Legendary Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys certainly has made a name for herself in the world of music in the past two decades. Aside from being nominated for 29 Grammys (and winning 15 of them!), she also has sold over 90 million records worldwide and secured a spot on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. Oh, did we also mention she hosted the 61st Grammy Awards Show?
On the heels of the release of her new double album, "Keys" — out now — the New York native is taking the stage on the TODAY Plaza on Tuesday, Dec. 14. To celebrate, we rounded up some of Alicia Keys' best songs, from classic love songs to soaring piano ballads and, yes, the iconic New York anthem "Empire State of Mind." Happy listening.
Perhaps one of Alicia Keys' most popular hits off her album "The Diary of Alicia Keys," this song comes in at Keys' most-streamed song, with 621,899,429 streams on Spotify alone. "If I Ain't Got You" is a power ballad dedicated to love — but has another surprising and more specific significance as well.
She reportedly wrote this song in response to the attacks on 9/11, and later, the untimely death of R&B artist Aaliyah. "It was such a sad time and no one wanted to believe it. It just made everything crystal clear to me—what matters, and what doesn’t,” Keys said.
A feminist power anthem off her album "As I Am," this song encourages women to embrace the perfection in their imperfection — a common theme for Keys throughout her albums.
If you've ever walked through a grocery store, a mall or any public place for that matter, you've probably heard this song. This is Keys' second most-streamed track, coming in at 560,454,627 streams on Spotify, and one of her most recognizable hits to date. It also won the 2008 Grammy for best R&B song and best female R&B vocal performance.
This 2014 tune from Keys was dedicated to peace and love in the face of war and hatred. This song addresses specific issues that the world was facing when the song was released about eight years ago, and serves as a reminder for the public of why we are here on Earth: to make a difference and do our part.
When Keys released this second single off her 2012 album "Girl on Fire," she debuted a new hairstyle to go with it, marking a style change for her in accompaniment with her new music. This song represents that ability to evolve and grow into a new you, as Keys feels she did before the song's release.
This song is on the slower and more sensual side of Alicia's discography and is equally as good as so many of her other songs. This track features R&B singer Miguel, who adds some passionate vocals and really sets the tone for this heartfelt hit.
As the most popular song from her 2012 album aptly titled "Girl on Fire," this hit single still serves as a girl-power anthem. With its catchy chorus and empowering lyrics, it's no wonder this song has over 371,235,471 streams to date on Spotify alone.
This is what it sounds like: a song about rising above adversity and proving yourself, even if you're an "underdog." Keys definitely has an ongoing theme of female empowerment on her tracks, and "Underdog" is no exception.
This song off Keys' album "As I Am" from 2007 highlights what it feels like to experience teenage love. She does a great job of highlighting the stresses of dating as a teen: You're stressing out about when your special someone is going to call you back, you're writing letters back and forth to them, talking about going to ~third base~... all while serving up a catchy beat and melody.
You might remember this song circulating the radio back in 2009 when it was released by rapper Jay-Z, featuring Keys on the track singing the chorus. Since then, it has practically become a staple song in the arsenal for every commercial, movie, ad, etc. that features New York.
But this solo version from Keys breaks the song down with less production so she can go into more detail about what she loves most about New York City.
This was the very first single off her 2001 debut album "Songs in A Minor." It went on to win four Grammy awards, and to this day is one of Keys' most popular hits, thanks to her relatable lyrics about falling for someone who might not be good for you.
This 2007 song, which has melodies inspired by Prince's legendary hit "Purple Rain," is about being present in relationships, and keeping yourself grounded. "I don't want to forget the present is a gift," she sings.
We've pretty much all been there: not being able to sleep after loss or heartbreak. This track off her fourth album "The Element of Freedom" chronicles the timeline of that pain with a catchy chorus and relatable lyrics.
This 2008 love song addresses what it's like to be in a relationship that might not work out because of differences between partners. "If we did the unthinkable, would it make us look crazy?" Keys asks in her lyrics. With the help of fellow artist Drake, this song really took off and became a staple in the collection of Keys' love songs.
Following the theme of female empowerment, this record written and produced by Keys in 2002 was one of her first songs to ever be released. She explains in this sultry track that "real men can't deny a woman's worth," and highlights how important it is for women to understand what they deserve and how they should be treated in relationships.