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brought to you by: EspreeNet News Service
Published September 2002

Syracuse has "Fallin'" for Alicia Keys
Lucy Sanchez (EspreeNet News Service)

Syracuse, NY -- "Alicia Keys. Alicia Keys," chanted fans as their thunderous applause welcomed the Grammy winner to Syracuse on Sunday, August 25th.

There was a brief silence and then the classical sounds of Beethoven Symphony 5 greeted the crowd causing an explosive frenzy. The curtains opened. A New York brownstone street scene complete with a live band playing on the fire escape and back-up singers teased the fans.

And out walked Keys. She greeted them with as much vigor and excitement. She strolled on to the State Fair Grandstand with a sparkling red jacket, shades and her trademark braids.

"Syracuse how y'all feeling out there tonight," shouted the 21-year-old from New York.

This was one of several times that Keys had one-on-one moments with her audience. And from the sounds of their screams dictated they loved it.

"Tonight I'm ready to rock with y'all," Keys said. And once again, the crowd approved as she began the soulful melody of "Rock wit U" from her debut album released last year, "Songs in A Minor."

Linda Patterson, 22, said she couldn't wait until Keys came to Syracuse and especially until she sang her favorite song "Butterflyz."

"I can relate to her," Patterson said. "She talks about everything that I go through in relationships."

Although many fans came to hear their personal favorites, others came because they genuinely admired her as a person.

"She's talented and beautiful," said Hasan Nimmons. "She's everything." The 23-year-old from Syracuse said that Keys is a "positive female with a good head on her shoulders and a role model for girls."

Before Keys became the recipient of a VMA, two Billboard Awards, two American Music Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, three Soul Train awards, two World music Awards, one Eccho award and five Grammies she was Alicia Cook, the honor student. Alicia Cook, the high school valedictorian. Keys turned down an offer to attend Columbia University in order to pursue her music career. Now she's Alicia Keys - multi-talented performer who's working on her next CD and finishing her tour.

The singer/songwriter/producer attracted 7,009 people to her two-hour performance at the fair.

The Owens family, who traveled from Tampa, Florida to see Keys perform thought it was worth every second of the drive. Faye Owens said that her daughters, Rhonda Owens, 17, and La Tasha Kendrick, and family friend Jackie Sergi, 17, bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale. She said Keys stands apart from other female artists.

"She does everything with God," Owens said. "She's very in tuned to her family. She's very unpretentious." Kendrick agreed.

"I like her music overall," Kendrick said, "and she's a positive person."

The Owens family enjoyed her so much that they said they are going to follow her on tour.

"We're here to support her," Faye Owens said. "We'll be in Maryland too... also Atlanta. We'll be here waiting for her when she wins her next award. We love her."

And love her they did.

Keys sang until the sun went down and her voice seemed to touch the stars. She sang her hits "Butterflyz," "Girlfriend," "How Come You Don't Call Me," and "Mr. Man" to name a few. She continues to entertain her fans with a unique combination of classical music, R&B, hip hop beats provided by DJ I Rock, a live band and dances by Freak Nasty.

The crowd sang with her... danced... cheered... and most of applauded in approval to a powerhouse performance.

comments about this story: SanchezL@SoulOfSyracuse.com

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