When she was 5 years old Aaliyah and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan. When she was 10 she appeared on the TV talent show 'Star Search'. She performed her mother's favorite song, "My Funny Valentine" and although she did not win, she continued to perfect her skills. Aaliyah got to travel with Gladys Knight, and worked with an agent in New York and auditioned for TV shows, including one you may know called 'Family Matters'. (Imagine Laura being played by Aaliyah) In 1997 she graduated from the Detroit School of Arts with a 4.0 GPA.
Going back to 1993 when Aaliyah was 14, she was signed to her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground Records. By the time she was 15 she released her first album 'Age Ain't Nothing but a Number.' The album which went platinum in months was in part due to leading songwriter and producer of the album R. Kelly, Aaliyah's mentor. 'Age Ain't Nothing but a Numner' featured the gold-selling singles "Back and Forth," "At your Best," and a song which was a cover of 'The Isley Brothers' 1976 song and also the album titled track "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number." To date, the album has sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. and nearly 10 million worldwide.
Aaliyah's second album 'One in a Million' was mostly written by Missy Elliot and Timothy Mosely, better know as 'Timbaland.' The album was released on August 27th, 1996, Aaliyah was 17 years old at the Time. 'One in a Million' went double-platinum making a Aaliyah a major R&B artist and jump starting the careers of then unknown Missy Elliot and Timbaland. The three had a very close relationship throughout the rest of Aaliyah's life. Aaliyah's first endorsement deal was given to her by Tommy Hilfiger. He signed her onto everything from print campaigns to a commercial. While all this was going on Aaliyah also made guest appearances on the albums of Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Magoo, Ginuwine and an artist named Playa. 'One in a Million' Has sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. and over 11 million worldwide to date.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton
In 2001 Aaliyah's highly-anticipated third album was released. The first single off the album was "We Need a Resolution" and the album was self-titled, 'Aaliyah.' The Album which was a huge success was released on July 17th, 2001. The album introduced a darker and edgier side to Aaliyah's music and was mentioned to have showcased her growth as an artist. Selling over 187,000 copies in its first week the album was certified gold within four weeks. In the summer of that year Aaliyah filmed the video for the intended second single, "More than a Woman." Besides the video being completed another song, "Rock Da Boat" was recieving major attention and finally it was decided that it should be the second single. So the video for "More Than a Woman" was shelved.
At 6:45pm on August 25th, 2001, shorty after finishing the filming of the video to "Rock the Boat", Aaliyah and various members of her record company boarded a twin engine plane at Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas to then go to Opa-locka airport near Miami, Florida. Thier flight was originally scheduled for the next day but seeing as how the video had been wrapped earlier than expected Aaliyah and her entourage were eager to return back home to the US. In a rush to get back to New York, her crew demanded that all of thier heavy equipment from the shoot be borded on the plane which resulted in the plane being beyond standard weight and balance tolerance provided by the airline.
Shortly after takeoff, about 200 feet from the runway the plane Crashed. Aaliyah and the eight other passengers on the flight were all killed. According to the finding of the coroner's office in the Bahama, Aaliyah suffered from severe burns and a blow to the head, this was all in addition to severe shock. It was theorized by the coroner that even if she had survived the crash her recovery would have been vitually impossible.
Til this day I still remember what I was doing when I found out about Aaliyah's untimely death. I was at a BBQ at an aunt's house. Me and my cousin Perse had been chillen in the front yard under the nightfall enjoyin the summer evening breeze while all our little cousins ran around like children do. Perse recieved a call from a friend of ours, Leticia. She told Ant(Perse) the news and we were both in shock. We called our friend Chris shortly to confirm but I dont remember what he said. Regardless, I was a huge Aaliyah fan and couldn't, rather I didn't want to believe it was true. The Next morning I heard the official reporting on Hot 97 and I knew then that we had lost an Angel on earth. I remember a vigil held for her at 7pm a few days after, (Possibly the night of her funeral) R.I.P Aaliyah, you'll forever be missed and through me you'll forever be remembered.