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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
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

1. Intro

2. Throw Your Hands Up

3. Back & Forth

4. Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

5. Down With The Clique

6. At Your Best (You Are Love)

7. No One Knows How To Love Me Quite Like You Do

8. I'm So Into You

9. Street Thing

10. Young Nation

11. Old School

12. I'm Down

Similar Artists

Comments

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����
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Miss her so much. Aaliyah forever��
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Such an angelic voice.... Love you Aaliyah and clearly you are missed... Sleep well my sista... : }
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This song will always be one of my all-time slow jams..."I put that on everything!"
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Don't read this you will be kisses in the nearest Friday by the love of your life tomorrow will be the best day of your life now that you've been reading this don't stop if you ignore it you. Will have bad luck. Post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes when your done press the space bar and your crush name will appear in big letters on your screen it's freaky cause it actually works
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�������� RIP your truly one in a million ☺️
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They made a movie on Aaliyah
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I really wish they would've made a movie about her life. RIP AALIYAH u were one in a million baby girl
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Love Aaliyah you were my favorite artist hope you are in heaven��
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Gotta love em R.I.P baby girl
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lilililbelle 0 9
I was named after you R.I.P my name is Aaliyah too
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R.I.P beautiful angel
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I am new to her music, and I like it. It is a shame that there will be no more.
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Missing you, I was 6 when you passed.... Now I'm 21. Time fly's, hope you're at peace. You live in through us your fans ❤❤❤❤
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Such beautiful music! So sad!!:-/ RIP we will always remember you!!!:-)
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She'll always be the sexest to me
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Actually she died in 2001
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R.I.Paradise with yxur fine self...
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miss aaliyah so much and her music
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c_pettawayii i
May your music live on forever :-)
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Rest in peace, we will never know how far her music could of gone. :-/
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R.I.P #Angel (wonderful artist)
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why did u have to leave. We all miss you Aaliyah. CRY CRY��
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Aaliyah had all the females in school showing their boxers and wearing their bangs over one eye haha. Trendsetter
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Miss Aaliyah Sooo much!
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I miss you come back.��
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Amen RIP Aaliyah
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Miss you aaliyah
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I will forever miss you Aaliyah...
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Don't stop this is freaky! But if you read this and ignore it you will get bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen. This is so creepy because it actually works
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tyneishabey
Love Aaliyah favorite song writing RIP��������� � ������������
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Aaliyah was headed for superstardom before her untimely death....R.I . P .
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She died in 2002 and I was born on in 2002 that's why I say r.i.p
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I love me some Aaliyah. R.I.P my love.
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I love her so much rip aaliyah
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Kiss your left hand
Say your crushes name
Close your hand
Say a day
Posts this on 15 other songs
Your crush will ask you out
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She is and a great singer i miss her dearly she is in a better place now ............ . . . . . . . . .
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Rest in peace Aaliyah we will miss you you are my favorite singer
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Rip
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I have to listen to her at least everyday.
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She is my favorite-RIP
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R.I.P #1OFTHEBEST2 C O M E A N D G O
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Rip Aaliyah you were amazing happy birthday u will always be missed
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R.I.P
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I love her song RIP
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Happy b-day and love all of your songs
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R.i.p alliyah miss u be a angel me and my mom miss u and are your biggest fan dont listen to haters who said r.i.h dont listen i love u ������������
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love it !!!!!!!!
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#1fan
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She was a amazing young lady trying, I loved all of her music....RIP . . . . .
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