A wunderkind to end all, multi-talented singer/songwriter Alicia Keys burst onto the scene in 2001 with her debut album, Songs in A Minor, recorded for Clive Davis' J Records and released at the tender age of 20. In the process, Keys impacted the music world indelibly -- offering a defiantly individualistic co-mingling of soul, funk, jazz, blues, and rock topped off by her signature confessional ballad, "Fallin'." Songs sold over 50,000 copies in its first day; a follow-up, the 2003 Diary of Alicia Keys, performed equally well and wowed critics. For the two efforts, Keys won a total of nine Grammy awards.
Born in Harlem, Keys was reportedly tagged as a musical genius from the age of five, and attended Manhattan's Professional Performance Arts School. She graduated from high school early, at age 16, but a brief stint at Columbia University left her dissatisfied, and she soon hearkened off to greener pastures, offered a prestigious record contract by Davis.