Real name: Alicia Augello Cook
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
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Alicia Keys (born Alicia J. Augello-Cook on January 25, 1980) is an American R&B and soul singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, philanthropist, and author who has sold over twenty million albums worldwide and has won numerous awards, including nine Grammy Awards, eleven Billboard Music Awards, and three American Music Awards.
Keys is the only child born to an Irish-Italian mother, Teresa "Terri" Augello (a paralegal and part-time actress), and a Jamaican father, Craig Cook (a flight attendant), in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, New York.
Keys followed up her debut with The Diary of Alicia Keys, released on December 2, 2003. The album was hailed by critics and debuted at number one in the U.S., selling over 618,000 copies its first week of release, the sixth highest album sales by a female and second by R&B female. To date, it has sold eight million copies worldwide. The singles "You Don't Know My Name" and "If I Ain't Got You" both reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and another single, "Diary", entered the top ten. The classical/hip hop-flavored "Karma" was less successful, peaking at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 but more successful on Top 40 Mainstream peaking at number three. "If I Ain't Got You" became the first single by a female artist to remain on the sixty-three-year-old Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for more than one year, surpassing Mary J. Blige's "Your Child" (forty-nine weeks). Keys went on to become the best-selling female R&B artist of 2004.
At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, Keys won "Best R&B Video" for "If I Ain't Got You" and also led Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder in their version of Wonder's "Higher Ground". Also the following year in 2005, she won "Best R&B Video" in her second year in a row for "Karma". At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she performed the album's second single, "If I Ain't Got You", and then joined Jamie Foxx and Quincy Jones in a rendition of "Georgia on My Mind", the Hoagy Carmichael song made famous by Ray Charles. That evening, she won four Grammy Awards: "Best R&B Album" for The Diary of Alicia Keys, "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" for "If I Ain't Got You", "Best R&B Song" for "You Don't Know My Name", and "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for "My Boo" with Usher. She was also nominated for "Album of the Year" for The Diary of Alicia Keys, "Song of the Year" for "If I Ain't Got You", "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for "Diary" (featuring Tony! Toni! Toné!), and "Best R&B Song" for "My Boo".
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.