Born on January 16, 1979 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, sometimes referred to as the “Princess of R&B,” was an American singer and actress who debuted in the early ‘90s. In 1989, at age ten, she appeared on the American talent television show, Star Search. In 1994, she made her debut in the music industry with her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.
In 1996, she signed to Atlantic Records and released her sophomore album, One in a Million, which featured music production from Timbaland and songwriting from Missy Elliott. The album had singles, “One in a Million,” “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “4 Page Letter,” and more. Though her music career was evolving, Aaliyah continued her education, being homeschooled by her mother and eventually graduating from the Detroit Performing Arts High School in 1997, with a 4.0 GPA. That same year, “Journey to the Past” was released as part of the 1997 film, Anastasia’s soundtrack. The song later received a nomination for “Music (Original Song)” at the 70th Academy Awards in 1998. “Are You That Somebody?” was released a year later, in 1998, for the film, Doctor Dolittle. By the end of the ‘90s, she had established her career, receiving RIAA Gold certifications for singles “Back & Forth,” “At Your Best (You Are Love),” and “One in a Million.”
After releasing two successful albums, Aaliyah made her debut as an actress in the year 2000. She starred as the role of Trish O'Day alongside actor Jet Li in the Warner Bros film, Romeo Must Die. The film’s soundtrack featured songs by Destiny’s Child, Ginuwine, Playa, Timbaland & Magoo, and the hit single, “Try Again,” which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for thirty-one weeks, based just on radio play. In July 2001, Aaliyah released her long-awaited self-titled album, Aaliyah. The album featured singles, “We Need A Resolution,” “Rock the Boat,” and “More Than A Woman.”
On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah was tragically killed in a plane crash in The Bahamas. She had just finished filming the music video for her then soon-to-be single, “Rock the Boat.” She won a number of posthumous awards, including winning two awards at the American Music Awards. Before her tragic death, she was casted for the role of “Zee” in films, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, but she did not get to finish her scenes, so her role had to be recasted. Her sophomore and final film, Queen of the Damned, was later released posthumously on February 22, 2002.
After a long absence of Aaliyah’s music catalog not being able to stream on streaming platforms, her music finally become available in the months of August-October 2021.