Candid Keys Confronts Lesbian Rumors

12/02/2003 at 12:05 PM EST

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys is anything but shy. Addressing rumors that she may be a lesbian, the musician, whose new CD "Diary of Alicia Keys" was released on Tuesday, tells "Access Hollywood" that she's surprised that the story has such "legs."

"It was just walking and kept walking," she says of the rumor, "and I said, 'Where are you going with this?'"

She does deny being a lesbian ("I absolutely am not," she says), though does not deny being "a strong-minded woman," "not demure" and "aggressive," which may make some people "nervous," she says.

As for how the rumor may have started in the first place, the 22-year-old daughter of a white actress and an African American flight attendant blames TV.

"I think what happens is any person that grazes any TV set is gay. I don't know what it is -- it's like you have to be gay to be on a TV show," she says.

With equal candor, Keys, who grew up in Manhattan's roughhewn Hell's Kitchen, tells the German magazine Der Spiegel that she misses her old neighborhood, despite its being "full of derelicts, crazy people and pimps."

And though she hasn't taken public transportation in more than a year (since the success of her first album, "Songs in A Minor"), she insists, "I actually miss the warm smell of urine and beer on the subway."

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