Alicia Keys loves to read, when she has time!
- The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
(literature and fiction, mystery and thrillers)
Q. What first attracted you to Secret Life of Bees?
Alicia Keys: I read the book and I fell in love with the book. I'm a big, big reader, and I just love the way words make me feel and the way they transport me to new worlds. A couple of years later they started to talk about developing it [into a film]. And I was so excited because I just had such good memories about it. The thing that really drew me to it was the fact that it's an individual, unique story. It's set in the '60s. I'm a big fan of period pieces. It has a lot of strength in it. It has a lot of different backgrounds and people that are represented in it. And I love the way that it's just something that's not a common story that's told. It's interesting and heartfelt and unique."
Q. Tell me your favorite books, books that meant something to you, maybe made you look at something in a new way.
- The Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison
(literature and fiction, classics, horror)
Alicia: "One of my favorite books was The Invisible Man. I love that book, and I love the symbolism within it and the way it, while I was reading it, it made me think so much and think about a certain time period in America and how it affected people. "
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
"Another one of my favorite books is Willa Cather's My Antonia. I read that when I was pretty young, and I just remember the visuals that were painted in that book were just so moving to me. As I became more and more into writing, those kind of books made me a better writer because it made me visualize images with the clarity that the person wrote it in. So I was very inspired by the beauty and the poetry of the book. "
- The Temple Of My Familiar by Alice Walker
(literature and fiction)
"I also love Alice Walker, and she wrote a book called The Temple of My Familiar. Oh my gosh. I remember reading that book, and at the end of the book I couldn't believe how one mind could construct such a complex story and made it simple to the point where I got it and fell in love with each character and was moved and connected to every part of the book. I just was so in awe by her talent with that book. So I love to read, and I've always been like that. I love the way it just takes me to so many different worlds."
- We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For by Alice Walker
(literature and fiction, classics)
Q. What are you currently reading right now, if you have time?
Alicia: "Right now I'm actually reading another book by Alice Walker called We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For. It's very interesting. It's almost like a collection of her thoughts and essays and different speeches that she's made through her lifetime, and kind of the way it affects her looking back on them. Very interesting book, and that's the one I'm reading right now."
ALICIA KEYS: The Belle of the Black Ball interview with Kam Williams
- The House On Sugar Beach: In Search Of A Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper
KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asked me to ask you, what was the last book you read?
Alicia: "The last book I read was The House on Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper."
- Song Of The Cuckoo Bird By Amulya Malladi
(literature and fiction)
"... And now I've actually just started a novel, Song of the Cuckoo Bird by Amulya Malladi."
Why should you listen to her?
Nine-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys returns with her long-awaited third studio album, As I Am, set for a worldwide release on November 13 on J Records. Within 10 hours of being serviced to radio, Alicia first single, “No One,” became one of the fastest moving and highest charting single on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. This also marks the highest first single debut for a female artist in 2007 on the R&B Monitor’s Urban Mainstream chart!
“No One” was written and produced by Keys, longtime collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers and Dirty Harry. The Justin Francis/The Saline Project-directed video for “No One” was recently shot in LA and will premiere on national video outlets on September 17.
Her first studio album since the critically-acclaimed 2003’s The Diary of Alicia Keys, Alicia showcases her songwriting and producing talents on all 13 songs on As I Am, but also joins forces on several tracks with her longtime collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, award-winning songwriters Linda Perry, John Mayer, Harold Lilly, Sean Garrett and producers Mark Batson, Dirty Harry, Swizz Beatz and Jack Splash.
One of the few artists who can capture an old-school vibe and make if feel refreshingly new, Alicia tackles this feat once again with an album she describes as “Janis Joplin meets Aretha Franklin.” Punctuated with rich powerful vocals, Alicia’s vocal muses can be felt on songs ranging from the anthemic “Superwoman” and power-charged “Go Ahead” to the misty-eyed ballad “Like You Never See Me Again” and the soulful “Sure Looks Good To Me.”
Tonight on CBS’s Fashion Rocks, Alicia mesmerizes the audience with a soul-stirring performance of “The Thing About Love” from As I Am and joins the incredible Carlos Santana in an amazing duet of “Black Magic Woman.” Keys will also rock the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9 with a national televised debut performance of her new hit single “No One.”
Since the 2001 debut of Songs In A Minor, the New York native has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits and accomplishments with over 20 million albums sold worldwide! Songs In A Minor, which spawned her signature hit “Fallin,” sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and garnered five Grammy Awards including Best New Artist and Best R&B Album. Alicia’s follow-up disc, 2004’s The Diary of Alicia Keys, which is currently 7 times platinum, captured four Grammy Awards and featured the hits “If I Ain’t Got You,” “You Don’t Know My Name,” and “Karma.” With the 2005 release of Unplugged, which has sold 2 million copies, Keys became the first female R&B artist to have three consecutive #1 debuts on the Billboard 200 album chart in as many releases.