She graduated as valedictorian from the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City when she was 16.
Columbia Records signed her out of high school, but refused to release the songs she wrote. Four years later, industry legend Clive Davis, who had signed Santana, Whitney Houston and Janis Joplin, signed her to his J Records and released her first album, Songs In A Minor, which went to #1.
Many people found out about her when she made appearances on Oprah and Jay Leno's shows in 2001. Clive Davis wrote a personal letter to Oprah which helped get her on.
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