Keys Credits City Upbringing With Singing Success
R+B singer Alicia Keys credits her New York upbringing with the success of her music career - because city life helped prepare her for the harsh criticism delivered by record executives early on.
The No One hitmaker admits she had to fight with record company bosses to win creative control over her projects at the start of her career.
But Keys insists even at the age of 19 she was already prepared not to give in to bullying.
She says, "I grew up in Hell's Kitchen, an area of New York City that's nicer now but used to feel desperate, with boarded-up buildings, hookers, pimps and drug dealers everywhere. Men would call out, 'Come work for me,' as I passed by. I was nine years old and hated it so much that I'd often be loud-mouthed and confrontational right back.
"It kept those men away, but I felt bad coming down to their level. One day I realised I didn't have to - I could just keep walking."