August 08, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Nine Grammys and Alicia Keys is still striving. The R&B star and her partner, producer Kerry ”Krucial” Brothers, recently launched their own music production company, and a (website) to go with it. Up next: acting. Keys will appear in this fall’s Smokin’ Aces and 2007’s The Nanny Diaries. And, according to Variety, she’s signed a deal with Disney to produce and star in a remake of 1958’s Bell Book and Candle. So we had to ask, Who has inspired the multitalented powerhouse?

NINA SIMONE
”Love it or hate it, when you hear it you know that’s Nina Simone. She taught me about feeling, passion, and that every note doesn’t have to be right.”

BARBRA STREISAND
”She transcended the musical world into the acting world, and did it so fluidly, you didn’t even think about it.”

WILLA CATHER
”I felt like I saw it — everything she was talking about in [1918’s] My Antonia, about being a girl, being a woman.”

MARVIN GAYE
”His [1971] album What’s Going On inspired me to write about things I saw with my own two eyes every day.”

TERRI AUGELLO (Keys’ mom)
”I was raised by a single mother. She taught me how to stand up for myself, how to be a woman of my word, how not to be afraid of the vulnerability we have.”

ALICE WALKER
”Reading [1989’s] The Temple of My Familiar, I was in awe that people could put thoughts together like that.”

QUINCY JONES
”He [defied] boundaries, working on everything from Frank Sinatra to doggone Michael Jackson.”

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