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Facts about Aaliyah
Biography for Aaliyah Dana HaughtonAaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 (34 years ago) – Aug. 25, 2001 (12 years ago)), who performed under the mononym Aaliyah, was an American recording artist, actress and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. At an early age, she appeared on Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah was signed to Jive Records and Blackground Records by her uncle, Barry Hankerson. He introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album. Age Ain't Nothing But a Number sold two million copies in the United States and was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed to Atlantic Records.
Aaliyah worked with record producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott for her second album, One in a Million, which sold two million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide. In 2000 (13 years ago), Aaliyah appeared in her first major film, Romeo Must Die. She also contributed to the film's soundtrack, where "Try Again" was released as a single. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 solely on radio airplay, making Aaliyah the first artist in Billboard history to achieve this feat. "Try Again" earned Aaliyah a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocalist.
After filming Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah filmed her part in Queen of the Damned. She released her third and final album, Aaliyah, in 2001 (12 years ago). On Aug. 25, 2001 (12 years ago), Aaliyah and eight others were killed in an airplane crash in The Bahamas after filming the music video for the single "Rock the Boat". The pilot, Luis Morales III, was unlicensed at the time of the accident and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Aaliyah's family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackhawk International Airways, which was settled out of court. Since then, Aaliyah has achieved commercial success with several posthumous releases. Selling over 24 million records worldwide, she has been credited for helping redefine R&B and hip hop and has been named the "Queen of Urban Pop".
Musical style and imageAaliyah had a vocal range of a soprano. With the release of her debut single "Back & Forth", Dimitri Ehrlich of Entertainment Weekly expressed that Aaliyah's "silky vocals are more agile than those of self-proclaimed queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige." Aaliyah described her sound as "street but sweet", which featured her "gentle" vocals over a "hard" beat. Though Aaliyah did not write any of her own material, her lyrics were described to be in-depth. She incorporated R&B, pop and hip hop into her music. Her songs were often uptempo and melancholy, revolving around matters of the heart. Her songs have been said to have "crisp production" and "staccato arrangements" that "extend genre boundaries" while containing "old-school" soul music. When experimenting with other genres, such as Latin pop and heavy metal, writers panned the attempt.
As her albums progressed, writers felt that Aaliyah matured, calling her progress a "declaration of strength and independence". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described her eponymous album, Aaliyah, as "a statement of maturity and a stunning artistic leap forward" and called it one of the strongest urban soul records of its time. She portrayed "unfamiliar sounds, styles and emotions", but managed to please critics with the contemporary sound it contained. Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone felt that Aaliyah reflected a stronger technique, where she gave her best vocal performance. Others felt that she was "satisfying rather than extraordinary", stating that she added little to modern R&B.
As an artist, Aaliyah often voiced that she was inspired by a number of performers. These include Michael Jackson (60 walls), Stevie Wonder, Sade, En Vogue, Nine Inch Nails, 'N Sync, Korn (4 walls), Britney Spears (80 walls), The Notorious B.I.G., Prince, Naughty by Nature, Johnny Mathis and Janet Jackson. Aaliyah expressed that Michael Jackson's Thriller was her "favorite album" and that "[n]othing will ever top Thriller." She stated that she admired Sade because "she stays true to her style no matter what... she's an amazing artist, an amazing performer... and I absolutely love her." Aaliyah expressed Janet Jackson—whom she had drawn frequent comparison to over the course of her career—was someone she had always desired to work with, stating "I admire her a great deal. She's a total performer... I'd love to do a duet with Janet Jackson." Jackson reciprocated Aaliyah's affections, commenting "I've loved her from the beginning because she always comes out and does something different, musically." Jackson also stated she would have enjoyed collaborating with Aaliyah.
Since the beginning of her career, Aaliyah focused on her public image. She often wore baggy clothes and sunglasses, stating that she "wanted to be me". She described her image (wallpaper) as being "important… to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack". She often wore black clothing, which led women in the United States and Japan to utilize her look. Aaliyah participated in fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger's All America Tour and was featured in Tommy Jean ads, which depicted her in boxer shorts, baggy jeans and a tube top. Hilfiger's brother, Andy, called it "a whole new look" that was "classy but sexy". When she changed her hairstyle, Aaliyah took her mother's advice to cover her left eye, much like Veronica Lake. In 1998 (15 years ago), Aaliyah hired a personal trainer to keep in shape. She exercised five days a week and ate diet foods. Aaliyah was praised for her "clean-cut image" and "moral values".
LegacyAaliyah 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." Steve Huey of Allmusic wrote Aaliyah ranks among the "elite" artists of the R&B genre, as she "played a major role in popularizing the stuttering, futuristic production style that consumed hip-hop and urban soul in the late '90s." Described as one of "R&B's most important artists" during the 1990s, her second studio album, One in a Million, became one of the most influential R&B albums of the decade. According to Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine, Aaliyah provided a "missing link between hip-hop and electronica". Having sold 8.1 million albums in the United States and over 24 million records worldwide, Aaliyah has been named the "Queen of Urban Pop" and "proved she was a muse in her own right". Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone dubbed her as the "undisputed queen of the midtempo come-on".
Aaliyah was honored at the 2001 (12 years ago) MTV Video Music Awards by Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine and her brother, Rashad, who all paid tribute to her. In the same year, the United States Social Security Administration ranked the name Aaliyah one of the 100 most popular names for newborn girls. Aaliyah was ranked as one of "The Top 40 Women of the Video Era" and "100 Sexiest Artists" in VH1's 2003 (10 years ago) The Greatest series. She was also ranked at number 18 on BET's "Top 25 Dancers of All Time". In memory of Aaliyah, the Entertainment Industry Foundation created the Aaliyah Memorial Fund to donate money raised to charities she supported.
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