Keyes entered the Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans on a music scholarship upon graduating from Southern University Laboratory High School. During these years, she performed on the local scene with jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste and appeared on flute and piano with Clark Terry and his All-Girl All-Star Invitational Band at the Wichita (Kansas) Jazz Festival. Working with such influential musicians has enabled Keyes to culminate her New Orleans years with two LPs under her belt. Working with such influential musicians has enabled Keyes to culminate her New Orleans years with two LPs under her belt: The Other Side of Eddie Bo in which the legendary rhythm and blues singer-piano player Eddie Bo featured her on flute, piano, and Keyes’s composition First Time Around (aka “C.K. Blues”)—plus, as a keyboardist on Alvin Batiste’s LP Musique d’Afrique Nouvelle Orleans.
Following the accomplishments from her recording label, Keyes took off time to raise her children and continued her teaching career at UCLA, while also performing on the local circuit in LA. During the time her husband was preparing for a film role in a disco-laden romance-horror comedy, she was inspired to create two songs—”Hollywood Vine” and “Want You”—in which she composed, arranged, and performed vocals and backgrounds.