Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aaliyah Dana Haughton: January 16, 1979 - August 25, 2001

You never know how you're going to feel when someone dies. I think we all assume if we don't personally know the person, then we won't feel too torn up about it. That's what I thought. I was wrong, I was so very very wrong.
Aaliyah died 8 years ago and I've never gotten over it. I can't....I don't listen to her music or watch her movies cause whenever I try it makes me so depressed. Every year I remember how I felt on this day. Every year it's like she dies all over again, except every year it has a little less impact on me emotionally, but it still hurts like hell.
So I don't want to focus on the pain. But rather do what I usually do: introduce or further educate some people on an artist they may not know about. And this is extra special because I think most people that read my blog are mostly into Indie Rock, as am I. But if you want to know what I listened to before I discovered Rock, Aaliyah is a good place to start.
I was 7 when I became a die hard Aaliyah fan! Tiny little fanboy I was! She was a hardcore tomboy yet SO pretty and graceful! I wanted to be just like her! I was in awe of everything she did! I couldn't believe she was from Detroit. I had hometown pride at a young age! Then in 1996 when One In A Million came out and she was everywhere, living in Detroit was like living on a fan base. Everyone had her poster in their room and everyone said only positive things about her. In 1999 she performed at the Oscars in a dress she got at Eastland! Eastland Mall, if you lived in "The D" you would know how hood that is. I mean it was the Oscars and she was huge she didn't have to do that but to her, a dress was a dress.
That one act was a testament to who she was. She was "cool". Everyone wanted to be her friend. I've run into so many of her friends from high school and they say she never let the success get to her head. I remember the day after she died someone said on a radio call in that she came to their birthday party and as a present got them something they had casually mentioned to her in passing. I mean at this point she has sold over 10 million records and she's in Detroit attending an old friend's birthday party! Amazing! She even continued to go school here through all this; graduated with honors!
She always did the opposite of what was considered cool at the time. Dressing like a boy, DEFINITELY not cool when she started doing it back in '94. Also around the time One In A Million came out there was all this controversy surrounding Tommy Hilfiger's clothing line. It was rumored that he said he only made his clothes for white people. So what does Aaliyah do? She models for Tommy Hilfiger...again..AMAZING!
In 2000 Aaliyah made history as the first artist to top the Billboard 100 chart solely on radio airplay with "Try Again", a song that also earned her a Grammy nomination. The video for that same song also earned her a MTV VMA. I've never heard an Aaliyah track I didn't at least like a little bit lol. Artists like that are so rare.
Her last record was doing well, but as expected upon her death sales sky rocketed, reaching over 24 million, why can't we appreciate people while they're here? She died in a plane crash with 8 other people, including the pilot after shooting a video for "Rock The Boat", off her last record.
She was indeed phenomenal if you're keeping up; her debut record went double platinum, her sophomore record sold ever 8 million worldwide and her last over 24 million worldwide. She was so much more than R&B, constantly experimenting with Pop and Rock elements in her music. Perhaps this is why she was deemed the "Queen of Urban Pop".
Here's my favorite song off her last record, Aaliyah:

1 comment:

Firebolt said...

J, this was such a heartfelt post. I have only heard of Aaliyah but never listened to her music. I'll definitely check her out. She seems so amazing.