Yesterday would have been the sweet and angelic R& B singer, Aaliyah’s 32nd birthday. It’s hard to believe that she passed away ten years ago but her beautiful spirit lives on and our memories can’t be erased. Drake recently shared how much of an influence Aalyiah had on his music and revealed he probably would have tried to date her if she was with us today.
Aaliyah has had probably the most impact on my career because when I made a choice to start singing it was because of something that my father had told me which was, ‘There’s no rapper out there that sings and raps and does both things well… and in order to be successful you’re gonna need something other than just what everyone else is doing’.
I was rapping already at the time so I had an identity in rap, but when I started singing I needed something to reference. I needed someone to be like, I wanna be like that. I didn’t want it ever to be a male because then I would sound like that person, so I just found comfort in all of Aaliyah’s music and her melody choices and the things that she talks about and how she always conveyed these amazing emotions but never got too sappy, she always kept it G.
She almost spoke from a guy’s perspective at points and she’d say things that were funny, things that were witty… I felt like that was the first time I could really sing a woman’s lyrics and not feel like I was singing a woman’s lyrics because she was speaking generally. That had the biggest influence on my music because as much as my music may be geared towards women … I try not to make it so that only women can sing it. I try to put pieces in where guys don’t feel uncomfortable singing a song about women… and I get that from Aaliyah.
She taught me that there’s a certain way to make music so that it can be appreciated by a lot of people. Aside from that, she just made phenomenal music and she was beautiful and she was a girl that I fell in love with early in my life – I feel like if she was still here I would probably be pursuing her in a major way, you know, because I was truly in love with her very early on.
Last year on the anniversary of her death, Drake wrote a heartfelt letter that expressed his feelings for the beautiful soul and captured the hearts of many.