Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American singer and songwriter. A classically trained pianist, Keys started composing songs when she was 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records. After disputes with the label, she signed with Arista Records and soon released her debut album, Songs in A Minor with J Records in 2001. The album became a critical and commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. It contained the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Fallin'", and earned Keys an unprecedented five Grammy Awards in 2002. Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), was also a critical and commercial success, selling eight million copies worldwide and spawning the singles "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", and "Diary". The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards.In 2004, her duet with singer Usher titled "My Boo" became her second number-one single. Keys released her first live album, Unplugged (2005), and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one. Her third album, As I Am (2007), sold seven million copies worldwide and produced the Hot 100 number-one single "No One". In 2007, Keys made her film debut in the action-thriller film Smokin' Aces and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, with the single "Another Way to Die" (with Jack White) a year later. Her fourth album, The Element of Freedom (2009), became her first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom, and sold four million copies worldwide. The album included the hit singles "Doesn't Mean Anything", "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart", "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)". Keys's collaboration with Jay-Z on his 2009 single "Empire State of Mind", became her fourth number-one single in the United States. Her fifth album Girl on Fire (2012), became her fourth non-consecutive Billboard 200 topping album, and included the successful title track, while her sixth studio album, Here (2016), peaked at number 2. Her seventh and eighth studio albums, Alicia (2020) and Keys (2021), spawned the singles "Show Me Love" (featuring Miguel), "Underdog", "Lala" and "Best of Me". In 2022, she released her ninth studio album Santa Baby, which was also her first independent album.
Keys has sold over 90 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling music artists. She was named by Billboard as the R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Decade (2000s); and placed tenth on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. She has received numerous accolades in her career, including 15 Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 12 ASCAP Awards, and an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association. VH1 included her on their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 100 Greatest Women in Music lists, while Time has named her in their 100 list of most influential people in 2005 and 2017. Keys is also acclaimed for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism, e.g. being awarded Ambassador of Conscience by Amnesty International; she co-founded and serves as the Global Ambassador of the nonprofit HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Keep a Child Alive.