Alicia Keys Founded Her Nonprofit, She Is the Music, After Facing a Bleak Statistic About Women in the Music Industry

Alicia Keys has accomplished a lot since she got into the entertainment industry. She is an award-winning artist with 15 Grammys, a critically acclaimed actor, a classically trained pianist, and a producer. She is also the loving mother of two beautiful children and wife to producer Swizz Beatz.

Alicia Keys smiling, holding a microphone
Alicia Keys | Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for ABA

Keys is, without a doubt, a talented and powerful woman who uses her reach for good. Keys founded her nonprofit, She Is the Music, after facing a bleak statistic about women in the industry.

Alicia Keys started a nonprofit due to bleak statistics about women in entertainment

Keys signed to Arista Records in 1998, releasing her debut album, Songs in A Minor, in 2001. The album was a success and earned her 5 Grammys. Since then, Keys has released seven more studio albums and has won several accolades throughout her impressive career.

Keys has been fortunate throughout her career to be in the right rooms and with the right people. However, as she found out, not everyone gets the chance to do so and shine. The singer got to work researching how best she could help women in entertainment, and the result of her research was devastating.

When being honored with a Songwriter Icon award in 2018, Keys revealed that the statistics were “brutal,” citing numbers from a study done by the University of Southern California Annenberg.

“Of almost 3000 pop songwriters credited last year, only 12% were female, only 3% of the engineers were female, and one of them is Ann [Keys’ engineer],” she said. “Only 2% of producers are female, and one of them is me. Our world is 50-50 and it’s time for our industry to reflect that,” the No One singer continued, per Variety.

According to PEOPLE, Keys teamed up with the head of WME East Coast Music Division, Sam Kirby, Ann Mincieli, her engineer and Founder of Jungle City Studios, and Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson to create a nonprofit music industry group for female advancement in the entertainment industry called She Is the Music.

“We want to create a model for change that affects women across all industries- time is up on double standards- pay inequity and colleagues who are at best disrespectful and at worst unsafe,” Keys said.

She Is the Music responded to the pandemic in a helpful way

She Is the Music was launched in 2019 and aims to increase the number of women in music, from artists and producers to engineers and songwriters. According to the organization’s official website, the nonprofit offers resources for women-focused initiatives seeking to create change in the industry.

She Is the Music responded swiftly to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by donating money and resources to MusiCares and also to an ICU doctor at UCLA who was funding the ICU staff’s meals out of pocket during the pandemic.

Since public meetings were discouraged, Keys’ organization also continued its efforts by holding “virtual meetings, writing sessions, and mixers” to keep the momentum.

She Is the Music is ‘paying it forward’

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Keys also told the publication that her nonprofit launched three pillars that help them make progress. The pillars, also known as programs offered by She Is the Music, include a mentorship program, an all-women songwriting series, and an industry database of female creators.

According to Keys, She Is the Music is dedicated to “paying it forward” by helping women in the music space. The organization continues to offer resources for the next generation of women in the industry. The nonprofit’s database serves as an inclusive directory that allows aspiring artists to submit their applications and get vetted and verified. The organization also provides scholarships for female music students.