Today we look back and celebrate the short yet amazing life of Aaliyah Naughton, better simply known as Aaliyah. It would have been her 34th birthday today. Aaliyah sadly was taken away from us far too soon on August 25th, 2001 when her plane crashed after leaving the Bahamas where she shot her music video for "Rock The Boat".
Instead of focusing on the negative that surrounds that event, it is better to focus on the positive that Aaliyah brought to the world in such a short time on this planet. She catapulted the R&B movement in the early 90's with songs like "Back and Forth" and "At Your Best" with the help of Missy Elliott and R. Kelly to name a few. She hit ubiquity in 1996 when she matured 10 fold on her sophomore release "One In A Million" featuring the amazing title track and other songs like "Hot Like Fire" and "Five Page Letter".
Outside of her own albums, she contributed several award winning songs to movie soundtracks. The most known being her start-stop hip-hop tinged "Are You That Somebody?" featuring super producer Timbaland, off of the "Dr. Doolittle" soundtrack. That song earned Aaliyah her first Grammy nomination in 1998. The song "Journey To The Past" from "Anastacia" was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards that year. The song "Try Again" from her film "Romeo Must Die" was so large it earned her Best Female Video at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards over heavy competition from teen queens Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
2001 started off as an amazing year for her. Her third album, self titled, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 Albums chart in July of 2001. It was touted as the best R&B album released that year, starting off with the first track, the sexified "We Need A Resolution". Sadly a month later is when the world heard the news that she had passed in the Bahamas. Her album that week shot straight from number 19 to 1 and ended up selling three million copies. Both the second and third singles from the album- "Rock The Boat" and "We Need A Resolution" both were huge hits and well received, and would've have been regardless of the tragedy.
Since her passing there have been different songs and movies released that she filmed and recorded before her passing. Now there is news that a forthcoming album of unreleased tracks will be coming out soon. Regardless if that is true or not, Aaliyah truly was an amazing artist. She transcended the R&B and pop world and was one of the few artists who never had any drama or tabloid-esque type of an appearance which seems to be the common thing these days. A lot of singers, both male and female, should take notes about how she handled her career and make it a daily ritual to be like her. I believe if Aaliyah was still with us in the physical sense the music industry would be for the better in so many ways. RIP Aaliyah, as cliche as it sounds, you really were One in a Million.