Today City Connect celebrates the birthday of Alicia Keys, the R&B singer-songwriter, pianist, musician, record producer, and actress born January 25, 1981.
Alicia Augello Cook, known professionally as Alicia Keys, released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record deals first with Columbia and then Arista Records. Keys’ debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of 2001. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “Fallin'” becoming the second American recording artist to win five Grammys in one night. Her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, selling eight million copies. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, which debuted at number one in the United States. She became the first female to have an MTV Unplugged album to debut at number one and the highest since Nirvana in 1994.
Keys made guest appearances on several television series in the following years, beginning with Charmed. She made her film debut in Smokin’ Aces which included Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Taraji P. Henson, Jeremy Piven and also went on to appear in The Nanny Diaries which starred Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamitti and Chris Evan in 2007. Her third studio album, As I Am, was released in the same year and sold five million copies worldwide, earning Keys an additional three Grammy Awards. The following year, she appeared in The Secret Life of Bees with Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo, and Dakota Fanning, which earned her a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards. She released her fourth album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009, which became Keys’ first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom. She released her fifth album, Girl on Fire, in November 2012, which became Keys’ fifth chart-topping album in the United States.
Throughout her career, Keys has won numerous awards and has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B songs artist of the 2000s decade. In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Billboard magazine placed her number ten on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. BlackBerry (formerly RIM) named her as its Global Creative Director at the Blackberry 10 Experience event in New York City on January 30, 2013. Keys then opened Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 3, 2013, by singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
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