One of the brightest stars of the new millennium, Alicia Keys burst on to the scene like a streaking comet in 2001. Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, was released to instant acclaim. Featuring hits like the gospel-drenched “Fallin’,” it earned the newcomer a remarkable five Grammy Awards. “I remember turning to my left and it was Céline Dion and I was like ‘what the hell,’” she recalls of the awards night. “And then to my right it was Bono and I thought, ‘What is going on?’”
Barely out of her teens, Keys dazzled the music world with her soulful voice, classically-inspired piano playing and streetwise beauty. Raised by a single mother in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, she rose to become a powerhouse artist, with album sales of more than 30 million. Married to rapper-producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she now has a son, Keys has been equally applauded for philanthropy, having co-founded the Keep a Child Alive charity, which provides medicine to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Now, to mark the 10th anniversary of Keys’ breakthrough, Songs in A Minor has been reissued in Deluxe and Collector’s Editions. Along with “Fallin’,” her sensuous funk ballad “A Woman’s Work” and her cover of Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me,” the new editions feature a bounty of bonus tracks, including rare live performances and previously unreleased demos like “Typewriter,” recorded in her Harlem apartment in 1997. As early as 16, Keys already sounded like a seasoned pro.