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Aaliyah

A star in the R&B world before she was even out of her teens, Aaliyah's promising career was tragically cut short by her death in a plane crash at age 22. Even with only three albums under her belt, she'd already earned a place as a talented trendsetter among the R&B elite. Following a successful transition to a more mature image, Aaliyah played a major role in popularizing the stuttering, futuristic production style that consumed hip-hop and urban soul in the late '90s. Her work with Timbaland, especially, was some of the most forward-looking R&B of its time, even while the competing neo-soul movement was gaining prominence. Aaliyah's death came on the heels of her third and most accomplished album, making it especially unfortunate that she was robbed of a chance to continue her creative development.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born January 16, 1979, in Brooklyn, and named after a Swahili word meaning "most exalted one." Her uncle, Barry Hankerson, was a manager and entertainment lawyer who was married to Gladys Knight for a time, and her mother, also a singer, enrolled Aaliyah in voice lessons before she'd even started school. Still very young, she moved with her family to Detroit, where she sang in several school plays. At age nine, she successfully auditioned for the TV show Star Search, where she performed "My Funny Valentine" (and lost). Two years later, thanks to her uncle Hankerson's connections, she spent five nights in Las Vegas performing as part of Gladys Knight's revue. In addition to his niece, Hankerson was also managing a rising R&B star named R. Kelly, and introduced the two in 1992. Kelly soon took Aaliyah under his wing and began writing and producing songs for her.

Aaliyah's debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, was released in the summer of 1994 and quickly became a platinum-selling hit on the strength of two smash singles, "Back & Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)" (the latter an Isley Brothers cover). Both songs hit the pop Top Ten and went gold, and "Back & Forth" went all the way to number one on the R&B charts, while "At Your Best" fell one spot short. Late in the year, Aaliyah found herself at the center of controversy when rumors spread that the 15-year-old singer had married Kelly, who was more than ten years her senior. Although both camps were resolutely tight-lipped, documents later confirmed that the two had wed in the state of Illinois that August and gotten an annulment shortly thereafter. By the time the media buzz died down, the two had parted ways both personally and creatively.

In 1996, Aaliyah released her follow-up album, One in a Million, which signaled a newly emerging maturity. She worked with several different producers, most notably Timbaland, who co-wrote several tracks with his songwriting partner, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (soon to become a solo star in her own right). Several of these -- "If Your Girl Only Knew," "One in a Million," "4 Page Letter" -- became hits, with "If Your Girl Only Knew" going all the way to the top of the R&B charts. The Diane Warren-penned ballad "The One I Gave My Heart To" was also a Top Ten R&B hit, and One in a Million wound up going double platinum. In the meantime, Aaliyah graduated from high school (in 1997) and contributed several songs to film soundtracks. "Journey to the Past," from Anastasia, was nominated for an Oscar, and in early 1998 she had a major hit with "Are You That Somebody?" from Eddie Murphy's Dr. Dolittle (in which she also made a cameo appearance).

Aaliyah took her time recording a follow-up, and put the process completely on hold to start an acting career. She co-starred with martial-arts master Jet Li and rapper DMX in 2000's urban Shakespeare adaptation Romeo Must Die, and her accompanying soundtrack single, "Try Again," became her first number one hit on the pop charts that summer. Aaliyah subsequently completed filming on the Anne Rice vampire flick Queen of the Damned, playing the title role as a vampire queen, and was cast in a prominent role in the two sequels to The Matrix. Plus, she finally finished her long-awaited third album, with Timbaland again handling the most prominent tracks. Released in the summer of 2001, Aaliyah completed the singer's image overhaul into a sensual yet sensitive adult. The record received excellent reviews, and the first single, "We Need a Resolution," was a Top 20 R&B hit.

About a month after the album's release, Aaliyah traveled to the Bahamas to film a video for its second single, "Rock the Boat." On August 25, she and several members of the crew boarded a small twin-engine Cessna plane returning to the mainland. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, exploding on impact; Aaliyah and seven other passengers were killed instantly, and the ninth later died at a Nassau hospital. Investigations into the crash showed that the plane had been loaded far past its weight capacity, and that pilot Luis Morales had recently been arrested for crack cocaine possession (traces of which, along with alcohol, were found in his system); furthermore, the charter company, Blackhawk International Airways, had not authorized him to pilot the craft in question. Naturally, the R&B community reacted with an outpouring of shock and sorrow, and Aaliyah became the singer's only chart-topping album, eventually going double platinum. "Rock the Boat" and "More Than a Woman" were both posthumous Top Ten hits on the R&B chart, and Queen of the Damned was a commercial success upon its release in early 2002, topping the box office in its first week. As details continued to emerge from the plane crash investigation, Aaliyah's parents filed suit against Blackhawk Airways, Virgin Records, and several other companies. At the end of 2002, the posthumous album I Care 4 U entered the charts at number three; it mixed some of the singer's biggest hits with a selection of unreleased material. The title track was a Top 20 pop hit, and "Miss You" topped the R&B charts early the next year. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
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Comments

Hi just checking on my cousin
loveuchealwa y s x 3
Rest in peace beautiful angel
I'm mean mean I'm 9
I'm man Haughton
My name is Lilly Dana Houghton
Yeah she's my cousin
I'm sad you gone cousin
I'm overwhelmed
R.I.P girl we love h
You song is great
Miss U Chica!
�� a queen in the sky. Love you miss LIYAH.
I miss u has so many meanings. The world was so much more beautiful w/ u in it..... LUV U ALWAYS R.I.P. xoxox
R.I.P Baby Girl ! #1
By Deaunna to Aaliya I'm 9 but why did u have to die u had a pretty voice and still got it love u RIP
pmardar1996
It's already been 13 years. R.I.P Gorgeous.
symphonijohn s o n
I love u Aaliyah. You had such a beautiful voice . You are a great inspiration to my life . R.i.P babygirl #Gonebutneve r f o r g o t t e n
Rip girl
The best n most beautiful woman!
She was the best and shes still is the best. Beyoncé didn't stand a chance, so sad they took her away from us. Rest well baby girl.. The Legacy lives on through us.. the people who grew up with you.��
U were beautiful inside and out! Love your music u were one of the R n b singers of that time ( my favorite) I know if u was still here u would have been rocking it and keeping real music alive! U helped me get through some hard times and we were bless to have your graces upon us until god called you home. Miss you and love you still.... R.I.P our angel!!
such a beautiful voice and soul RIP
God bless you and your family may you RIP we will all miss you
U were the best momasita much love. Jujjyyyy
symphonijohn s o n
Love this song . Miss u babygirl
Rip I will miss u sis
I love in miss u boo
Miss u
Rip Aaliyah.I'm so sorry u died:( :( :(
Forever my wifey
R.I.P Babygirl
Rest in peace. May God and all the guardian angels have you singing in heaven to them. See you when my time comes. Much respect!
R .I. P missing u!
R.i.p i thank you for my name shaliyah
reginabivens
Keshia cole go
I miss u so much Aaliyah u will always be my favorite artist. Rip mama love u!!!
That's sad rest in paradise����
Rest in heaven my angel. Your talent and lovely voice still is my number one. You started something that others didn't want u to finish, I know you can't read this but its still worth being said. We love you,,,,,,,,, , , , , , to be continued
Rest in peace baby girl
YOURE LOVE IS A ONE IN A MILLION IT GOES ON AND ON AND ON <3
My favorite singer of all time
dajuanmcclus t e r 0
We miss u and love u rest in peace
Miss u so much!!!
Resting in paradise baby girl
Rip love you
cscott3881
we loved u
ANYBODY CAN I COME
OVER !........ loll
RIP AaLiyah
Love you
Aaliyah was a legend and its so sad we lost her so soon. Keep her alive by listening and believing.
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