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Alicia Keys

AliciaKeys2013Alicia Keys was born Alicia Augello Cook in New York City in 1981. She is an American R&B singer, songwriter, actress and record producer. Keys’ father is Black and her mother is White, of Italian, Irish and Scottish heritage. Keys’ unique style has led to 35 million album sales and 30 million singles worldwide. In 2002, she won five Grammys, becoming only the second American recording artist to do so.

Keys entered a performing arts school at age 12 and graduated at 16 as valedictorian. She got her musical break with Columbia Records, which coincided with her acceptance to Columbia University. After a month of trying to manage both, she left school in order to pursue her music full time. In addition to her vocals, Keys plays the piano, keyboard, cello, synthesizer, vocoder, guitar, bass guitar and drums.

Billboard magazine named Keys the top R&B song artist of the 2000s. She has won multiple awards, including Grammys and American Music Awards, and she tied with Britney Spears for the most consecutive number-one debuts by a female artist on the Billboard 200.

Keys got her acting start in 1985 in an episode of The Cosby Show. In 2008, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a motion picture for The Secret Life of Bees. In 2011, she was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Five.

Keys has said that her biracial heritage has enabled her to relate to different cultures. She has been married to recording artist and record producer Swizz Beatz since 2010, and they have two children.

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