Alicia Keys partly owes her success to the prostitutes she grew up checking
out in New York's Times Square - because she swore early on she'd never become
one of them.
The soul star admits seeing the low life in the middle of the Big Apple
when she was a child made her promise herself she'd do everything she could to
avoid a life on the street.
She recalls, "There were all these women on the street with very little
clothing on. I asked (my mother) who they were and she explained.
"I'll never forget that night because it was so cold, and they were so
skinny and sick-looking.
"I remember promising myself that nothing would ever trap me or force me
into a life like that."
But Keys misses the seedy underbelly of New York - she insists the clean
up of Times Square has killed the area's creativity.
She adds, "There was a gritty side, but there was a magical side, too.
There was a certain energy - people being creative to survive."