Alicia Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, made a significant impact upon its release in the summer of 2001, catapulting the young singer/songwriter to the front of the neo-soul pack. Critics and audiences were captivated by a 19-year-old singer whose taste and influences ran back further than her years, encompassing everything from Prince to smooth '70s soul, even a little Billie Holiday. In retrospect, it was the idea of Alicia Keys that was as attractive as the record, since soul fans were hungering for a singer/songwriter who seemed part of the tradition without being as spacy as Macy Gray or as hippie mystic as Erykah Badu while being more reliable than Lauryn Hill. Keys was all that, and she had style to spare – elegant, sexy style accentuated by how she never oversang, giving the music a richer feel. It was rich enough to compensate for some thinness in the writing – though it was a big hit, "Fallin'" doesn't have much body to it – which is a testament to Keys' skills as a musician.
Unplugged is the first live album (third overall) by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was recorded as part of the television program MTV Unplugged on July 4, 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York City, and released in the United States on October 11, 2005 by J Records, including songs from her multi-platinum albums Songs in A Minor and The Diary of Alicia Keys. The album debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart at number one, with first-week sales of 196,000 copies in the U.S. and over 245,000 copies worldwide—the highest debut for an MTV Unplugged album since Nirvana's 1994 MTV Unplugged in New York and the first Unplugged by a female artist to debut at number one. The album has sold over one million copies in the United States and over 2.5 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it received four nominations for the 2006 Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album.
The Element of Freedom is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys, released on December 11, 2009, by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during May to September 2009 at The Oven Studios in Long Island, New York. Production was handled by Keys, Jeff Bhasker, Swizz Beatz, Noah "40" Shebib, Toby Gad and Kerry "Krucial" Brothers. Departing from the classicist soul music of Keys' previous albums, The Element of Freedom has a mid-tempo, low-key sound and features mostly ballads.
As I Am is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys. It was released on November 9, 2007 by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording studios during 2005 to 2007. Production was handled primarily by Keys, Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Jack Splash, and Linda Perry, with a guest contribution from musician John Mayer.
The Diary of Alicia Keys is the second studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was released in the United States on December 2, 2003 by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2002 to 2003 at various recording studios, and production was handled primarily by Keys with contributions from Kerry Brothers, Jr., Timbaland, Dwayne Wiggins, Dre & Vidal, Easy Mo Bee and Kanye West.
Songs in A Minor is the debut studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was released in the United States on June 5, 2001 by J Records. After graduating from high school, Keys signed with Columbia Records to begin her music career. She recorded an album in 1998 under the label, which they rejected. Her contract subsequently ended with Columbia after a dispute with the label, and Keys later signed with Clive Davis. An accomplished, classically trained pianist, Keys wrote, arranged and produced a majority of the album, including "Jane Doe", which was the only song in the key of A minor.
Girl on Fire is the fifth studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys. The album, which was released on November 22, 2012, is Keys' first release with RCA Records following Sony Music Entertainment's decision to close J Records during a company reshuffle. Girl on Fire was conceived shortly after Keys' marriage to record producer and rapper Swizz Beatz as well as the birth of her first child, Egypt. It is an R&B album with a mixture of conventional genre songs and piano ballads, some of which touch on Keys' marriage and motherhood.
First aired ten days prior to the release of Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys' VH1 Storytellers program featured six songs. While this set expands the set to 11 songs, it does not present the full performance. Heavy editing was involved; certain portions of Keys' dialogue re hacked up, crowd noise is unnaturally lowered and raised in volume, and there is little evident effort to make the songs flow. Keys' first words here, the lead-in to "No One," are "We were at the end of the album, and it was finished, and…" – so it provokes the feeling of walking into the venue as the gig is in progress. Furthermore, much of her intro to the following "Brand New Me" was cut. For all its choppiness, VH1 Storytellers is enjoyably off-the-cuff…