Alicia Keys

Keyed in to her music, not trappings of fame    ·    December 26th, 2003

By Jim Farber | New York Daily News
Posted December 25, 2003

Although singer Alicia Keys has made People magazine’s Most Beautiful list and can command magazine covers, she has kept the focus on her keyboards rather than her body.

At a recent industry showcase to promote her album The Diary of Alicia Keys, in stores now, the singer wore pants, as she often does while performing.

“It’s hard to play in a skirt,” she says.

The music Keys offered at the show avoided modern pop flash in favor of more dignified ’70s soul. Some songs sounded as if they were airlifted out of 1974’s Top 10.

“I definitely feel like I was born in the wrong decade,” says Keys, 22. “I actually think I was performing in the ’70s and was reincarnated now.”

Keys also stays out of the gossip pages, keeping her personal life private.

Even though she has called the new CD Diary, it offers no details. Keys admits only that she has been seeing the same guy for six years and that he’s not in the business. “I couldn’t see myself being with” a star, she says. “I need more separation.”

She’s been on a fast track ever since the summer of 2001, when her debut CD, Songs in A Minor, made an instant impression on listeners and critics.

By appealing to both the hip-hop generation and their parents more prone to old soul, A Minor sold more than 7 million copies and bagged Keys five Grammys, including best song and best new artist.

Keys says she wasn’t apprehensive about living up to the music on her debut: “I had so much to draw on. I probably did more growing up in the last two years than I did in the five years it took me to do my last album.”

Two years ago, Keys said she’d like one day to become a music mogul like her mentor, Clive Davis. Now she has broader ambitions.

“I might run for governor of New York state one day,” she says, not entirely kidding. “I’m a people person, and I know how to bring out the best in people. So, hey, you never know.”

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