Alicia Keys to set arena on fire

Updated: 2013-11-17 07:14

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Alicia Keys will perform her one and only concert on the Chinese mainland on her Set the World on Fire tour, at Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena on Nov 20.

The 32-year-old American R&B singer and songwriter has won 14 Grammy Awards and sold more than 65 million records worldwide since her first studio album Songs in a Mirror became an international success in 2001.

Keys made her debut performance in China in 2004, when she participated in a concert held on the Great Wall in Beijing.

"China is a huge country, and people have been very friendly," Keys told China Daily in an e-mail interview. She was particularly impressed with Beijing's buildings of traditional Chinese style. "Lots of my knowledge about China came from my friend Coco - I attended her wedding (in China) a couple of years ago."

Coco Lee is an American-Chinese pop singer. Her wedding to Canadian businessman Bruce Rockowitz took place in Hong Kong in 2011.

"I very much look forward to opportunities to work with artists from China," Keys says about her expectations for the upcoming concert in Shanghai.

According to the organizer of Keys' concert in Shanghai, Yaoxing Media Co, although 2013 has witnessed an unprecedented number of Western acts in Shanghai's live entertainment scene, almost all of the artists have been male: Metallica, Pet Shop Boys, Suede, Justin Bieber and One Republic.

Alicia Keys to set arena on fire

"We've made sufficient marketing research and found AK's songs well loved in China," Yaoxing Media says in e-mail correspondence with China Daily. "From Fallin' to Empire State of Mind to her latest duet with Nicki Minaj Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys has many hit songs to light up audiences and set the arena on fire. We believe Alicia will give a wonderful show in Shanghai, and the box office has turned out very well."

Keys' Chinese online fans group on has more than 80,000 members.

Keys was originally named Alicia Augello Cook. Her mother, of European descent, and her African-American father, separated when she was 2. Keys' mother raised her single-handedly. From her, Keys learned about the challenges and infinite potential in women. "Fallin' was a song I wrote for my mom," she says. And her new song Girl on Fire is meant to "encourage women to take control of their own life".

An accomplished pianist, Keys produces her own albums and incorporates piano into many of her songs, and she is often seen playing piano in her live concerts and music videos.

Keys is married to Swizz Beatz, a hip-hop musician from New York, and their son Egypt is 3 years old.

The family of three attended a charity ball on AIDS medication for Africa, which she co-founded, on Nov 8, a week before Keys headed to Asia for her concert tour, starting in Dubai, on Nov 15.

After the Shanghai gig, Keys will have another two China shows in Macao on Nov 22 and 23.

Alicia Keys to set arena on fire

US R&B singer and songwriter Alicia Keys will perform in Shanghai and Macao on her Set the World on Fire tour. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 11/17/2013 page15)