Keyshia Cole is the real deal. Like many young people raised in tough neighborhoods, the 21-year-old songstress endured a tumultuous childhood in Oakland, California, and has fought all her life to keep her dream of a music career alive. Now she's realizing that dream on her own terms with her first album for the A&M label, 'The Way It Is'. It's been a long road for Keyshia, but it's her powerful voice, a belllike instrument whose soaring clarity is topped off with a tantalizing touch of soulful grit that's carried her through, not to mention the diminutive singer's personal combination of sugar, spice, sass and sex appeal, along with a solid-steel spine. With production by Kanye West, Krucial Keys, Ron Fair and Chink Santana, Keyshia's dreams have been realized. Universal. 2005.