Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys returned to the hip-hop/R&B world as a guest star on Jay-Z’s single “Empire State of Mind.” But little did her fans know, this also marked the beginning of the singer’s return to the Billboard charts.

Now that Keys fourth LP “The Element of Freedom” is in stores, we can expect her typical rendition of classical R&B music.

The humanitarian and actress used producers Swizz Beatz (her actual boyfriend), Kerry Brothers Jr. and Noah “40” Shebib to contribute to some of her songs. Producer and songwriter Kerry Brothers Jr. lent a hand on the highly anticipated single “Doesn’t Mean Anything” which was released to radio airwaves in September 2009. On the track, Keys uses her signature piano playing style and smooth vocals while she lyrically dwells on a break-up, eventually realizing it doesn’t faze her. Her lonely heart continues scream on her second single “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart.” On this track, Keys still wants to reconnect with her old flame but she knows that she will make it through the heartache.

Keys does trade in her piano for an uptempo beat in “Put It In A Love Song.” Pop/RnB superstar Beyoncé lent her vocals to Keys composition. Swizz Beatz takes credit for that collaboration, as well as another song co-produced by Jeff Bhasker.

Born in New York City, Keys adapted to the music scene at an early age. At seven, she took classical training courses to develop her skills. By the age of fourteen, Keys was discovered by manager Jeff Robinson at the Harlem PAL. She continued to hone her craft by performing at tiny clubs and on street corners. Eventually her musical preparation paid off when she decided to pass up a full scholarship to Columbia University in pursuit of a musical career. So far Keys has claimed four Grammy awards for 2005’s “The Diary of Alicia Keys” and five for her first album, “Songs in A Minor.”

On her new album, Keys continues to replicate her signature sound. Her sultry voice and conventional tunes never disappoint her fans. With a combination of soul, classical and pop, Keys reminds us why we keep coming back.

“The Element of Freedom” was released today, Tuesday December 15th.

Written by Alana Ward

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