NEW YORK – Alicia Keys (search) is working on a new film, proofreading her poems for publication and writing travel stories for a newspaper.
Oh yeah, and her second album "The Diary of Alicia Keys" recently topped 3 million in sales.
She continues to impress audiences long after the runaway success of her debut "Songs in A Minor." (search)
At Sunday's MTV Music Video Awards, she even had Lenny Kravitz (search) on his knees.
Kravitz displayed his admiration after Keys won her first moonman for best R&B video for "If I Ain't Got You." She then wowed the Miami crowd with a soulful rendition of the song, as well as a rousing, funkified performance of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" with Kravitz and Wonder himself.
But when Keys doesn't have rock stars at her feet, Keys forges her affection for writing.
"I just love the pen and the paper," the 23-year-old singer-pianist says in an interview with The Associated Press. "I like to document what I've seen and what I feel."
She's writing travel reports every few weeks and has already filed three articles for the New York Daily News. (Her upcoming travels included an Asian tour and a concert on the Great Wall of China.)
The five-time Grammy winner thinks she can see things through the average person's eyes: "I mean, I live a very normal life despite whatever anybody may believe. I'm a very low-key person."
Michelle Leifer, a Daily News travel editor, agrees: "She brings a good perspective. She's not jaded and is very youthful. She's seeing a lot of things for the first time."
This fall, Keys will release a book of poetry and next year will publish the nonmusical "Diary of Alicia Keys" -- a collection of the singer's personal journal entries since she was 9.
"Very personal and very scary," Keys says of the diary.
Still, she finds strength in the writings of her youth: "To be able to read back on my thoughts remind me of what I feel now, and who I want to be -- who I don't want to be."
Keys will also act in her first movie in a Halle Berry-produced biopic about piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler, a biracial woman who encountered racism in her classical piano playing during the 1950s and '60s. Like Schuyler, Keys' mother is white and her father black.
"I've always said I don't want to play a pianist, I don't want to play a singer. But I feel like this story is so powerful and perfect. It always happens like that," she says.
Of course, Keys is still an R&B singer too. She recently finished shooting a music video for her album's second single, "Karma." Part of the video was shot in the Dominican Republic; another part was shot in New York and allowed Keys to fulfill "a fantasy I've always wanted to live out: me playing the piano on the subway platform."
And she just began shooting a video for "My Boo," a duet with Usher (search). The two previously worked together on a remix of Keys' "If I Ain't Got You."
"Him and I, the songs that we did with each other really showcase us in lights that we aren't often seen in. It takes us both out of our elements respectively, but it's cool," says Keys.