So many people were just singing on top of loops and tracks, but she had the ability, not only to be part of hip-hop, but also to go way beyond that. She also co-wrote and recorded a song titled "Dah Dee Dah Sexy Thing ", which appeared on the soundtrack to the film, Men in Black.
The song was Keys' first professional recording; however, it was never released as a single and her record contract with Columbia ended after a dispute with the label. Keys was unhappy with the label because her career had stalled during her two years under contract at Columbia due to executive indecision over her direction and major changes within the company. Keys called Clive Davis, who sensed a "special, unique" artist from her performance and signed her to Arista Records, which later disbanded. Keys almost chose Wilde as her stage name until her manager suggested the name Keys after a dream he had.
Keys felt that name represented her both as a performer and person. Keys' first studio album Songs in A Minor was released in June Debuting at number one on the Billboard with first-week sales of , units, it went on to sell over 6. Keys became the second female solo artist to win five Grammy Awards in a single night, following Lauryn Hill at the 41st Grammy Awards. Keys maintained a low-profile relationship with producer Kerry Brothers Jr. Keys then began dating rapper Swizz Beatz Kasseem Dean in , who was still in the process of divorcing from his then-wife, singer Mashonda Tifrere.
Plus, in this day of wall-to-wall celeb overkill, camera phones and " sources" flogging secrets to the insatiable gossip mags, the fact that no one has ever "caught" Keys with anyone is pretty incredible. Imagine the pressure to keep things quiet. Surely that's no way to lead a healthy relationship? During our first meeting, after I thought I had noticed her acting cosy with Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, her longtime song-writing partner they also write for other artists , I asked Keys whether she was going out with him.
Her response would have shamed Medusa. And I was none the wiser. More confusing still, she seemed aware even back then that she radiated an air of robotic aloofness — as she told me in China, if she were to write a song about herself called "Painted Smile", it would be entirely appropriate. You need to be that direct to come out of this place where you're suppressing so many emotions.
And if there's one thing that Linda Perry is, she is unafraid to be who she is. She's ballsy. Perry is also — loudly and proudly — gay. As was the assassin Keys played in Smokin' Aces. So, putting two and two together and coming up with 40, as two ladies attend to her hair and make-up in Radio City Music Hall, I ask Keys for the inspiration behind the lyrics to the comeback single.
The answer is another elegant fudge: Keys' inspiration was "any great relationship that I have and the way that people try to break apart. And the way that people see a good thing and become envious of it. But still, through all of that, no one is able to break it when it's a true bond, whether it's with your wife, husband, boyfriend, daughter, son, sister, your family, whoever. I try another tack. How will her attempts to be more honest manifest themselves? Keys replies that she is trying to temper her workaholism. Fine, but will she continue to keep her personal relationships secret?
Somebody said this to me in London — 'How can you be so personal on a record and not be telling everyone everything all the time? I do want to always be honest about what I'm feeling and be able to feel what I say, and not hide it. But at the same time, it is a balancing act to not give everything away so people, such as yourself" — and here she flashes a laser smile — "can run with it and disrespect it. So I'm not sure.
Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, ), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, Considered a musical icon, Keys was named by Billboard the top R&B artist of the s decade and placed number 10 on. Grammy-winning, singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is known for hit songs such She won the Grammy for Best R&B Album in for her work.
I'm figuring that part out. I don't have all the answers. Out front, amid honking traffic and dragoons of giant security guards and tubby coppers, a busy lady with busy hands is saying into a cellphone: "Hi, this is Kim, Jennifer Hudson's talent escort. She's looking for some towels Earlier this evening, Keys had left the venue by one entrance so she could re-enter via another.
The latter is the entrance with the red carpet and phalanxes of paparazzi, TV crews and online reporters. Keys walks arm-in-arm with Francisco Costa, a dapper little man with braces on his teeth. He's creative director at ' Calvin Klein, the womenswear designer of the year, and the chap who dreamt up the fabulous gown Keys is wearing. I follow close behind. Keys works the media like a pro, slowly schmoozing her way up the line of microphones jabbed at her over the crash-barriers.
The flashlights and spotlights are blinding, and so are the bling and dentistry of the celebrities who follow in her wake. Skinny gals Jennifer Alba and Mischa Barton! Looking good for your age, Teri Hatcher! Fashion dowager Anna Wintour! Someone who I'm told is designer Michael Kors!
Now Keys is standing in the centre of the red carpet talking to Gayle King. King is Oprah Winfrey's best friend, and editor-at-large of the chat-show queen's O magazine. Out of earshot of the slavering media pack, two of the most powerful black female cultural figures in the US are talking about Africa and their last visits there: Oprah has opened a school for girls near Johannesburg; Keys is helping fund a clinic in Durban.
She's bought the building and is currently seeking further investment. Last year, under the auspices of the Keep a Child Alive organisation, she undertook a "pilgrimage" across Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, visiting churches, schools and community centres.
This was the way to spread the news. It was funny, it was quirky, it was young people speaking to young people, and it was a way to really educate people about how [infection] happens. Back on the red carpet, time is ticking away — it's been 40 minutes since Keys left her dressing room.
Now she's returning to it. Inside, all is quiet once more. Stultifyingly so. Keys and co have been here for eight hours. Finally, it's time to pray. Musicians, backing vocalists, management, " glam squad" stylist, hair, make-up , record company and me — arms around each other's shoulders and eyes closed — are encouraged by Keys to "breathe in the good stuff and exhale the negative stuff".
Then we chant as one: tonight's performance is "not for us, Lord, but for you! For the quietly devout Keys, that is no doubt true. But tonight's performance — which, when she finally gets on stage, lends some much-needed pizzazz to a bill featuring Linkin Park and him out of Nickelback — are also about kickstarting the huge, international promotional campaign in support of As I Am. When you're an international superstar, nothing must be left to chance. Keys tops the bill at the MTV Awards, completely outgunning Britney Spears and her now-notorious , thoroughly dismal comeback.
She begins alone at the piano playing "No One", a gospel-flavoured belter. Then, as the curtains draw back to reveal a choir, Keys segues effortlessly into a rendition of George Michael's "Freedom". It was some show. Keys is great at projection.
It's hard not to be wowed by her stage, video and interview performances. She's more hospitable and more chilled than most 20 million-selling megastars. But what lies behind the shine and the smile? Where's her interior life? As I had discovered when asking about her personal relationships, even with the new honesty she claims runs through her new record and her new "self", Keys can't quite give up absolute control. Yet there was one subject about which she was candid. Speaking to the small audience in London — and, later, in the American press — Keys talked about how, prior to writing and recording As I Am, had been a year of " real lows".
Questioned on this, she blathered something about these being in the area of "personal growth" and how the illness of a "close relative When I respectfully, I hope later press her on this point, she eventually says that her paternal grandmother — who had played a significant role in raising Keys — became mortally ill with cancer. She lived with Keys, and the singer became her primary carer, partly, it seems, because Keys' dad, who had split from her mum when Keys was an infant, now lives in Colorado.
It was a long, painful decline over most of Keys abandoned all plans to make a new album. And, as she took the most time off since starting out in the music industry over a decade ago, she realised she'd neglected her personal life in her relentless drive to succeed. I'm used to constantly going on to the next thing, but I realised at that moment, 'Man, this is it, this is all I have If she hadn't devoted all her time and energies to her grandmother, "I would be a terribly messed-up person right now.
I would be full of regret and really down on myself for that. And I was able to spend some of the most precious time with her ever. And I grew. And grew up. I learnt a lot — about family, about who's there for me, who's not. Before I was, 'Oh I have to go to Miami? OK, I'm just gonna hop on a plane tomorrow. And I was obviously totally saddened by the fact that eventually, you know Earlier this year, Keys finally began to work on the songs that would comprise As I Am. The songs on her third album are, for the most part, all the better for it: uplifting, loose and powerful.
Retrieved February 15, Mashonda didn't blame Sabastian for the end of her marriage anyway. I had to do it more with myself, with the people that I felt comfortable with or by myself with my piano. Archived from the original on February 9, Retrieved November 20, OK, I'm just gonna hop on a plane tomorrow. We love to do painting days and to visit our family—and we also love to run around our house and just go nuts!
If and when she completely relaxes about her personal life too, she'll be unstoppable. And, perhaps, be able to have a lot more fun. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Premium free for 1 month. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.
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