Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001) was an African-American R&B singer. Professionally known as simply Aaliyah, she also branched out into acting before her death in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.
Life and career
Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Signing to her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground label in 1993, Aaliyah released her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, in 1994. The album eventually reached platinum status and featured the successful singles "Back And Forth", "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number," and "At Your Best (You Are Love)," a cover of a 1976 Isley Brothers single.
It was briefly rumored that in 1994, when she was 15, she was married to singer/songwriter R. Kelly, the producer of Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. VIBE magazine published a copy of their marriage certificate in 1995, claiming that Aaliyah falsified her age and claimed she was 18 so that she and Kelly could be married, and that both parties had the marriage quickly annuled when the press found out about the union. Neither party ever publicly admitted to the union, and R. Kelly did not work on any of Aaliyah's future recordings.
One In A Million (1996)
One In A Million, Aaliyah's second album, was chiefly written and produced by then-unknowns Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott and Tim "Timbaland" Mosley, and released in late 1996. The album eventually went double platinum, making Aaliyah a major star, and igniting the highly successful careers of Elliott and Timbaland. One In A Million featured the international smash hit, "If Your Girl Only Knew," the platinum single "One In A Million," and the gold single "The One I Gave My Heart To," a ballad written by Diane Warren. Other singles from the album included "4 Page Letter" and "Hot Like Fire". During this period, Aaliyah would also make guest appearances on albums by artists such as Missy Elliott, Timbaland & Magoo, Ginuwine, and Playa, and Elliott, Timbaland, and Playa's frontman Steve "Static" Garrett would remain Aaliyah's principal collaborators for the duration of her career.
Movie roles and soundtracks
In 1997, Aaliyah apeared on the soundtrack album from the 1997 animated feature Anastasia, singing the pop version of "Journey To The Past". The song was nominated for an Academy Award, and Aaliyah performed the song at the 1997 Academy Awards ceremony. She was the youngest ever to do a soundtrack for a Disney film.
In 1998, Aaliyah had a huge hit with "Are You That Somebody," the main single from the Doctor Doolittle soundtrack album. Its video was the third most played on MTV that year, and the song's success began to make Aaliyah a household name.
In 2000, she co-starred in the martial-arts film Romeo Must Die with Jet Li. The film was notable for its mainstream success despite featuring Asian and African American characters in the lead roles and having few white Americans in the cast. Aaliyah contributed four songs to the film's soundtrack album, including "Back In One Piece," a duet with DMX (who has a minor role in Romeo Must Die), and the international smash, "Try Again." "Try Again" was the first song ever to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart based solely on the strength of its radio airplay, without any single sales factored in (there was no single released for consumer purchase).
"We Need A Resolution," the first single from her double-platinum third album, Aaliyah, was released in spring of 2001. The album was a critical success, and the video for "We Need A Resolution" received heavy MTV2 play. Most of Aaliyah was recorded in Australia, as the singer was filming scenes for her second and final movie role, that of Queen Akasha in Queen of the Damned, released by Warner Bros. in 2002.
"We Need A Resolution" was the last Aaliyah video released before her passing. She also filmed a video for the song "More Than A Woman," before it was decided that "Rock The Boat" would become Aaliyah's second single.
"Rock The Boat" video shoot
Aaliyah traveled to the Bahamas in August 2001 to film the "Rock The Boat" video with director Hype Williams. After shooting had wrapped, Aaliyah and her entourage boarded a small airplane, which was to take them to Miami, Florida. The plane took off, but quickly descended and crashed in the forest. All nine people aboard, including Aaliyah, the pilot, and the other seven passengers, were either killed by the crash or died later at the hospital. It was later determined by investigators that the plane was overloaded by several hundred pounds and an autopsy revealed cocaine and alcohol in the pilot's blood.
Aaliyah's untimely death deeply affected her family, friends (including Timbaland and Missy Elliott), fans, and the entertainment industry as a whole, which almost unanimously praised Aaliyah as an inspirational and talented individual. "Rock the Boat" went on to become an enormous posthumous hit on radio and video channels, and the tragic news of Aaliyah's death gave her album a remarkable sales boost, pushing it to #1 on Billboard. The album's two subsequent singles, "More Than A Woman" and "I Care 4 U," were also posthumous smash hits, the latter attaining great success even without the promotional push of a music video.
In 2002, a posthumous greatest hits collection, I Care 4 You, was released in Aaliyah's name. In addition to well-known hits, it also included a number of previously unreleased songs from the Blackground vaults that Aaliyah had recorded over the course of her career, including "Miss You," which became the album's lead single. Its video features Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Toni Braxton, and DMX, among others, paying tribute to Aaliyah.
- During Aaliyah's 1995 European tour she gave British director Pogus Caesar exclusive access to film a mini documentary for Windrush Productions TV series Xpress . Shooting footage in and around Amsterdam, Aaliyah spoke about family, influences and the rumours of her marriage to R&B star R Kelly. Performing at the Escape Club with her live band Aaliyah mesmerized the audience with songs from her chart topping LP Age Ain't Nothing But A Number.
- Aaliyah and former Beatle George Harrison made UK Chart History in January 2002 when they scored the first, and to this date only, back to back posthumous number one hits when Aaliyah's "More than a Woman" (released on January 7 and topped the chart on January 13) was followed by George's "My Sweet Lord" (re-released on January 14 and topped the chart on January 20).
- LyricsQuest.com: All 'Aaliyah' Lyrics
- Open Directory category for Aaliyah
- Film clip of Aaliyah in Amsterdam in 1995.
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