When she sat down at the piano to perform her hit "Fallin' " at this year's Grammys, viewers learned that the evening's Best New Artist is also among music's best-tressed. "My hair is very curly and unruly, so I like braids," says Alicia Keys, 22. She adopted her signature do at age 13, when she discovered that it got her through humid Manhattan summers. "Braids look pretty," she says, "and it's a style that doesn't go crazy in the heat." Keys, whose debut album, Songs in A Minor
—a merger of jazz, hip-hop and soul—has sold 5 million copies since its release last year, prides herself on being practical. She is also "one of the great young beauties of the world—very engaging and youthful but wise," says J Records honcho Clive Davis. Sean "P. Diddy
" Combs agrees: "She's confident, strong and sexy. You know she's a woman in control." Clearly, but the 5'8" avid runner and massage fanatic treasures moments away from the keyboard. "When I roll out of bed and wear mismatched clothes, socks with holes in them and my hair's a mess, and I sit around and watch TV with people I'm so relaxed with I couldn't care less," she says, "that's when I feel most beautiful."