Keys was raised by her mother, Nikki Augello, a part-time actress and paralegal. Keys began piano lessons at age 7 and Augello's dogged insistence that her daughter stick with the instrument led Keys to attend Manhattan's prestigious Professional Performance Arts School where she majored in choir. She excelled academically and was allowed to graduate at the age of 16. Keys had already attracted the attention of record company executives during her high school years, and after what amounted to a bidding war for her talents, she signed with Arista Records in 1998.
Keys has, in fact, shown that she possesses a great interest in music since her very childhood. During which she, at seven years old, had begun playing piano and learned classical music by classy composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin, all of whom are her favorites. When she was fourteen years old, Keys wrote her first song "Butterflyz" which was included on her debut album "Songs in A Minor", released on August 19, 2001. This first album was commercially a success, with one of its singles entitled "Fallin'" sitting at #1 in U.S. charts and #3 in U.K. charts. It also won five Grammy Awards in 2002.
she signed with Arista Records, and wrote, produced and recorded her own albums. In 1999, she left Arista to join J Records, headed by legendary music impresario Clive Davis, and her success has been meteoric. Her 2001 debut album, "Songs in A Minor," sold six million copies and garnered five Grammys. Her album "Diary" won her four more Grammys in 2005.