NEW YORK - Alicia Keys has influenced many lives with her soulful, heartaching piano-driven songs for almost a decade.
Now that the 12-time Grammy winner has established herself as one of music's brightest stars, Keys is ready to inspire others - without singing a tune.
Keys is launching AK Worldwide, a new company that will handle the singer's projects, especially those outside of music.
"It really explores the ways I can affect the world in a positive way, even outside of music," Keys said in an interview.
"It is really about finding ways to bring forth things into the world that will give you and all the people that encounter them, and myself, inspiration," she said.
The first project for the 28-year-old is The Barber's Daughters, a handcrafted jewelry line engraved with messages of hope and wisdom.
"The words, when you read them, they really do resonate with you. They kind of inspire you to want to find that place in yourself," she said, sporting a silver oval ring that read: "May you find inspiration and meaning soaked in the wonders of the imagination cradled in compassion of the heart and hold a will to make difference."
Keys also will launch a new Web site, iamasuperwoman.com, devoted to spotlighting inspirational women and causes that will fill a missing gap in the blogosphere, Keys said.
"It really calls out to all those brilliant, amazing, fantastic women every day that are doing their thing and need kind of a community to support each other," she said.
Keys said the creativity required to be a businesswoman has spilled over to her music, and that it's reflected on her fourth studio CD, "The Element of Freedom," to be released Dec. 1.
"We have the ability to be totally free, to be totally unstoppable, and there's no heights that you can't reach," Keys said. "So I totally love that and that's what the music feels like, and that's what everything that I'm doing sounds like."
The lead single, "Doesn't Mean Anything," teaches people that having success is unimportant unless there's someone to share it with, Keys said.
The next single, "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart," is "mean, mean, mean," she said.
The CD finds Keys working again with her musical partner, Crucial Keys, and producer Jeff Bhasker, who recently produced tracks on the latest albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Keys credits Oprah Winfrey and other business-minded people with turning on her entrepreneurial spirit.
"Why do I love Oprah? Because she's able to bring you things that will really change your life," Keys said. "They're part of your life in a meaningful way, and those are the things I want to be apart of."
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