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Alicia Keys
The multi-award winning pianist/singer/songwriter/actress returns with a brand new album and from the sneak peek we’ve had of her first single titled No One, it’s clear that Ms. Keys is ready to rock it! That and the promise of multi-award winning artist John Mayer as a guest on two tracks gives us a feeling that this is an album to watch out for.
As we get set for her new record, we take a look at the many sides of Alicia Keys. We also bring you a short interview with Alicia and her longtime musical collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers from the studio where they worked on new material. Check it out!

Alicia Keys’s creative roots lie in music. Born in New York, Keys grew up listening to a variety of influences including artists like Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Frédéric Chopin, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z. She began formal training in classical piano at age seven and further focused on her skill while studying at the Professional Performing Arts School under the tutelage of a pianist called Miss Aziza, who helped Keys develop her songwriting skills. She was discovered at the tender age of 14 and soon she began to build a career in music. In 2001, she debuted with an album called Songs In A Minor and introduced listeners to her unique blend of hip-hop, jazz, soul and classical music. The album was a runaway success, led by the astounding hit Fallin’. It earned Keys five Grammy Awards and sold over 10 million units worldwide.

2003 saw the release of her sophomore record titled The Diary Of Alicia Keys, an album which went on to become seven times platinum and win Keys even more Grammy Awards. In 2005, Keys performed and recorded a concert for the MTV Unplugged series. The successful show featured guest musicians including Common, Damian Marley and Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

2007 sees the release of her new record titled As I Am and you can read more about that in our interview below.

Although she had already contributed music to the soundtracks of films like Ali and Dr. Dolittle 2, Keys made her big screen acting debut as an assassin in 2007’s Smokin’ Aces starring alongside Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. She will also be seen with Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming film adaptation of the book The Nanny Diaries.

Keys has also co-developed and co-written an original series for the CW Network titled Zora. According to Keys’s official biography, Zora ‘is a coming-of-age dramedy that follows the growing pains of a 15-year-old, bi-racial high school student struggling with self-awareness and typical teenage issues, after moving to a new neighborhood following her parents’ divorce’. Says Keys, “This is not my biography, but [there are] slices of my life.”

Her biography also states that Keys will be starring in the Halle Berry produced film adaptation of Kathryn Talalay’s novel, Composition In Black & White: The Life Of Philippa Schuyler, about the life and tragic death of the Harlem prodigy and American concert pianist.

On Her Music And Collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers
Alicia: “We were [at the studio] yesterday till about 8 am. It was great, I love it when it goes so good you just can’t stop! Everyone that knows me, and has been rocking with me, knows Kerry “Krucial” Brothers. This is the one person that from day one ~ from the baby vocals, the chipmunky vocals (laughs)… we’ve been making music and the reason why you hear the music that you hear is because of the combination that we have together. The whole Krucial-Keys thing ~ the sound of my records ~ the reason they have the grounded feeling, why it feels grounded and real is because of our combination. This is the one person in the whole world that has seen me in every kind of way that you could possibly be when you’re creating music ~ you’re often vulnerable, there are times when you feel insecure, there are times when it’s going so great and you feel the magic in the room like ‘I think we did something!’”

On Working In A Studio
Alicia: “My favourite room to work in is my studio in New York, but you know I needed a little change of environment and I wanted to come out to LA and feel a little sunshine and get some energy so I did that and that’s when we got here. We had programmed drums on and then we put a real fly drummer like Trevor [Lawrence Jr.] on there so we can pick and choose what we want and how we want it to feel. We ended up doing four different songs just with drums which is nice because you can just focus, focus, focus… It’s nice to do jam sessions when you’re creating songs, which is what I like to do. When I’m creating a song I like to do whole jam sessions and build it, but when I’m really fine tuning the songs I like to get individual players and myself in so we can get it really tight. So we’re in here, the energy is through the roof and we’re feeling great! Welcome to my world!

You can read the rest of our feature on Alicia Keys in the November 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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