Alicia Keys is a singer, songwriter, and actress who was born in New York City on January 25, 1981. Although she began writing music at the age of just 12, she did not officially begin her music career until she was 15 in 1996 and was signed by Columbia Records. However, Keys was in dispute with the label and did not release any music with them. She went on to sign with Arista Records, with whom she released her 2001 debut album, ‘Songs in A Minor,’ under the subsidiary label J Records. Throughout her career, Alicia Keys has received critical acclaim and has won several awards, including multiple Grammy Awards. In total, she has sold more than 9- million records worldwide, which means she is one of the world’s best-selling music artists. During her time as a singer and songwriter, Alicia Keys has released seven studio albums, two live albums, one remix album, four reissue albums, one EP, seven box sets,45 singles, and six promotional singles. Here are the Alicia Keys studio albums ranked.
7. Alicia (2020)
The most recent album released by Alicia Keys is ‘Alicia,’ although she has another album scheduled for release in December 2021. In the United States, this album reached number four on the album charts. A notable difference between ‘Alicia’ to Keys’ other albums is the extent to which she has collaborated with other artists, as her previous albums are predominantly her own work. The album features production and songwriting contributions from Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, The-Dream, Swiss Beatz, and Johnny McDaid. There are also vocal contributions on several tracks, from artists including Diamond Platnumz, Jill Scott, Tierra Whack, Sampha, and Snoh Aalegra.
6. Here (2016)
On many of the tracks on ‘Here,’ which was Alicia Keys’ sixth studio album, she breaks away from the traditional structure of songwriting. For example, ‘The Gospel’ does not have a chorus, and there is a jam session in the middle of ‘She Don’t Really Care’ that separates the differing styles of the beginning and end sections of the song. Keys also uses both personal experiences and political themes in the lyrics to the tracks on this album. ‘Here’ was most successful in the United States, where it ranked at number two on the album charts.
5. The Element of Freedom (2009)
‘The Element of Freedom’ was Alicia Keys’ fourth studio album. According to The Guardian, almost every track on this album is about the ups and downs of love. When she wrote this album, Alicia Keys was suffering from depression and struggled with the challenges of songwriting during that period. Nonetheless, the style of the album is confident, although there is nothing groundbreaking about the tracks. It topped the charts in the UK and Switzerland and peaked at number two on the US album chart. The lead single from the album was ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything.’ Three further singles were released from the album, including a duet with Beyoncé titled ‘Put It in a Love Song.’
4. Girl on Fire (2012)
‘Girl on Fire’ is the fifth album by Alicia Keys, and it topped the United States chart. It was also a top ten album in countries including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The title song and lead single from the album peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart. Three versions of the song were included on the album, including the original, an ‘Inferno’ version featuring Nicki Minaj, and a stripped-back ‘Bluelight’ remix. Other singles released from this album were ‘Brand New Me,’ ‘New Day,’ ‘Fire We Make,’ and ‘Tears Always Win.’
3. As I Am (2007)
Alicia Keys’ third studio album was ‘As I Am,’ which was released in 2007. It topped the charts in the United States and Switzerland and was a top ten hit in countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. The album was certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA, it sold more than five million copies worldwide, and it won Keys three Grammy Awards. The singer began working on this album in 2005 and predominantly features contemporary soul and R&B tracks.
2. The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)
Slant Magazine rates ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’ as one of the best Alicia Keys albums. It combines a contemporary style with retro soul to create the style that became known as neo-soul. The tempo of the album varies from one track to the next, with the first two tracks showcasing a horn-infused club style that then leads into tracks in a style that is more typically associated with Alicia Keys. ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’ was the singer’s second studio album, and it topped the album charts in the United States and Switzerland. The four singles released from this album were ‘You Don’t Know My Name,’ ’If I Ain’t Got you,’ ‘Diary,’ and ‘Karma.’ While the first three singles were top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘Karma’ peaked at only 20.
1. Songs in A Minor (2001)
With regards to commercial success, Alicia Keys’ most successful studio album was her debut album, ‘Songs in A Minor,’ which was released in 2001. It sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and 7.5 million copies in the United States alone. For this album, Alicia Keys won five Grammy Awards. ‘Songs in A Minor’ topped the album charts in the United States and the Netherlands. It was also a top ten hit in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the UK. Four singles were released from this album, starting with the lead album ‘Fallin’,’ which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and became the most played song in the United States at the time. The other singles released from this album were ‘A Woman’s Worth,’ How Come You Don’t Call Me,’ and ‘Girlfriend.’ On this album, Keys combined contemporary style with a retrospective musical theme. Keys was praised for both her vocal abilities and her talent as a songwriter.