Alicia Keys Celebrates 10th Anniversary of 'Songs In A Minor'

Kevin Winter
Alicia Keys at the 2011 BET Awards

The Grammy winner marks the release of her breakthrough debut with a series of intimate concerts and a deluxe edition that includes a documentary on the making of the album.

Alicia Keys celebrated the tenth anniversary of her breakthrough album Songs in A Minor with a series of intimate concerts in Paris (June11), London (June 13), Los Angeles (June 24) and New York (June 30). The performances coincide with a June 28 deluxe reissue of the album, which features special packaging and an enhanced booklet.

A special three-disc collector’s edition also includes a bonus documentary about the making of the album, which came to life after Keys was stonewalled by Columbia Records. Then 20 years old, the label didn’t respond to her brand of contemporary R&B, but even with her confidence crushed, Keys continued to work on her songs, eventually grabbing the ear of Clive Davis, who was starting his own label.

J Records launched with Keys as its marquee artist and “Fallin’” as her debut single. Along with a pivotal endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, the rest, as they say is history. Songs in A Minor went on to win five Grammy Awards and sell 12 million copies.

At Keys’s L.A. show at the Pantages Theater, she joked about the song that catapulted her career, telling the audience midway through her set, “I’m only obligated to play ‘Fallin’ and then I can go home.”

Staying true to the night’s title, “Piano & I: A One Night Only Event,” Keys was accompanied only by her piano and surrounded by candelabras as she ran through her treasure trove of hits, among them: “A Woman’s Worth,” “If I Ain’t Got You,” “You Don’t Know My Name” and her closing number, “No One.”

She also paid homage to some of her influences, including Marvin Gaye, Mary J. Blige and the Beatles, and recognized her home city in tribute with a medley of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” on which Keys delivers the undeniable hook.

In a testament to her diversity as an artist, the sold-out crowd responded in kind, especially with the singer’s parting message, just before launching into “Sure Looks Good to Me.” Said Keys: “This song reminds me to never forget to spreads my wings and fly. Don’t ever be afraid.” 

To that end, Keys will next take on Broadway as a producer for the Lydia R. Diamond play Stick Fly. The production is slated to open on December 8 at New York's Lyceum Theater.