When a life is cut short, no matter who it is, you will always remember what could have been.  After filming the music video for “Rock The Boat” in the Bahamas, Aaliyah and her crew boarded a twin-engine Cessna plane, the plane exploded about 200 feet away from the runway, killing Aaliyah and the other passengers on board on August 25th, 2001.  Toxicology reports found traces of cocaine and alcohol in the pilot’s system and the FAA deemed the plane unsafe for flight.  Over 800 mourners attended her funeral on August 31st, including Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Gladys Knight, Lil’ Kim, and Sean Combs.  Madness To Creation remembers the artistry and sultry vocals that Aaliyah possessed in her music.  Here is some facts about her career.

How Aaliyah got discovered:

  1.  Gladys Knight asked her to perform some shows with her after seeing a 10 year old Aaliyah on Star Search.  Aaliyah also auditioned for the T.G.I.F. sitcom Family Matters.
  2. Aaliyah received her first record deal via Blackground Records at the age of 12.
  3. Her debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” sold over three million copies at the age of 14.
  4. Aaliyah married R. Kelly at the age of 15, and the marriage was annulled in 1995.
  5. Her cover of “At Your Best (You Are Love)” originally done by The Isley Brothers, became her first top ten single.  The single went gold.
  6. She signed with Atlantic Records and worked with Timbaland and Missy Elliott to release “One In A Million”.  Sold 8 million copies worldwide!  All of this she accomplished before she graduated high school from Detroit’s Fine Performing Arts School.
  7. Became an actress in “New York Undercover”, appeared on the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack and the Anastasia Disney soundtrack.
  8. Landed her first film role for “Romeo Must Die” alongside Jet Li.
  9. “Try Again” became her biggest hit.  Hit #1 on Billboard based on airplay alone! Before the video was even released!  She won two awards from MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy nomination for the song in 2000.
  10. Her self-titled album, Aaliyah, debuted at #2 in 2001.  Despite the high debut, her main single “We Need A Resolution” only peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  11. Aaliyah starred in “Queen of the Damned”, wanted a break from music because record companies kept rushing her to put out music.

Aaliyah’s legacy:

Aaliyah’s voice epitomized what was right with R&B music in the 1990’s and up to her death in 2001.  Aaliyah had such a mature voice for her age.  I did not realize that she was only 14 when she released “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number”.  Gladys Knight, R. Kelly, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot all played a crucial role in developing her as an artist.  What was appreciated about Aaliyah is that she served the song with her voice.  She never tried to do too much, she wanted to sound as authentic as possible with her smooth and sultry R&B voice.  I will always remember growing up to the songs “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” and “One In A Million”.  “Try Again” was such a guilty pleasure song as well but I felt that is where she peaked in her career.  Sometimes, record companies can overexpose an artist and that is what was beginning to happen to Aaliyah in 2001 when it felt like the music was rushed and didn’t seem as real.  I also think that Aaliyah wanted to get into acting to give her another creative outlet for her music, sometimes venturing into another performing arts allows the artist to become more well-rounded as a singer and a performer.

The R&B world of today needs class back and Aaliyah exuded class into her music and into the songs that she sang, along with the choreography in her music videos.  When I think of R&B in the 1990’s/early 2000’s, I think of En Vogue and Aaliyah, along with Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston almost immediately.  I will always think of Aaliyah’s life being cut short at age 22 due to that plane crash and I will always wonder what could have been with her career.  Madness To Creation rates her an 8 out of 10 for the impact that she made on the R&B world and R&B artists still cite her as a major influence in their music to this day.  RIP Aaliyah!  Madness To Creation thanks you for the impact that you made on the music world, Aaliyah!

“Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” by Aaliyah

“Try Again” by Aaliyah



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