7 songs that made Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is arguably one of this generation's biggest musicians. With a career that has spanned over two decades, she's released several iconic tracks, toured the world and worked with fellow music legends including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Bono and Jack White.
This week Alicia performed a spectacular Live Lounge session at Maida Vale Studios. Watch her cover of Billie Eilish's 'everything i wanted' below, and see the performance in full on iPlayer. You can also hear a special extra performance she put together for 1Xtra, alongside an interview with Ace.
As we relive Alicia's Live Lounge set at Maida Vale, we're taking a look back at her career and seven songs that we feel cement her status at the top.
1 | Fallin' (2001)
New York-born Alicia took to the piano aged six. By the time she was 12, the already classically-trained pianist was composing songs of her own. Destined for big things musically, she was signed to Columbia Records at 15 years-old. Having left that deal, Alicia subsequently signed to J Records – headed by former Arista Records boss Clive Jones, famously known for signing and guiding the meteoric rise of a certain Whitney Houston.
Keys released her debut album 'Songs in A Minor' with the breakout debut single 'Fallin'' in 2001, introducing the world to this young vocal powerhouse and spawning countless talent show renditions of this early '00s classic.
2 | You Don't Know My Name (2003)
Following on from the success of her debut album, Alicia took things to another level with the release release of her sophomore album, 'The Diary Of Alicia Keys', at the end of 2003.
'You Don't Know My Name' was the lead single from the album and reached number 19 in the Official Singles Chart. Kanye West produced the track – sampling 1975 hit 'Let Me Prove My Love to You' by the Main Ingredient – and it features the backing vocals from a then unknown John Legend.
The video features Keys as a diner waitress who is crushing on one of her customers – played by rapper Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey.
3 | If I Ain't Got You (2004)
Another track from ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’ that has gone on to be a R&B classic is the 2004-released love song, ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. Rumoured to be inspired by the untimely 2001 death of singer Aaliyah and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the song aims to show that love is more important than material things.
Keys won a 2005 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
4 | No One (2007)
Fast-forward four years after the release of ‘Diary…’ and Alicia releases her third studio album, ‘As I Am’. ‘No One’ was the lead single from the album, released in the latter part of 2007. A classic soul song, the song showcased Keys' almost unparalleled vocal range.
The song won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008.
5 | Superwoman (2008)
The fourth and final single to be released from the ‘As I Am’ album was ‘Superwoman’. The song is an ode to the many roles of women and the innate strength they exude.
Such was the critical success of the song, it led Keys to winning her second consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 2009 awards.
6 | Empire State of Mind Pt II (2010)
Following the critical success of Jay-Z’s anthemic classic of the song – which featured Alicia – she went on to record a solo version of the song in 2010.
Stripped back and showcasing her skills as a pianist and vocalist, the intimate reversion gave a different but equally inspiring interpretation of her hometown.
7 | In Common (2016)
Taken from her sixth studio album, ‘Here’, ‘In Common’ was a departure from her classic R&B sound – instead opting for a fusion of dancehall, Afrobeat and Latin sounds.
‘Here’ was Alicia’s first album in four years after she took a break after the success of her fifth album, ‘Girl On Fire’, released in 2012.