Teen sensation Aaliyah (1979-2001) brought a passion for life to millions with her singing and dancing. "Music was my first love," she once said.
Born Aaliyah Dana Haughton in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in Detroit. "I've been singing all my life," she explained. "I sang in my church and school and my parents gave me vocal lessons."
Aaliyah, whose name means "the highest most exalted one"in Swahili, got her big-time break at age 11, collaborating with legendary soul singer Gladys Knight onstage in Las Vegas.
About success, she explained: "Keep working hard and you can get anything that you want. If God gave you the talent, you should go for it. But don't think it's going to be easy. It's hard!"
With artistic mastery beyond her years, the young singer gained international fame with her first record Age Ain't Nothing But a Number (1994).
With the best-selling follow-up, One in a Million, the hip-hop singer had two platinum albums and two number one singles before she graduated from high school in 1997. "I want people to remember me as a full on entertainer and a good person,"she said.
With dreams of becoming the next Barbra Streisand, Aaliyah starred in the motion pictures Romeo Must Die (2000) and Queen of the Damned (2002, by Anne Rice). She was wrapping up her latest music video when her plane crashed in the Bahamas. It ended her life, but not her music.
"I don't think about my success. I'm happy that the work I've done in the past has been very successful. All I can do is leave it in God's hands and hope my fans feel where I'm coming from. I took the time to give my all,"she reflected.
"She was like one of my daughters,"praised record producer Quincy Jones. "She was one of the sweetest girls in the world."
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