February 25, 2002
Alicia Keys: Local Girl Makes Good
STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN
With the Grammys set for this Wednesday, the talk of New York's Hell's Kitchen -- just to the west of Times Square -- is that of multi-nominee and pride-of-the-neighborhood Alicia Keys, reports The New York Times. Keys, 21, is in the running for six Grammys: Record of the Year ('Fallin' '), Best New Artist, Song of the Year ('Fallin' '), Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ('Fallin' '), Best R&B Song ('Fallin' ') and Best R&B Album ('Songs in A Minor'). Although Keys would not speak to The Times, the paper said, her single-parent mother, who still lives there, and former neighbors from her 'hood sure did. Kaldar A. Rodgers, 34, a bookie, remembers Keys as a 'tiny and quiet' child in braids who played basketball and took piano lessons every week. 'I always heard rumors that she was trying to do this or play that,' he told the paper, 'but that's the nature of this block. People here are always trying for something.' It was a shabby, X-rated neighborhood back in 1978, when Terri Augello first moved there, three years before the birth of her only child, Alicia. 'Times Square was an unsavory place to raise a young girl back then,' Augello tells The Times. 'But it was a sink-or-swim life for us, so we swam. I never let her go out on the block alone until she was old enough to navigate the city. Then we'd take dry runs, and I'd have her lead me around so I could see how she'd do on her own. She was always the independent one.'
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