One thing the Big Apple is famous for, apart from the Yankee Stadium and the ubiquitous yellow taxi, is the amazing music scene. Apart from perhaps Tennessee or Seattle, there is no other place that is more entwined in the great music tradition of the USA, staring with the likes of Cab Calloway in the 50's right up to Jay Z today. It has been at the epicentre of a great movement, which came out of neighbourhoods like Harlem and the Lower East Side.
It follows then that New Yorkers have a special place in their heart for one of their own, and one lady who is held in particularly high esteem is the songbird Alicia Keys. Keys was born in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan and even as a child it was clear she was different. By the age of 14 she had mastered the piano to an extremely high level and could play the works of Beethoven and Chopin. When the schoolgirl from Hell's Kitchen grew up, her R&B style was perfect for the mainstream USA charts and there was great interest to sign her to a major label. She was eventually signed to Columbia Records in 1995.
Peter Edge, who worked with the singer during her early career working as part of Arista Records said: "I had never met a young R&B artist with that level of musicianship. So many people were just singing on top of loops and tracks, but she had the ability, not only to be part of hip-hop, but also to go way beyond that." The combination of her powerful vocals and soulful lyrics speaking about real life and heartache proved very marketable, and she has gone on to sell over 35 million albums and another 30 million singles across the Globe.
Now the native New Yorker is coming back to the place she calls home. And how can anyone deny Alicia Keys a ticker tape parade for her return, after she eulogised about her home city in her song with Jay Z, entitled Empire State of Mind. Keys will be performing at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on the 5th of April. You can get your tickets here: