Alicia Keys has lived fast. He started very early, started in a hurry and now, at only 40 years old, he has decided to brake – just a little, a pause – and look in the rear view mirror. A little momentum stop that helps you get some fresh air about your life when, initially and with a bit of luck, you still have a long way to go. That New York girl who fell in love with music thanks to a piano inherited from a neighbor now remembers her beginnings with a reissue of her first and successful album, Songs In A Minor, those 63 minutes with 16 songs of which now, in a whip of time, 20 years have passed.
That is why this has become a year round. Also for a few more milestones: Keys reached the age of 40 in January, a round, thoughtful figure. In addition, a few months ago he published a book, an autobiography, which has been placed on the famous list of the newspaper’s best sellers. The New York Times. And among all this, last year it launched its first namesake products. A skin care line (the one that a few years ago decided not to do more makeup or to do it only with small details) together with a dermatologist that has been a great success, so much so that this spring it has been expanded with three more products.
Keys is celebrating. Maybe for 40 years, but especially for the 20 that have passed since he began to step on the stage. Since a prime-time interview on her now-good friend Oprah Winfrey’s show (the one who now sends her hundreds of roses for her birthday) launched her to stardom, Keys has gone through many phases to become who she is today. . At the past Billboard Awards, when she began the celebrations for all these round figures with a mini-concert, her presentation was given by former first lady Michelle Obama, who described her as a “singular force.”
Little Alicia Augello-Cook grew up in an apartment first in Hell’s Kitchen (south of the city, where her mother rented a subsidized apartment for actors and aspiring actors, like herself) and later in Harlem, on 137th Street. ” In a one-room apartment ”, as Keys herself told a few days ago on Instagram, with a photo of that girl who was looking at the camera with a half smile. “There was so little space that she would sit on the bed and play the keyboard trying to get songs that fit the feelings in her heart,” she wrote about herself in the third person. “She sang in a closet full of blankets in hot New York summers, trying to find her voice and showing those who didn’t believe in her that she could do it, no matter what they said, she could. He could compose, play, sing and produce, and he did it all in a tiny Harlem bedroom. “
The love for music comes to Alicia from her maternal family, with a grandfather who was a radio host (he came to present and even act in radio programs) and a grandmother who was a pianist. His father was out of his life for a long time, but when he entered it, so did his paternal grandmother, as he explains in his 300 pages of biography, More Myself. Her roots and the color of her skin come from her: this black nurse – the only one of her four grandparents who is – married a young Italian in a marriage rare in those racist and segregating America in the middle of the century.
His mother told in a recent interview with the medium Bustle that, since she was a child, the artist was clear about what she wanted, that “at the age of seven she played the piano and at the age of 11 she composed”, and that from the age of nine she was doing small jobs to earn her own money and help in a house where things they were never too buoyant. The singer explains in her memoirs that at the age of eleven she already knew that one day she would dedicate herself to music, to sing. “I have known it internally since I was four years old,” he relates.
That is why he has also learned not only to create, but to sell his creations. Of that Songs In A Minor it put 50,000 copies on the market on the first day and went platinum five times. In total, he has sold 65 million records and won 15 Grammy Awards. He is already on his seventh album and tells, in that same interview in Bustle, that the magic when creating, singing and composing is still there. “I never know exactly what is going to happen. Never. Not when I write a song or when I’m on stage […] Whatever is going to happen will happen, and that magic is something I deeply respect. “
But beyond music, she repeats in interviews that what fills her the most today is being a mother. She has two children, Egypt and Genesis, aged 10 and six, the result of her relationship with rapper Swizz Beatz, whom she married in 2010 in Corsica and whom she has known since her early youth, although then, curiously, she was blinded – and not for the better – at the moment the artist’s glitters and cars and they didn’t get along very well.
This is a moment that you would not like to return to. “I swear, I would never be 20 again even if I got paid. It was the worst stage, literally, “he said in an interview with InStyle a year ago. “I desperately wanted to fit in. I was so blind, I was so dependent on the opinions of others, I was so uncomfortable, so lost … I didn’t even realize that I was building armor and that it was hidden behind me. ” She herself has explained that these difficulties in facing reality – logical for a twenty-year-old not tanned in that world – made her have difficult moments in, for example, photo sessions where they asked her to show more meat than she wanted. “It was not a question of showing skin, which I will do on my own feet for years to come,” he said in his biography. “It was from being manipulated, from feeling like an object. I was more than embarrassed, embarrassed to sell part of myself. ” Even if The New York Times He described her in her early years as “young, gifted and under control”, she assures that at that time she was a foreigner in a strange territory who did not know how to fit the burden she had and that she only sought to “please people”.
“Fame is worse than heroin”, has come to say in an interview with Number. But she doesn’t seem guilty of that addiction. Now what she likes most about glory is that people, when they meet her, tell her that she is just as they thought. In other words, it is very far from being a character. Or, as Michelle Obama said of her on the Billboards, “Alicia is not just an artist.” “She is an advocate for women and families around the world, a social justice leader, wife, mentor, mother, but most of all she is herself, always wise, always hopeful, always Alicia.”