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Celebrating Her Artistic Independence, Latest Album, And Collaborations… Alicia Keys Has a New Attitude

Keys, whose birth name is Alicia Augello Cook was born January 25, 1981, is a classically trained Pianist who has been writing songs since she was 12 years old. She was signed to Columbia records in 1996, at the age of 15, however after experiencing creative differences with the label Alicia left and signed with Clive Davis’ Arista Records in 1998, her first album was not released until 2001.

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What do you do after you have done everything you’ve imagined, achieved everything you set out to achieve and then some?

Singer-songwriter-Author Alicia Keys decided to make the switch, choosing to pursue the balance of her recording career as an independent artist after a long 20-year agreement with Sony Music Entertainment. To celebrate her new-found independence and reap its rewards, Alicia has also recently released a new double-album entitled ‘KEYS’ a 26-track set, which is divided into two sides—Originals and Unlocked, and this album features Lil Wayne, Pusha T, Khalid, Swae Lee, and Lucky Daye. There was much ado and anticipation that the music Alicia recorded in the Caribbean with J. Cole would be included in the set, but alas, it did not work out, but even without the Cole collab, “KEYS,” Alicia’s 8th album still boasts an impressive guest list that shows just how willing she is to take her music to another level.

In the run-up to her new album release in last December, we’ve seen the 15-time Grammy winner getting busy appearing on the cover of (the December 2021 issue of) Marie Claire Magazine. She recently showed off her (and hubby Swiss Beatz) impressive $21.8 million Ocean-side abode (purchased in 2019) in Architectural Digest and Better Homes and Gardens Magazines, and was even captured smoking a blunt on Nore and DJ EFM’s Drink Champs Podcast amidst the promotional media events to set the stage for the album release.

Keys, whose birth name is Alicia Augello Cook was born January 25, 1981, is a classically trained Pianist who has been writing songs since she was 12 years old. She was signed to Columbia records in 1996, at the age of 15, however after experiencing creative differences with the label Alicia left and signed with Clive Davis’ Arista Records in 1998, her first album was not released until 2001.

Alicia’s debut album, ‘Songs in A Minor’ debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at number one, selling 236,000 in its first week at retail. On its second week, word of mouth and exposure from television performances was so significant that record stores requested another 450,000 copies. The album went on to sell over 6.2 million copies in the United States and 12 million internationally. It was certified six times Platinum by the RIAA. ‘Songs in A Minor’ established Keys’ popularity both inside and outside of the United States where she became the best-selling new artist and R&B artist of the year.

Key’s went on to record 6 more albums under the Clive Davis umbrella at Sony Music before ultimately deciding leave and go the independent route. Sony has did well with Alicia over the years since she arrived as a 15 year old, and Alicia has basically grew up, matured as a woman, and as a artist having sold 33 million albums worldwide. Billboard ranked Keys as the fifth-most successful artist of the 2000s decade, Keys married Swiss Beatz in 2010 and is now the mother of two sons.

Davis has been quoted giving his impression of Alicia from their beginning, saying “she came across then, from that very first meeting, the way she comes across today, which is really as a young Renaissance woman of enormous musical talent, but really matured way beyond her young years. When I saw her sit down and play the piano and sing, it just took my breath … Everything about her was unique and special from the beginning”

Alicia going independent is not really such a big leap for an artist who has done everything she set out to do. Artistically, she has performed with a virtual who’s who in music across the genres of rap and R&B, she has written songs for some of the biggest stars in the world, she has co-hosted and performed in TV shows, like The Voice, The Cosby Show, etc. Keys has also authored five books, all in the short span of 20 years, much of it before she was 35 years old. 

Keys has won practically every accolade, award, and commendation available. She has also launched a cosmetic brand called Keys Soulcare, had a Branded shoe deal with Reebok, and an IOS Game App. Alicia made her film debut in early 2007 in the crime film Smokin’ Aces, co-starring as an assassin named Georgia Sykes opposite Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia. 

When there are no new challenges because all have been overcome and all dreams have come true, a creative, but restless mind will create new challenges like moving from the bustling east coast metropolis to the quiet rolling hills and beach fronts of La Jolla, California, and becoming an avid art collector. Alicia and her husband, Swizz Beatz, are co-chairs of the Gordon Parks Foundation, which permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, the pioneering photographer, filmmaker, musician, and activist. The couple acquired what is now the largest private holding of Gordon Parks’ images, part of the Dean Collection (Swiss Beatz actual name is Kesseem Dean), the couple’s philanthropic organization, and family collection of international contemporary art. With all of that and then making a move towards independence as a recording artist seem pretty normal, if not necessary. 

Keys is the co-founder and Global Ambassador of Keep A Child Alive, a non-profit organization that provides medicine, orphan care, and social support to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.

From the beginning of her career, Keys has been noted for being a multifaceted talent as a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. She broadened that to become an actress, author, philanthropist, Activist, and entrepreneur and has achieved acclaim for all of those endeavors in addition to being a wife and mother. Alicia’s unique style and maturity as a classical musician and singer have blossomed into Alicia making her mark as the Renaissance woman Clive Davis met as a 15-year-old young girl.


In the beginning… It all started with her Premeire Appearace on Oprah in 2001

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FEATURES

Da Boss… Rick Ross Unveiled The Blueprint To Achieve Millions

In his early years at Suave House Records, Roberts initially made his debut under the pseudonym Teflon Da Don. He made his recording debut on the song “Ain’t Shhh to Discuss” on Erick Sermon’s lone album for DreamWorks, Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis. In the mid-2000s, he changed his name to Rick Ross. He derived his stage name from the former drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross

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Millionaire rapper Rick Ross aka the “Da Boss” has had his fair share of legal troubles on his way to millions, but he didn’t let it hold him back.
Before the music, Ross graduated from Miami Carol City High School, he then attended Albany State University on a football scholarship. Ross later went on to work as a correctional officer from 1995-97.


The Grammy-nominated rapper then discovered his passion for music and released his debut album, ‘Port of Miami’, in August 2006 under Def Jam Records. The album hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart selling 187,000 units during the first week. He landed at the top of the charts and has never looked back.
Da Boss has since built a multi-million-dollar empire. He’s involved with numerous partnerships and business ventures, including Rap Snacks, Checkers, Luc Belaire, and VERZUZ, to name a few. Ross owns so many Wingstop locations he often loses count. It was reported that he owned up to 25.


In October 2020, the “Push It” rapper got his hands on the largest estate in Georgia. He bought out a massive 54,000 square-foot mansion he deems as the “Promise Land.”. With movie production inquiries and other special events, the 235-acre estate is paying for itself. The palace became the perfect location to shoot “Coming to America 2”, released in March 2021.
In addition to the fancy mansion and partnerships, Ross has become a 2X New York Times best-selling author. He now aims to stop violence, crime, and broken homes in communities by funding different charity events.


At this point, you’re probably wondering the strategy behind his multimillion-dollar net worth. Luckily, the rap superstar drops gems every chance he gets. Here are 5 things to take away from Ross’s success.

NO JOB IS TOO SMALL FOR A BOSS

Success takes time and even more hustle. Ross shows that once you get to the top, you still have to maintain and never forget where you started. In interviews, he mentioned that he still makes time to mow the grass of his 235-acre estate. Ross shows the importance of remaining humble while getting the job done.

DIVERSIFY YOUR INVESTMENTS

Music was only the foundation of Ross’ success. He grows his wealth through business ventures, brand partnerships, and investments. He shows the importance of ensuring his millions are positioned to grow in years to come.

THINK BIG

Your next big idea could be worth millions. The last thing Ross did throughout his career was reminded himself to think big. When he created his record label, he always thought big and kept his next step in mind.

LEARN TO ADAPT

The world is changing faster than ever, and so should your influence, mindset, and hustle. Ross said in an interview that you should constantly be evolving as a person.

PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT

The multimillionaire rapper mentioned in his second book The Perfect Day To Boss Up” to make up your mind and not allow anyone to influence or change that. Ross focuses on what’s important to keep looking ahead, go after exactly what you want, and don’t let anyone stop you.

While it’s true Ross faced a lot of adversity to get to where he is now, including being hit with marijuana, gun, and assault charges, rumors of being extorted and such, you can’t deny that he’s had an enormous amount of success throughout his career and an even bigger impact on those around him.

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Good Girl Gone Billionaire Businesswoman | Inside Rihanna’s Ascension From Poverty-Stricken Childhood To Popstar-Turned-Lingerie Mogul

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, 34, has evolved into a style icon and makeup entrepreneur—and the first black woman in charge of a major luxury fashion house. All those efforts along with recording add up to a $1.7 billion fortune, making her the wealthiest female musician in the world, ahead of the likes of Madonna ($570 million), Céline Dion ($450 million) and Beyoncé ($400 million). Rihanna is the 2nd wealthiest Black woman behind Oprah.

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It’s time to “Pour It Up” as we unleash some of the details behind super star singer
Rihanna. The Grammy-winning singer hit the ground running from the very beginning
by capturing the attention of listeners around the world with her hit songs
“Umbrella”, “We Found Love”, and “Work.” In her music career, she’s created a well aged discography most artists never attain.


Rihanna, was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados, grew up with a struggling home life
due to her father’s addictions, she turned to music as an outlet to express
herself during her rough childhood.


Rihanna started her music career in 2003 with a few classmates. Producer Evan
Rogers eventually discovered the trio and Rihanna specifically stood out amongst the
group. Two years later, Rihanna made her show-stopping debut with the hit single
“Pon de Replay.” The track was a national hit, peaking number one in New Zealand
and US Billboard Dance Charts. The following year, she released her certified
Platinum album A Girl like Me, and dipped her toes into the acting world starring in
hit movie Bring It on: All or Nothing.


As much success Rihanna has attained and for all the financial rewards that came with it, the majority of her billion-dollar fortune doesn’t come from her music. Rihanna’s
inclusive brands has opened the door for opportunities beyond the music industry
and is now somewhat dominating in the world of fashion and beauty.


Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017 with the goal of inclusivity. The brand was
able to take off with the help of social media and a partnership with Bernard Arnault’s
LMVH. Its products come in 50 diverse colors with a wide range of shades for darker
women.


Just a year later, RiRi launched her lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty. Rihanna’s brand is
showered with praise because of not only its sexy aesthetic appeal but, its inclusivity.
Rihanna made an apparent effort in highlighting every shape, size, gender, etc., in
product advertising. She features plus-size models, people of all shades and
definitely doesn’t leave out the LGBTQAI+ community. Her products range from
sample size up to 3X.


After the launch of Savage X Fenty, Fenty Skin took off in 2019 under the singer’s
Fenty Beauty brand. The skincare line launched with three products: cleanser, toner,
and sunscreen. At the time of her beauty brand’s release, Rihanna said Fenty Skin is
her “vision of the new culture of skincare.” The brand’s success comes with easy-touse products that everyone can apply.


Rihanna is now worth $1.7 billion, Forbes estimates. She sits on the throne as the
wealthiest female musician globally and second to Oprah Winfrey as the richest
female entertainer. The bulk of her fortune comes from the value of Fenty Beauty.
The rest includes her stake in Savage x Fenty and her earnings from her career as a
chart-topping musician and actress. The popstars most recent valuation from her stake in the Fenty Beauty cosmetic line has grown – and is now worth a reported $2.8 billion in total according to the most recent news from Forbes.


Beyond the music and praise, she has also made a difference in her community. This
past October, Rihanna was honored as the national hero of Barbados. Rihanna also
has a powerful voice when it comes to social justice causes and political issues. She
turned down the opportunity to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Additionally, she made it her priority to donate millions to COVID-19
relief.

At the beginning of 2022, Rihanna and her love interest, rapper A$AP Rocky, surprisingly revealed that they’re expecting their first child together. While they’ve reportedly been friends for nearly a decade, Rihanna and Rocky first began sparking relationship rumors in 2020. The handwriting was possibly on the wall for the power couple when Rocky pretty much declared his love for Rihanna in a 2021 interview with GQ. Now with a child soon to enter the equation it is going to be interesting to see whats next for Rihanna.


Although Rihanna’s stardom or billionaire status didn’t happen overnight, it’s unquestionable that she herself was the catalyst that made it happen with her talent, go-getter attitude, and commitment to inclusivity.

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Not A Grind, But A Quest | Crooner Eric Roberson Is Still On His Continuing Quest To Be The Best

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Looking at history, only a handful of nationally known recording artists have lived through the rigors of the music industry as independent artists, let alone achieved extraordinary levels of success with it. Of course, this seems like a difficult task; it has, however, been attained by some of the greatest artists that walked the earth. A worthy example of such an artist is Eric Roberson. He happens to be an outstanding storyteller, songwriter, producer, and one of the greatest R&B artists that ever existed.

Eric Roberson’s music is known to form personal connections with its listeners, and this can be attributed to the fact that he is a fantastic storyteller. His music has been influenced by a lot of music styles, allowing him to switch to different genres while being progressive and poetic all at the same time. This is one of the significant ways Eric earned the love and respect that created his fan base, which has given him an incredibly huge amount of support for years.

Eric Roberson (popularly known as Erro) maintains an amazing quality of music style over the years because he has been able to have absolute control of his music. As a songwriter who understood that he had messages that only his songs could deliver and has been signed into Warner Brothers while studying music theater at Howard University, where he produced his first single, “the moon,” that topped the R&B/ Hip-Hop chart.

Erro has experienced firsthand the rigor of being signed to a major label and as such with the help of his parents. Eric chose to perform and sell his music without the help of any record label. This continued until 2001 when he created his own label (The B.L.U.E Erro Soul) and dropped the amazing album “Esoteric movement” before going ahead to drop seven more on the same label. With these releases, Erro has been able to physically sell over 80 thousand CDs independently and many more via the Internet, which enabled him to tour around the world and give live performances in the presence of large audiences.

As a result of hard work and an incredibly huge amount of dedication to his music over the last 20 years, Eric received the underground artist of the year B.E.T. Virtual Award in 2008 as an independent musician. Erro was also the first independent artist nominated for over three notable awards, two of which were Grammy Awards for the Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the songs “A tale of two” and “Still,” and the 2012 Soul Train Music Award for the independent artist of the year. As an independent artist, there is no greater prize.

Even until now, Eric Roberson continues to make landmarks as he releases amazing albums such as “Hear from Here,” which he described as an act of service to his devoted fans all over the world. Most recently, he has also released the song “Lessons” in June 2021 and has since then released different versions of it with other notable R&B singers like Anthony Hamilton, Raheem Devaughn, and Kevin Ross.

Eric Roberson’s success would always be an inspiration to everyone. His status as an independent artist clearly teaches that anyone can survive in the music industry on their own terms. Furthermore, his uniqueness, style, and message would most assuredly keep earning him the respect that accrues to the category as one of the greatest artists that have ever walked the face of the earth.

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The Enduring Reign of Aaliyah: “BabyGirl,” Still The Princess of R&B and Queen of Urban Pop

It’s been 20 years since Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas at age 22. “Unstoppable” her soon to be released posthumous album features Drake, and Cris Brown among others and is intended to serves as a lasting tribute to her legacy. The first single, “Poison” featuring The Weeknd, dropped last month.her record label plans to put out one more single before the album’s release.

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The late R&B icon, Aaliyah left an everlasting mark on music and black culture since the 90s.  Not only was she a talented actress, a skilled dancer but also a gifted singer and fashion symbol, as well.  She was a triple threat on the R&B scene in the 90s.  

But that’s not what makes her an icon.

Amazingly, Aaliyah’s talent has managed to touch lives more than twenty years after her tragic passing.  People who did not have the honor of experiencing her music live now have the opportunity to become fans many years later. 

In 2021, her album ‘One in a Million’ was released across all streaming platforms, where it hit #10 on Billboard 200.  ‘One in a Million also rose to become the #1 Catalog Album, #1 Digital Album, and #2 Independent Album.

But that’s not what makes her an icon.  

For two decades, her faithful and loyal fans have kept her memory alive, never letting it fade.  The release of her new posthumous album, slated to be released in early 2022, is not just a testament to her talent.  Entitled ‘Unstoppable,’ it is likewise a testimony of the dedication of her fan base, who has been clamoring for the release of Aaliyah’s unfinished tracks and old recordings for years. 

How many artists today can even dream of working with the likes of Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg, Future, Drake, and Chris Brown?  Aaliyah’s music has transcended generations, representing R&B in the 90s and today.

But that’s not what makes her an icon.  

“Keke Palmer, Kim Kardashian and countless fans have worn the glittering bikini top, belt and choker Aaliyah made famous in the music video “Try Again,” from the “Romeo Must Die” soundtrack.”

-stylist, Derek Lee

When black girls had few women in entertainment to look up to, Aaliyah stood out like a beacon.  She was beautiful without being a video vixen, cool but still down-to-earth.  What 90s black child did not either want to be Aaliyah or date her or dress like her? These facts, alongside her glowing list of accolades and her futuristic style in both music and fashion made her a model of Black Excellence! That’s what makes her an icon!

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Singer Lucky Daye Announces New Album, Single and his first headlining tour since 2019… Welcome to his “Candy Drip Tour”

hailed as one of the most exciting new voices in R&B. Lucky Daye is versatile, while staying true to a sound all his own.

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Fresh off of earning two Grammy nominations, collabs with Alicia Keys, DJ Khalid, Mary J. Blige and others, super hot crooner Lucky Daye has returned to center-stage with exciting news. This spring, the Louisiana native will hit the road for the “Candy Drip” tour with another R&B phenom, Joyce Wrice. Over five weeks, the talented duo will put together shows in Portland, Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville, Detroit, Louisville, Boston and several other cities.

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Adding to Lucky Daye’s announcement, he has also shared a new track called “Candy Drip.” Produced by D’Mile (bassist Dernst Emile II), the soulful tracks tells the story of a man wrapped up in a relationship that is no good for either party. Still, their bond is too tight to be broken.

Lucky Daye is the alias of David Brown, a Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter with a solid foundation in classic soul who is stylistically a little left of center, neither retro nor commercial. And like Daniel Caesar in some ways, Daye’s style and flow was likened to a marriage of traditional and progressive R&B modes when he showcased his major-label debut EP. And like other talented upstarts, before signing a solo deal with a label, Brown co-wrote songs for Keith Sweat, Ne-Yo, Ella Mai, and Mary J. Blige.

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. Daye was raised in a religious cult that forbade secular music, he nonetheless discovered an innate knack for singing. After his mother left the cult, Daye immersed himself in classic R&B and succumbed to the artistry of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Rick James. Uprooted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he moved to Tyler, Texas, but soon relocated to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue music. Daye competed on Season 4 of American Idol in 2005 at age 19. He auditioned with Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and was given four “yes” votes. He was eliminated shortly after reaching the Top 20. Disappointed but Undaunted, Daye began establishing himself as a songwriter and background vocalist in the ATL, and throughout 2008 and 2009, landed credits on material by Keith Sweat (a handful of cuts on his ‘Just Me’ album) and Ne-Yo (“She Got Her Own”).

Brown went through a stage where he wasn’t as active as a songwriter, though he did write “Believe Us” for Boyz II Men, he then shifted gear during the latter half of the 2010’s refocusing on singing, while still writing songs. During this period in 2016 and 2017, he co-wrote songs released by Keke Palmer “Enemiez”, for Ella Mai, “10,000 Hours,”and “Down” for Ella Mai, ‘Song Goes Off’, for Trey Songz, and several songs for Mary J. Blige (including two tracks on her ‘Strength of a Woman‘ album), among other contemporary R&B artists. His renewed focus and other changes paid off.

Signed as a recording artist to the RCA distributed Keep Cool label in 2018, Brown who had by then relocated to Los Angeles, and while contemplating the stage name of Lucky Day (derived from the confluence of preparedness meeting opportunity (Lucky) and wanting it every day), he then drew inspiration from the late Marvin Gaye (owing to the similarities in their religious upbringings), he added an “e” to his stage name (as did Gaye to his real name), and made his debut as Lucky Daye. Daye’s First recorded output under his label was “Little More Time,” a Victoria Monet collaboration included on the soundtrack for Insecure’s third season. Next came the single “Roll Some Mo,” followed shortly thereafter by his first EP entitled ‘1’, the set embodied six cuts, all written with and produced by D’Mile (Bassist, Dernst Emile II), the set prompted some scant comparisons to other artists, but those comparisons became the impetus to find his own lane and define his own sound.

His second release, was Daye’s debut album entitled ‘Painted‘  the LP set the summer of 2019 on fire for the young artist. Daye went on a worldwide tour, selling out venues in the U.K. and all over the United States. But by the end of the year, rising fears about Covid-19 abroad cut his streak of good fortune short. Then the pandemic hit the U.S., but Daye could not contain his creativity, and turned the ensuing shutdowns and bleak news into continuing drift into darkness, for Daye, it was brightening by the day.

During those harrowing days, Covid-19 and it’s accompanying misery and death had caused a global shift towards darkness, and once again thoughts centered around Marvin Gaye consumed the inertia and again inspired and influenced Daye’s thoughts and Gaye’s album “The Complete Duets With Tammi Terrell” inspired the idea behind Daye’s Next project, an EP of duets entitled “Table For Two,” Daye’ s third release.

On “Table For Two” inspired and recorded during the height of the initial Covid outbreak in 2020, most of the tracks were made in person—the only exception was the pairing with Joyce Wrice, with whom Daye worked remotely, their song, it’s was reported, was originally meant for Mary J. Blige. The LP features a total of seven new pieces, one being an intro with just Lucky, while the rest are complete songs made in collaboration with a star studded cast of female R&B artists. “On Read,” the first single from this body of work has Daye paired with Tiana Major9 the song appears as Track 3 on the LP. From there, Yebba makes her way onto “How Much Can A Heart Take”, Mahalia appears on “My Window”, Ari Lennox  makes her presence felt on “Access Denied”, Queen Naija pairs on “Dream” and Joyce Wrice inserts her vocal talent on “Falling in Love.” The contents of the songs, all written by Daye reflect the full spectrum of emotions, the complete range from adulation to emotional heartbreak and frustration. “Table for Two” has gone on to receive Grammy nominations for Best Progressive R&B Album, while the single “How Much Can A Heart Take” from the album, recorded with Yebba received Grammy nominations for Best R&B Performance .

Now Lucky Daye is is teasing with his latest single, “Candy Drip,” the second release from his upcoming fourth release of the same name, due early next year. The album will likely coincide with the just announced Candy Drip Tour also kicking off in early Spring. 


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