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Profile: Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys turns 40

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ROBYN BECK/AFP or licensors


Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys turns 40-years-old, Monday (January 25, 2021).

Born Alicia Augello Cook in New York on 25 January 1981, the piano playing-star made her breakthrough debut in 2001, with No.1 single "Fallin", from debut album "Songs in A Minor."

She won her first five Grammy Awards the following year. To date, she has won 15 Grammys and been nominated 29 times.

Other hit songs have included "No One", "My Boo" with Usher, "If I Ain't Got You," and her collaboration with Jay-Z, "Empire State of Mind."

The star released her seventh studio album in September 2020. Titled "ALICIA," the 15-track set was her first album in four years and came months after she published her memoir, "More Myself: A Journey."

The book, released in March 2020, takes readers from Keys' childhood in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan to her current multi-dimensional career and family life with husband-musician Swizz Beatz and two children.

The young Keys dropped out of Columbia University, forgoing a scholarship, to pursue her music career, and signed her first record deal at Columbia Records. But things didn't work out and she eventually parted ways with the label. Later, she signed with Clive Davis and his J Records label imprint through Sony.

Davis, the legendary music executive who made superstars of Whitney Houston and Barry Manilow, personally wrote to Oprah Winfrey about his new signee and asked her to book Keys for her top-rated talk show. After watching Keys perform, she did - and two decades on, the two are firm friends.

Keys also co-founded the organization Keep a Child Alive, supporting children and families affected by HIV, in 2003.