Best Selling Poetry From Platinum Recording Artists

Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, and Ashanti books
Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, and Ashanti books!

The New York Times Best Sellers list and other best seller lists are often the home of celebrity books. Most of the time, fans go out and support their favorite celebrity by buying their books without knowing a bit of anything about how good the book is. However, there are times when our favorite famous faces produce thought provoking books. Recording artists Jill Scott (Hidden Beach Recordings), Alicia Keys (J Records), and Ashanti (The Inc. Records) all released heart felt poetry collections that sold very well for poetry books, since poetry does not have a high demand in the book industry.

In 2005, Grammy award wining platinum recording artist, “Neo Soul” singer, and poet, Jill Scott released her first volume of poetry entitled “The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours: The Poetry of Jill Scott.” (St. Martin’s Press) Inspired by legendary poets Nikki Giovanni and Emily Dickenson, Scott published a wide variety of poems she wrote since 1991. According to Publishers Weekly “the book reads like an ecstatic but disciplined panoply of influence and inspiration.” This volume has everything from love poems to break up poems to religious anthem poems. This collection of poetry from the “Neo Soul” Diva made it to #4 on the Essence Magazine Best Sellers list.

9X Grammy Award winning singer, song writer, producer, and poet, Alicia Keys released “Tears for Water” (Putnam) in 2004. Keys took a different approach in this book, combining poems that she says she never intended on sharing with lyrics for songs that appeared on her two multi-platinum albums “Songs in A Minor” and “The Diary of Alicia Keys” and putting them in her book. According to Publishers Weekly “With their themes of loneliness, confusion, wonder and desire, most of Keys’ free-verse poems could be the cris de coeur of any American 20-something.” Keys volume of poetry made it to The New York Times Best Sellers List.

Platinum selling, singer, song writer, and The Inc. recording artist Ashanti was the first to set this recent trend of recording artists releasing their poetry. In 2003, Ashanti released her collection of poetry/journal entries entitled “Foolish/Unfoolish” (Hyperion, 16.95). This book was filled with reflections of love poems and journal entries that Ashanti wrote when she was a teenager. “Foolish/Unfoolish came right after the R&B singer broke into the music industry and set the record as the fastest selling new artist of all time with 750,000 units sold in two weeks. The back of the book reads “Spirited, moving, and filled with Ashanti’s unique sense of humor, this collection of poetry and reflections will entertain and surprise as it offers an intimate look into the life of one of today’s most popular performers” courtesy of

Fans all over the world love their favorite celebrities and artists and will continue to support them, even if they step away from their usual occupation to pursue other goals These books embody heart felt poetry from true singers.

Michael J. Burt
Michael J. Burt is a poet and the author of two volumes, who interviews authors and reviews books.