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Alicia Keys: 'Diary'

The hits just keep coming for singer/songwriter Alicia Keys. Her debut CD, "Songs In A Minor," sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and brought her numerous chart-topping hits, like "Fallin'."

Now, the five-time Grammy winner is enjoying the success of her latest CD, "The Diary Of Alicia Keys," featuring her new single, "If I Ain't Got You." She performed that song and "Diary" on The Early Show plaza for the Summer Concert series.

Her new CD, for which she was executive producer, already has sold more than 2 million copies. Keys wrote almost all of the songs for it and says she knew it was going to be quite a different album, because of all the growing she has done in the past three years.

She tells co-anchor Julie Chen, "Every song, I'm telling on myself completely. That's the way I write from my experience and things that I feel. This album is not different. In fact, I just discovered better how to express myself and how to tell what I really feel. I completely expose myself."

The soulful "If I Ain't Got You," which features acclaimed musicians Hugh McCracken on guitar and Steve Jordan on drums, is all about "how material things don't feed the soul. The song was sitting there for a while and then with Sept. 11, the passing of Aliyah, different events in the world and in my life, the song took on a new meaning," Keys notes.

She says on The Early Show, "With everything going on in the world and me personally in my life, I feel like there's nothing more pertinent or important than having love in your life and having someone you can love and people that love you back. That's the most important thing."

Another standout on her latest album is the track "Diary," which features '80s hit makers, Tony! Toni! Tone! Inspired by "a very deep private conversation I had with someone on the road where we were talking about things you just never discuss with anyone. It was like he was my diary and I was his for that moment. I wrote the basis for the song in about 10 minutes. Then I thought how much I would love the guys from Tony! Toni! Tone! to play on the track. I already had a pretty cool relationship with Dwayne Higgins and we got some of the original guys in the studio, Dwayne, Jubu Smith, Elijah Baker, Carl Wheeler, Tim Christian and we had it done in two hours. We had a ball and once we put the song aside, we jammed for six hours straight," she says.

Now, with "The Diary of Alicia Keys" complete, Keys says, "When the final album was done, I was ecstatic. I really felt the energy of the songs and hearing them as one piece of work, I was able to say 'Yes, this is who I am right now.' I'm very proud, very happy and so excited about offering the album to the world."

Aside from her music, Keys is said to be making her film debut in a Halle Berry-produced biopic about piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler. The yet untitled film details the life of Schuyler, the only child of George Schuyler, a renowned black journalist and author and Josephine Cogdell, a white artist and writer.

Born in 1939, Schuyler was a child prodigy who played at Carnegie Hall and around the world. But she encountered racism as she grew older, and had trouble finding acceptance. She later became a journalist and was killed in 1967 in a plane crash in Vietnam. The rights to the film are owned by Berry, and the Academy Award-winning actress will produce the film along with Marc Platt, who produced the Broadway show, "Wicked" and the Reese Witherspoon "Legally Blonde" movies, according to Keys' publicist Samantha Tillman.

Like Schuyler, Keys' mother is white and her father is black, and she is a classically trained pianist. So the question is can Alicia Keys act?
She says, "My mother is an actress, and I grew up all around the theater watching her. She inspired me so much. So I think it's in my blood."

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