London, July 13 : Life wasn't such a rosy experience for Alicia Keys as it's today, for during her teenage years, the pop sensation used to carry a knife for safety to survive in her shady neighbourhood.
The 27-year old used to live in Hell's Kitchen, a tough neighbourhood of New York where danger loomed at every corner.
Keys also revealed how music played the ultimate saviour for her in this tough neighbourhood of New York where danger loomed at every corner.
She said that when violence hits the streets in Hell's Kitchen, everyone had to protect themselves, including her, as she used to carry a knife at the age of 14.
"Gang culture was everywhere and there were altercations all the time. You'd often find yourself in situations where you wished you had something more than just your hands. So I would carry around a little shank," Times Online quoted her, as saying.
She added: "When my mother found it she was so upset and couldn't understand why I had it. It was simple, I told her. It was like that on the street - I needed a knife, just in case."
Her mother was horrified and wanted to move, "but there was nowhere to go. At that time you couldn't get away from it - knives were everywhere. I definitely understand that feeling of wanting to protect yourself," she said.
However, she said that her single parent mother Terri Augello had a major role to play in how she survived in the shady streets and also in what she today.
"She had to be terrified: I was a girl in Hell's Kitchen and she knew I wasn't staying inside, so one of the best things she did for me was to keep me busy," said Keys.