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NEW YORK – Twelve-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys’ latest opus The Element of Freedom (MBK/J Records) debuts at #1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums and Digital Albums charts and #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart, according to Nielsen/SoundScan.

With a total of 417,277 units sold in a week, this marks the biggest first week sales debut for a female R&B singer this year and Keys’ 5th straight chart-topping debut (Keys’ previous four albums debuted at #1 on the aforementioned charts).

With radio stations playing five songs simultaneously from The Element of Freedom (“Doesn’t Mean Anything,” “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart,” “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down,” “Un-thinkable,” with background vocals provided by Drake, and “Put It In A Love Song” featuring Beyonce) and critics such as Entertainment Weekly citing “Keys latest hits all the right notes” there’s no wonder why fans flocked to purchase Keys’ fifth release.

Keys was nothing shy of visible in the U.S. leading into the December 15 release with a marketing campaign consisting of several major highlights, including TV appearances on Dancing With The Stars, The American Music Awards, Oprah, two visits on both The Today Show and Late Show with David Letterman, Regis & Kelly, Christmas at Rockefeller, The View, BET 106 & Keys Live Special, The Colbert Report and Fuse’s special television broadcast of Keys’ World AIDS Day Concert. The online community was also saturated with an array of Alicia Keys promotions including the first ever album preview on Facebook, Clear Channel’s Stripped/iheartradio performance and YouTube’s worldwide broadcast of her World AIDS Day concert.

Named one of Billboard’s Artists of the Decade, Keys is never one to rest on her laurels as we move into the new year. Keys will launch 2010 in high gear with a performance on Saturday Night Live on January 9 followed by an AOL Music Sessions premiere on January 14. On March 3, Keys embarks on the U.S. portion of “The Freedom Tour” at Chicago’s Allstate Arena. The European leg of the tour will commence late April 2010.

The Alicia Keys Freedom Tour U.S. dates are as follows (subject to change):

March 03, 2010 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena

March 05, 2010 Detroit, MI Fox Theater

March 06, 2010 Detroit, MI Fox Theater

March 13, 2010 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Casino

March 17, 2010 New York, NY Madison Square Garden

March 19, 2010 Newark, NJ Prudential Centre

March 20, 2010 Atlantic City, NJ Mark Estess Arena

March 22, 2010 Boston, MA Agganis Arena

March 24, 2010 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena

March 25, 2010 Washington, D.C. Verizon Center

March 27, 2010 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena

March 28, 2010 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times-Forum

March 30, 2010 Atlanta, GA Phillips Arena

April 02, 2010 Dallas, TX Nokia Theater (Grand Prairie)

April 03, 2010 Houston, TX Toyota Centre

April 06, 2010 Los Angeles, CA Staples Centre

April 07, 2010 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion

April 09, 2010 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay