Today marks what would have been the 32nd birthday of one of the most loved R’n’B singers – Aaliyah. Flying home to America from the Bahamas after wrapping up the video for “Rock The Boat“, Aaliyah (along with 8 others) died tragically in a plane crash almost 10 years ago on August 25, 2001 aged just 22 years old.
Admittedly I only started taking notice of Aaliyah after seeing my teenage hearthrobGinuwine in the video for one of her most popular songs – “One In A Million“. After that, I was hooked! I loved how she seemed tom-boyish yet stunningly beautiful at the same time; she always seemed so humble, so grounded, so down-to-earth.
I remember the day I found out Aaliyah died; I was 15, it was a Sunday at my grandmother’s house in the UK, Channel 5 muted (as I was recording some vocals at the time and coincidentally it was to her “Try Again” instrumental ) – as I started singing, I saw the caption on the TV read “R’n’B singer Aaliyah has died“.
I cannot even put into words how I felt at the time; I mean I didn’t know her but I felt so hurt for some reason. I still don’t get why I felt like that because I was never a ‘stan’ – I just loved her music and loved her as an artiste and I still do but I was never an obsessive fan.
Aaliyah was laid to rest six days after her death on August 31, 2001 – where family, friends, peers, and fans alike turned up to pay their final respects to their Princess of R’n’B.