Alicia Keys first-ever Christmas album is finally here!
Back in the day, I was a music buyer for a large chain of music stores, and I had a good relationship with music mogul, Clive Davis. So, his record label often shared new music with me very early before the actual release dates. If I was able to spend time with the music and loved it, I would be more likely to place a huge order for my stores.
It was 2001 and I was given an album from a brand-new artist named Alicia Keys. I was told that she was a singer, a song writer, a classically trained pianist, and she was also composing songs at the age of twelve. At fifteen she signed her first recording contract, but Alicia did not fit into any specific genre of music that was popular at the time so the label wanted her to re-work some of her music to fit in with what was currently being played on the radio.
Alicia was unique and she already had a vision for her music and career, and it did not include changing anything.
She was able to get out of her contract and to look for the perfect label to release her music. At the time, Clive Davis was the head of Arista Records which was a label that he founded in 1974. Clive signed many important artists and super-stars to Arista, but there was one that became iconic and that was Whitney Houston. She went on to becomes one of the BIGGEST pop stars of all-time.
It was 1998 and a seventeen-year-old, Alicia Keys found her way to a meeting in the office of Clive Davis. She performed for Clive and was signed to Arista Records.
Alicia felt that she finally found the man and the label who understood her as an artist, her music, and the career she envisioned for herself.
The majority of record labels looked for artists that had clear radio hits. Clive was blown away by the talent and artistry of Alicia Keys. He felt that even though Alicia was different from everything on the radio at the time, that radio would be driven by her profound talent and potential popularity to give her radio airplay (and as usual Clive was right)
Clive was known for finding distinctively unique talent and Alicia seemed to have it all, including wholesome beautiful looks.
In 2000, Clive founded another new record label that he named “J Records” after the first letter of his middle name, which is “Jay.” Alicia followed Clive to his new label where everything would start moving towards the launch of her debut album.
Of course, Clive always knew which tastemakers to give his new music to. So, he gave Alicia’s album to a few influential music store buyers, critics, and radio programmers. He also had listening events to preview her music and talent. Clive also gave her album to the most popular talk show host on the planet, Oprah Winfrey. The power and push of the Oprah Winfrey Show was a game-changer for a new artist, for authors, actors, films , books, and any product that she decided to mention.
Upon hearing Alicia’s song, Fallin’ Oprah produced an entire show to highlight “Women Who Sing”. That legendary episode featured Jill Scott and India Arie who were emerging as the hottest new neo-soul singers and songwriters at the time. The show also featured one new artist that would be releasing her debut album the following week….ALICIA KEYS! After the Oprah episode aired all of the ladies experienced astronomical sales. And since Alicia was new, everyone was waiting anxiously to purchase her first album on June 5, 2001.
Alicia Keys and J Records soared to the top of the charts with their inaugural release of “Songs In A Minor.”
Alicia was a prodigy that sang, wrote, arranged, and produced all of her music. There was only one song on the album that Alicia did not write, and it was penned by none other than Prince.
The album “Songs In A Minor” debuted at number one and within three weeks the album was certified as triple platinum for sales of over three million copies. The album has now sold over twelve million copies and was certified as a “Diamond” release when ten million copies were sold.
“Songs in A Minor” has also been added to the National Recording Registry. It qualifies to be preserved for all-time based on its “cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.”
Once again, with the release of Alicia Keys, Clive Davis changed the course of music and opened the door for more unique and soulful singer songwriters who could also play instruments. The artist H.E.R. has said that Alicia Keys is an inspiration to her own music and career.
Alicia Keys blended soul with classical music and she defied all odds and genres to become Clive Davis’s next Superstar.
Alicia Keys helped to propel J Records into the stratosphere and Clive Davis and his “J Records” was just what Alicia Keys needed to sky-rocket her career in record time.
I was fortunate and privileged to have a front row seat to the launch and explosion of her career. Her first eight albums have collectively sold more than 65 million copies. Alicia has also won numerous awards to include 15 Grammys.
Today Alicia Keys is releasing her ninth album and one that is long over-due……
Her first ever holiday album, “Santa Baby”.
The album was recorded while Alicia was on her sold-out European tour over the summer. The album features seven reimagined holiday classics, as well as four brand new original songs that she wrote.
Here is what Alicia had to say about “Santa Baby”
“I picked each song based on my all-time favorites and I wrote the new ones based on real holiday emotions and stories. The holidays are such a beautiful time to slow down, be with the ones you love and make meaning! Santa Baby is definitely going to be the perfect holiday soundtrack. I can’t wait for you to fall in love with it.“Keys
As the days get shorter and the cold weather comes creeping’ in, I can’t think of a better album to set the holiday mood and to cozy up with.
I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS and I LOVE ALICIA KEYS so along with many of you I will pick up my copy here today.
And now through the holidays you can pick up all of Alicia Key’s music and videos and get them on sale.
In fact, feel free to load up on all your own favorites and those perfect gifts for the loved ones in your life because ………EVERYTHING is ON SALE!!!
Don’t forget to sign up on their mailing list to receive even more discounts and special sale offers all year round.