August 25th. The year was 2001. 14 years ago, the news began to reach the public that Aaliyah Haughton had passed away.
Flying back to the US from shooting her latest music video for song Rock The Boat in the Abaco islands, Aaliyah, 7 of her entourage and the pilot didn’t make it back to Florida as their plane crashed, killing all on board.
Tributes poured in for the R&B artist that had recently been nominated Best Female R&B Vocalist at the Grammys for Try Again, a song written for her debut in the film Romeo Must Die.
For 10 hours, Aaliyah’s music and videos were played on East 42nd Street as a public tribute. Sales rose as her fans bought the album Aaliyah, which had been released a month prior to her death. At the age of 22, Aaliyah – a star rising not just in music but also in film – continued her success posthumously. A number 1 in the UK came with the release of More Than A Woman, a song which made her the first female artist to reach the top of the UK charts posthumously.
Despite being in the industry for a small amount of time compared to her fellow iconic artists, Aaliyah made a name for herself in the R&B genre with hits like One In A Million, We Need A Resolution, Don’t Know What To Tell Ya and Are You That Somebody.
BET made a short behind the scenes video for Rock The Boat in 2001. Little did they know, this would be the last music video that Aaliyah would shoot. The video was shown after her death.
Her talent is still known today – not just because of the hits that she released during her time – but also because of her posthumous collaborations with R&B artists that were inspired by her, like Chris Brown (listen to Don’t Think They Know here) and Drake (Enough Said can be heard here).
Timbaland, who worked with Aaliyah on a number of projects and was a close friend of hers, revealed a couple of weeks ago that he has possession of unreleased, previously unheard Aaliyah songs. He teased that the music is currently in the pipeline as he said a ‘sneak peek’ will be coming soon.
With new music surely on its way and Aaliyah trending on Twitter on the anniversary of her death, Aaliyah’s mark in the music industry will always be remembered. Over a decade later we are still listening to her music and remembering her contribution to the music industry. Her name is still mentioned in music artist’s inspirations, the impact that she made on her fans still lives on, and her music still sounds good to this day.
Check out the 12 Aaliyah songs that XXL considers her most iconic, which includes her collabs with DMX, Lil Kim, Nas and Missy Elliott here.