a worldwide release on November 13 on J Records. The reaction to the first single was wild. “No One” jumped all over the charts and she knocked any other female’s stats into the forget-about-it-bin. “No One” was written and produced by Keys, longtime collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers and Dirty Harry. The Justin Francis/The Saline Project-directed video for “No One” recently premiered on national video outlets like MTV’s “Big 10,” BET’s “Heavy Rotation,”

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VH1’s “Large Rotation” and VH1 Keys kept visible. During “Fashion Soul’s “Soul Spotlight.” Rocks” she showcased her current “The entire process of this single, “No One,” transforming the album was different,” Alicia consubtleties of a piano ballad to a gifides. I’d been looking hard at ant, stadium-rocking thrill. One of myself. I decided to check myself.” the night’s most exciting duets was It had always been the style of that of Alicia and Carlos Santana on the young talent to be in control. his classic “Black Magic Woman.” “I’d go in the studio and say this At the MTV Video Awards, deis how the song goes and this is spite the antics of several of her less how that is.” This time, she says in control contemporaries, Keys quietly, “Trying not to control also delivered a rousing perforsomething was actually liberating.” mance (disturbed by some rockers The album is titled As I Am, Keys who had to try to bash on each said, because she has grown far other). more open recently. “I was becomWhile living up to the demands ing a very hidden person,” she said. for massive tours in support of “And I didn’t like it.” her music, Alicia has moved into She opened up the doors on the acting arena, first starting with herself with the keys to a new smaller roles. Her film roles this recording studio in Long Island, year alone include a co-starring role New York called The Oven Studios, with Ben Affleck in “Smokin’ Aces” which she co-owns with her proand “The Nanny Diaries” with duction and songwriting partner Scarlett Johannson. Krucial. The studio was designed Keys and her long-term manager by famed studio architect John Jeff Robinson, founder of MBK Storyk of WSDG, designer of Jimi Hendrix’ Management (My Brother’s Keeper), have Electric Lady Studios. signed a first-look film production deal to deKeys and Krucial are also the co-founders velop live-action and animated projects with of KrucialKeys Enterprises, a production and Disney, with their first effort being the remake songwriting team who work on her music as of the 1958 Kim Novak, James Stewart classic well as music for other artists. It’s where she “Bell, Book and Candle.” Keys and Robinson made As I Am, the album she also describes have also formed a television production comas “rebellious.” She was intent on “doing pany called Big Pita/Little Pita and there is an things that were not expected,” she said. entire slate of projects in the pipeline. While some of its songs reaffirm her connecIn 2005, the Berkley Publishing Group tion to 1960s and ‘70s soul, others push her released author Keys’ “Tears for Water: a little closer to rock - from the Beatles to Songbook of Poems and Lyrics” that Keys U2 - than she has been before. described as an opening of the journals and Alicia showcases her songwriting and pronotebooks she had kept throughout her life. ducing talents on all 13 of the album’s songs, In 2006, she touched on another subject that but also joins forces on several tracks not deeply affected her in the 112 page book she only with Krucial but also award-winning photographed and wrote titled “How Can I songwriters Linda Perry, Harold Lilly, Sean Keep from Singing? Transforming the Lives Garrett and producers Mark Batson, Dirty of African Children and Families Affected by Harry, Swizz Beatz and Jack Splash. AIDS.” —Clive Davis, Those songs include the anthem One aspect of her life that is most important Chairman BMG North America “Superwoman,” which draws on gospel and to Alicia is her work on behalf of children. “I the Beatles. The song is “a reminder” to herwent to Africa and witnessed unimaginable self she says. “Even when I’m just a mess and I’m not perfect and things—extreme, extreme suffering, the aids pandemic, child prostitueverything’s not great and I’m struggling to figure out what is what,” tion and death…so much death.” She says she couldn’t just “pretend she said, “I’m still a superwoman.” like I didn’t see these things.” So she joined forces with Lee Black She feels connected to the emotion behind “Like You Never See who’d “worked 25 years” on behalf of the children, and for the last four Me Again” because “I gave a lot of powerful thought to what hapyears their efforts have made a real difference with the organization pens when someone a person cares about is gone.” Perhaps her percalled Keep a Child Alive. She also bonded with Bono over humanisonal experience does not directly inform the song, but some time tarian issues and helped create the British-made documentary “We ago she put her career on hold to tend to someone who was dying. Are Together” about the musical aspirations of the children of South “Somebody extremely close to me got very ill,” she said, “and I was Africa’s Agape Orphanage. One of the culminations of that involvement really the only one that was able to help care for them. This person was her performance alongside the children at New York’s Carnegie was strong and my rock, and then, totally, not even able to walk Hall in an effort to bring American attention to their plight. without assistance. I had no choice but to stop.” Alicia is also a spokewoman for Frum tha Ground Up, a charity Another soulful solid song is “Sure Looks Good To Me.” J devoted to inspiring, encouraging, and motivating young Americans Records has been determined to keep this album out of the hands of to achieve success on all levels. She recently joined former President Internet pirates and is keeping most of it under serious wraps. Bill Clinton and others at the Apollo Theatre for a concert and conAlso contributing to the album is Keys’ friend John Mayer. Keys clave on how to incorporate the principles of “Giving,” the title of sang the outro to Mayer’s song “Gravity” on his album Continuum Clinton’s new book, into their everyday lives. and appeared on his sold-out show at Madison Square Garden earWhether she is at the studio, on a performance stage or holding the lier this year. hand of a child with AIDS, Alicia Keys has proven that she truly is a When the album was wrapped and being prepped for release. Supersinger, Superplayer and Superwoman.

This young woman who will not conform, who will not be pigeonholed, who understands the beautiful history of music, soulful music, classical music, jazz, blues and hip-hop music is proudly translating our culture with freshness, originality, dignity and an eye full of twinkles and fire to millions all over the world.

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