Alicia Keys

‘I’d rather be called smart than sexy’    ·    November 25th, 2008

OUL SINGER ALICIA Keys sang the latest Bond film theme tune, Another Way To Die, for Quantum Of Solace, as a duet with Jack White. Keys, 28, has sold more than 20 million records and has won 11 Grammy Awards, but is also a successful actress …

she will soon be starring in the new film ‘The Secret Life Of Bees,’ with Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Paul Bettany. She is a committed charity campaigner, doing extensive work for Keep A Child Alive, which provides antiviral drugs for families suffering from Aids in Africa.

What were your dreams as a child?

I always wanted to be a star. I’d stand in front of a mirror with a brush as a microphone and sing. I would dream of performing on stage. I said to myself: “One day people will sing my songs”  and that has happened.

Was there a moment when you realised you were famous?

I felt I had made it when I was on Oprah. I said ‘Wow, this is weird,’ because I had watched that show so often from my couch.

What has been your greatest challenge?

To maintain my personal life and my career. I’ve never been one to go to the ‘It’ restaurants and do the ‘It’ things.

What has been your greatest moment of desperation?

I had a tough time touring for my last album. My grandmother died and we were so close, I broke down. But you have to break down to build back up, to realise something had to change. No one’s perfect — you can’t be. I needed a break, so I went on vacation to Egypt, which inspired me musically and as an artist and a person. That trip was the most crucial thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Rich and famous or poor and anonymous?

Fame is double-edged and having a private life is tough, but I love my work and I am blessed to get paid well. Fame enables me to reach a large group of people — to say something good and do positive things in the world. I appreciate what I have because I didn’t have a lot growing up; my mother worked very hard. She was raising a girl single handedly in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, trying to make ends meet. I am very secure in myself and don’t feel I have to put on any airs in terms of possessions. I don’t need to impress anyone with money or lifestyle. I am who I am with everyone.

What is your biggest extravagance?

I love clothes and I can’t resist shoes with very high heels — Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Sergio Rossi, Giuseppe Zanotti. I do love dressing up. But I saw a cream cashmere V-neck sweater that I liked in a store the other day — for $700. I could afford it, but I would be uncomfortable spending so much when there’s so much poverty and so many struggles in the world.

What would surprise us about you?

How normal I am. People often think I am a diva, but I am so regular that when I walk along the street, most people think I’m an Alicia Keys lookalike. I am a very low-key lady living a very normal life, and I like it like that. I’m not going to pull up in a Rolls-Royce and have 17 people hop out of the car with me and necklaces dripping, that’s not really my thing.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Oprah and Barack Obama.

Who are you more like, your mother or father?

A mixture — both my parents have been big influences. My mother is Irish-Italian and my father African — I have the tastebuds of an Italian and the spice of an African. My mom is my rock. She had to be superwoman when I was growing up and she taught me not to quit. She taught me to honour myself, because no one will honour or respect me if I don’t respect myself.

Are you spiritual?

Spirituality is at the centre of my life. Music is the closest to God that we can get, it’s God’s gift to humanity. I believe that music has a mystical dimension because when I meet people from all over the world we can connect through music. It’s like a common language.

What is it like being a sex symbol?

That’s just an opinion. I would rather be called smart than sexy. As long as I’m beautiful on the inside that’s the kind of beauty I want.

Congratulations to ALicia for wining two AMA on sunday night. She looked Great and she closed the show performing superwoman with Queen Latifah and an Opera singer.

Alicia Keys went for elegance with a touch of sparkle in an Armani Prive navy gown. watch the video of Alicia at AMA here.

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