Alicia Keys was born January 25, 1981 in New York City. By the time she turned 30, the singer-songwriter had sold more than 30 million albums to become one of the best-selling artists of all-time. Performing a blend of soul, R&B, hip hop, and jazz, Keys has released a slew of highly successful albums. Her first collection of songs, Songs in A Minor, was released in 2001 and went on to sell more than 12 million copies. It also earned her five Grammy awards.
The drop-dead gorgeous singer followed that with The Diary of Alicia Keys, released in 2003. For that work she collaborated with Kanye West, Timbaland, and Kerry Brothers. Like her first release, The Diary of Alicia Keys debuted at number one. Her third album came out in 2007 and is titled As I Am. Once again Keys released an album that debuted at number one—it was eventually certified tripled platinum—and earned herself another three Grammy Awards. Guitarist John Mayer produced, composed, and played on the track "Lesson Learned."
For her fourth studio work, Keys slowed down, literally. The Element of Sound dropped in December of 2009 and contains mostly ballads and medium tempo songs. Unlike her previous releases, The Element of Freedom debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. The work never reached the top spot in the United States but it was her first number one in the U.K. While the least successful of her first four albums, it did receive rave reviews.
In 2005, Keys released her first live opus, Unplugged. It was recorded on the Fourth of July in 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the MTV program of the same name. For the concert, she performed songs from her first two albums. Her effort debuted at number one; it was the first live record to do so since Nirvana's 1994 Unplugged album.
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Keys embarked several successful concert tours.
Three of these outings saw the singer play at least 50 Alicia Keys concerts. Her 2008 trek, "As I Am Tour," featured 94 stops including 41 in Europe. In late spring and early summer of 2011, Keys launched her exclusive "Piano & I: A One Night Only Event." Alicia Keys tickets were sold to just four cities: Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York City. That last location hosted two Alicia Keys shows. The show was a critical success and saw the pianist delight fans with an amazing 26-song setlist. As of the end of 2011, Keys has three number one singles to her name: "Fallin," "My Boo (With Usher)," and "No One."