January 14, 2008
I chose Alicia Keys as my famous person because I used to like her
songs. But now that there are many singers that sing beautiful songs, I rarely
here her. I also chose her because I want to know and learn more about her.
Alicia Keys is an American R&B, soul, and neo soul singer-songwriter, pianist,
record producer, actress, music video director, philantrophist, and author who
has sold over forty-one million albums and singles worldwide as of 2007, and has
won numerous awards, including eleven Grammy Awards, eleven Billboard
Music Awards and three American Music Awards.
Alicia Keys was born in Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem, in New York
City, to Teresa “Terri” Augello, a paralegal and part-time actress, and Craig
Cook, a flight attendant on January 28, 1980. Keys’ mother is of Irish, Scottish,
and Italian descent and her father is Jamaican.
Keys’ parents separated during her early childhood, and she was
subsequently raised by her mother during her formative years in Hell’s Kitchen,
also in Manhattan. In 1985, Keys and a group of other girls played the parts of
Rudy Huxtable’s sleepover guests in an episode of The Cosby Show called,
“Slumber Party”. She began playing the piano when she was seven, learning
classical music by composers such as Beethoven, Mozart and her favorite,
Keys graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School, as
prestigious high school in Manhattan, as valedictorian at the age of sixteen in
only three years. Although accepted in to Columbia University, she decided to
drop out and pursue her musical career. Keys signed a demo deal with Jermaine
Dupri and his So So Def label, then distributed by Columbia Records. She co-
wrote and recorded a song entitled “Dah Dee Dah (Sexy Thing)”, which appeared
on the soundtrack to the 1997 blockbuster, Men In Black. The song was Key’s
first professional recording; however, it was never released as a single and her
record contract with the Columbia Records ended quickly. Keys later met Clive
Davis, who signed her to Arista Records, which has since disbanded. Following
Davis to his newly-formed J Records label, she recorded the songs “Rock wit U”
January 14, 2008
and “Rear View Mirror”, featured on the soundtracks to the films Shaft (2002) and
Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) respectively. Keys then released her debut album, Songs In
Besides being a musician, Keys is also a philanthropist. She is a
spokeswoman for Keep a Child Alive, a non-profit organization that provides life-
saving AIDS medicine directly to children and families with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Keys and U2 lead singer, Bono, recorded a cover version of Peter Gabriel and
Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up”, in recognition of World AIDS Day 2006. Keys and
Bono’s version of the song was retitled “Don’t Give Up (Africa)” to show the two
musicians’ support for helping to raise awareness of people living with HIV and
AIDS and acknowledging the twenty-five million Africans (forty million people
worldwide) living with the disease. Cingular Wireless announced the debut of an
exclusive Music Tone ringtone available only through the Cingular Sounds music
program. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the ringtone sales will go to
Keep a Child Alive.
Keys has visited African countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and South
Africa to promote care for children affected by AIDS. Keys, the global
ambassador and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, jet in on a four-day working
visit in Masaka, Uganda on April 10, 2006 to bolster the HIV/AIDS crusade and
give a ray of hope to families and children devastated by the scourage. Keys
visited sites funded by the organization “and brought footage home to the
American public to encourage them to do more help”, according to KACA
statement. Throughout her visit, a film crew followed and documented the
progress at both of these facilities for American news outlet.
Keys is also a spokewoman for Frum the Ground Up, a charity developed
to inspiring, encouraging and motivating American youths to achieve success on
alll levels. Keys also participated in other humanitarian efforts in 2005 by
performing at several exclusive concerts and television shows. On July 2, Keys
performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of the worldwide Live 8
concerts. The mission of the concerts was to raise awareness of the on-going
poverty in Africa and pressure the G8 leaders to take action by doubling aid,
January 14, 2008
canceling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa. In August 2005, Keys
performed on ReAct Now: Music & Relief, a benefit program show on music
video channels to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The
following month, Keys performed at Shelter From The Storm: A Concert For The
Gulf Coast, another Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.
Keys is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
On July 7, 2007, Keys and Keith Urban performed the Rolling Stones’
1969 hit “Gimme Shelter” at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at
the American leg of the Live Earth concerts.
Keys participated at the nobel peace prize concert which took place at the
Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway on December 11, 2007, together with a variety of
artists. The concert was broadcast to over one hundred countries.
In this report, I learned that Alicia Keys is a talented person with a kind
heart. I hope she can help many more people in the future.
Websites that I used: