This month, on January 16, she would have turned 32. Beautiful, talented, warm, she managed to accomplish a lot during a short-lived career. However, time will prove that “The angel of R&B” will forever remain in the hearts of those she touched with her music.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born on January 16, 1979 in New York. She spent most of her childhood in another American metropolis: Detroit, Michigan. From an early age, she had a passion for music: she was taking part singing competitions, auditions and shows on a regular basis. Her passion for singing and dancing doesn’t leave her family, who was already heavily involved in show biz, indifferent. So she sings in Las Vegas with Gladys Knight, the former wife of Barry.
Her dream was to become the next Whitney Houston, whose songs she learned by heart. Aaliyah made her real debut in 1994 with “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”. A promising debut album: the songs “Back & Forth” and “At Your Best (You Are Love)” ranked in the Top-10 U.S. singles.
This success doesn’t stop her from keeping her feet on earth as she continues to attend the High School of the Performing Arts where she received quite honorable marks. The only downside was the rumors saying 15-year-old Aaliyah tied the knot with her producer, R. Kelly.
In 1996, Aaliyah released her second album, again with the help of R. Kelly: “One in a Million”. Collaborators include Missy Elliott and Timbaland (Tim Mosley). Her music, combining R & B and a dash of hip-hop, attracted an increasing number of fans. But Aaliyah wanted to explore other areas as well. The big screen drew her attention.
She landed a starring role in “Romeo Must Die”, directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, which was a hit at the box office. She also appeared in “Queen of the Damned” in Australia in which she plays the role of a 6000-year-old Egyptian vampire. She was set to star opposite Keanu Reeves in the Matrix sequels.
In 2001, five years after her last studio album, she returned with an eponymous third album: Aaliyah. She didn’t know it, but this would be her last album, the most personal of her short-lived career. She completely invested in it, not only as a performer but also as executive producer, along with her uncle.
She describes it as an album of maturity. At 22, she saw herself as an adult and this was visible on the disc: it contains dance tunes but also ballads. In short, a more nuanced picture of life, sometimes dark like when she sings about domestic violence in “Never No More”.
On 25 August 2001, news of her death shocked the world: Aaliyah died in a plane crash, along with 7 other passengers and the pilot. The jet crashed on the island of Abaco, Bahamas, shortly after takeoff.
In memory of Aaliyah, the Entertainment Industry Foundation created the Aaliyah Memorial Fund to donate money raised to charities she supported. Aaliyah has been credited for helping redefine R&B and hip hop in the 1990s, “leaving an indelible imprint on the music industry as a whole.” With album sales estimated to be between 24 to 32 million copies worldwide, Aaliyah has been credited for helping redefine R&B and hip hop, earning her the nickname “Princess of R&B”.
Aaliyah feat. Timbaland – Try Again
Aaliyah – More Than A Woman
Aaliyah – The One I Gave My Heart To
Aaliyah – One In A Million
Aaliyah – If Your Girl Only Knew
Aaliyah feat. Timbaland – We Need A Resolution
Aaliyah – I Care 4 U
Aaliyah – Miss You
Aaliyah – Don’t Know What To Tell Ya
Aaliyah – Rock The Boat
Aaliyah – Four Page Letter
Aaliyah – I Don’t Wanna
Aaliyah – Journey To The Past
Aaliyah – Back & Forth
Aaliyah – Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
Aaliyah – No One Knows How To Love Me Quite Like You Do
Aaliyah-The Thing I Like
Aaliyah feat. Missy Elliott & Timbaland – Hot Like Fire
Aaliyah & DMX – Back In One Piece