Birthplace: New York City
The classically trained singer and pianist burst onto the music scene in 2001 with the release of her debut album, Songs in A Minor, which soulfully combines elements of R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and blues. Keys wrote and coproduced the recording for Clive Davis's J Records.
Keys graduated from Manhattan's Professional Performance Arts School at age 16 and enrolled in Columbia University. She dropped out in 1998, when she signed with Arista Records, the label established by Davis. Keys joined Davis at his newly formed J Records in 1999. She also performed on the Men in Black and Shaft soundtracks.