Happy birthday today to Alicia Keys! The R&B singer first stormed the music scene in 2001 when she released her debut album, Songs in A Minor. With that album, Keys cemented her spot as a singer-songwriter, selling over 12 million copies worldwide.
Not only that, but she earned five grammies for the album, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for her heartbreak song "Fallin'." With her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, the now-35-year-old also did well, selling 8 million copies worldwide. And, her success as an artist is no wonder, considering Keys's soulful voice and hit-you-right-there lyrics.
This year the 15-time Grammy Award-winner announced her 7th studio album “Alicia" and a world tour called "Alicia — The World Tour” The announcement comes just five days before Keys is set to host Sunday’s 62nd annual Grammy Awards telecast on CBS for the second consecutive year.
Check out 10 things you probably didn't know about Alicia Keys.
Number Ten: She Created Her Own App.
The app is called The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee, and it tells the story of a little girl and her relationship with her mother while living in New York City. The app was actually inspired by Keys’ own relationship with her grandmother.
Number Nine: She Has Superstar Fans.
One of Keys’ most notable fans is Bob Dylan. Dylan has said, “There’s nothing about Alicia Keys I don’t like.” Dylan has even mentioned her in one of his songs, titled “Thunder on the Mountain.”
Number Eight: Her MTV Unplugged Debuted at Number One.
Though the fact that one of her albums debuted at number one is not very surprising in and of itself, what is surprising is that the album to do so was her live album. She was the first female artist to have such a successful unplugged album.
Number Seven: She Adopted an African Village.
Keys has long been a supporter of HIV and AIDS research in Africa, and to fully show her support, she adopted a village. She adopted the village of Soweto, located in South Africa, and she and her husband have been involved with the village’s development.
Number Six: She Has Her Own Shoe Line.
Keys grew up wearing Reebok 5411s, so she ended up partnering with Reebok in 2012. Her husband, Swizz Beatz, has also worked with Reebok.
Number Five: She Was Childhood Friends With Beyonce.
It’s true! Keys and Beyonce have known each other since they were just teenagers. They both signed with Sony, so they have even shared the stage.
Number Four: She Was Married by Deepak Chopra.
Rather than hire a standard priest, Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz asked Deepak Chopra to preside over their wedding.
Number Three: She Was the Best-Selling R&B Artist of 2001.
Keys’ debut album, Songs in A Minor, sold 12 million copies and earned her the title of best-selling R&B artist of 2001. She also received five Grammy awards for the album.
Number Two: She Was Almost Alicia Wilde.
Keys wanted to call herself Alicia Wilde, but her manager apparently had a dream that she should name herself Alicia Keys because it represented her as a person and a performer, so she went with that.
Number One: She Began Writing Songs at a Very Young Age.
Keys was just 14 years old when she began writing music. She first started studying music when she was seven years old, and she enrolled in the Professional Performing Arts School when she was 12 years old. She graduated as valedictorian of her class when she was 16 years old.