Ten years ago today the music industry lost a world superstar-in-the-making when a private jet crashed in the Bahamas taking with it the life of Aaliyah Dana Haughton, aged just 22.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on 16 January 1979, Aaliyah’s illustrious 10-year career began after she scored a record deal with Jive before she was even a teenager. Going on to achieve chart success on the Billboard 100 from the off, she took that TLC/SWV/Salt’N’Pepa/Brandy Vs. Monica brand of mid-’90s popular R&B and added her own bandana-wearing, sunglasses-sporting, midriff-baring swagger. Debuting in 1994 with radio-friendly, R Kelly-produced single Back & Forth she not only hit Number 1 on the US R&B chart, but had transatlantic success scoring inside the UK singles chart’s Top 20.
Following this, Aaliyah sold three million copies in the US alone of her first album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number but caught some unwanted attention due to allegations she had entered into an illegal marriage with notorious bad boy R Kelly. It wouldn’t be long, however, before she’d sign to Atlantic Records, with whom she’d go on to achieve even greater feats on Missy Elliott-featuring follow-up album One In A Million (1996) – a record which would launch the prolific career of its producer, Timbaland.