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It’s Been 10 Years Since her Death: Remembering Aaliyah [w/ PLAYLIST]

Born in Brooklyn, Aaliyah Haughton was moved to Detroit at an early age, where her parents provided her with a vocal instructor before she was even old enough to attend school. Her public singing career was initiated at the ripe old age of 9, the young singer making an unsuccessful bid on the televised pissing contest Star Search; the loss didn’t break her stride in the least, and by 11 she was performing in Las Vegas as a part of Gladys Knight’s act. The combination of good lungs, training and inside connections moved things along quickly, and after an uncle (fortuitously placed as CEO of the Blackground management company) introduced her to one of the artists in his stable – R&B singer R. Kelly — the 15-year-old’s recording career was underway. Kelly went on to write and produce most of the debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, which, released in 1994 on Blackground Records (a new label created by her uncle specifically to provide a outlet for her debut) launched Aaliyah into the charts with 2 top ten singles.

Following the success of the record, Aaliyah embarked upon an extensive world tour before returning to complete her education. During this time a controversy surrounding her relationship to Kelly (some sources claiming they had married despite her status as a minor) was stirred up by the press; both denied a romantic link of any kind, but the gossip brought their working relationship to an end regardless. For the next album, Aaliyah enlisted the services of then-mostly-unknown producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott: a combination that would send the careers of all three into the stratosphere with its resultant One in a Million (1996). With this second album, she would score her first #1 single (If Your Girl Only Knew) and establish herself as a multi-platinum artist.

Tribute to Aaliyah- Miss U video

Over the next two years, Aaliyah kept herself in the public consciousness with contributions to the soundtracks for the animated film Anastasia (earning her an Oscar nomination) and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Doctor Dolittle (earning her a Grammy nomination). The inevitable move from the soundtrack to the film itself was made in 2000, when producer Joel Silver enlisted her as one of the lead actors in the action film Romeo Must Die; the popularity of the film would later bring about a role in Queen of the Damned (released in 2002) and prospective roles in the sequels to The Matrix (which she was never able to pursue).

Eventually the singer returned to the studio, her 2001 eponymous release again making use of the skills of Elliott and Timbaland. The combination proved as potent as ever, and her third record effectively repeated the success of One in a Million. Shortly after completing her scenes for Queen of the Damned later that year, however, Aaliyah’s career was brought to a premature end when a chartered plane bound for Miami from a video shoot in the Bahamas crashed near the airport, killing everyone on board. Source