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Saturday, May 5, 2001

Alicia Keys charted with “Fallin’”: May 5, 2001

Originally posted May 5, 2012.

image from Billboard.com

Alicia Keys grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan with her mother. She has said her mother was the inspiration for the song “Fallin’”, about caring deeply about a person who one loves very much, but drives one crazy at times. SF Musically the song revealed Keys’ roots playing classical piano; it opens with a piece taken from Chopin. SF

She landed a record deal with Columbia Records which fell through SF but then Arista Records executive Clive Davis saw her perform. He kicked off his new company, J Records, with Keys at the forefront. He wrote a personal letter to Oprah Winfrey landing Keys a gig on The Oprah Winfrey Show before the album had even come out. SF

There proved to be an audience. She fit into the neo-soul genre “without being as spacy as Macy Gray or as hippie mystic as Erykah Badu while being more reliable than Lauryn Hill.” AMG “Fallin’” “is a testament to Keys’ skills as a musician;” AMG it “was rich enough to compensate for some thinness in the writing” AMG and has become her signature song. WK It was an “aching piano ballad” TB which made Keys “an instant heartthrob and a household name in record time.” TB Entertainment Weekly’s Beth Johnson described the song as “gospel fervor of lovesick righteousness.” WK PopMatters.com’s Mark Anthony Neal said it combined “Keys’ natural blues register with a subtle, and brilliantly so, sample of James Brown’s ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.’” WK

The song cleaned up at the Grammys nabbing awards for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Vocal Performance. She also took home the prizes for Best New Artist and Best R&B Album. MTV gave her the award for Best New Artist in a Video.

Fallin’


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