Alicia Keys' troubled time leads to big success

Fri Jun 6, 2008 7:36pm EDT
 
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B singer Alicia Keys is enjoying a successful worldwide tour, a chart-topping album and will act in an upcoming movie, but it might not have happened, she said, were it not for a near breakdown two years ago.

Keys, whose current hits include "No One," is in the middle of her "As I Am" tour. The new "As I Am" album debuted on record charts at No. 1 and has sold over 3 million copies.

In October, she makes her film debut in "The Secret Life of Bees," starring Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the movie is co-produced by Will Smith and backed by indie powerhouse Fox Searchlight.

While Keys seems to lead a charmed life and has the sort of career that most other 26-year-olds could barely imagine, it hasn't always been so rosy.

Two years ago, the singer went through a troubled period that nearly derailed her life and career. A workaholic lifestyle and the death of a close relative from cancer pushed her "very close" to the breaking point, she admits.

Instead of having a public meltdown, Keys faced her demons in private.

"I knew I needed time away, so I went to Egypt for a month -- on my own, which gave it a whole different perspective," she told Reuters in a recent interview.

"It allowed me to see things I'd never seen before -- all the temples on the Nile, the Pyramids, the history. It was so rich and beautiful and strong, and it inspired me so much, and renewed me."   Continued...

 
<p>Alicia Keys performs during her "As I Am" tour at Staples center in Los Angeles May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>