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R&B singer, talented actress, and emergent soul diva - by the age of 22, Aaliyah had accomplished more than most dream of, and seemed destined for the heights of super-stardom. Her carefully cultivated air of mystique reflected a long-term approach to her carrer, and it was assumed that she would take up the mantle of beautiful and multi-talented artists such as Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Sade. Then on August 25th 2001, the unthinkable happened: Aaliyah died in a plane crash. Since then, death has bought Aaliyah the mainstream attention she deserved in life, and has established her as a black icon for the fans who had always been dedicated to her music. Aaliyah tells the story of this precocious talent, detailing her childhood in Detroit, where she attended stage school and became an assured performer, performing in Las Vegas by the age of 11 and securing a record deal at the age of 12. By age 15, she had her first No. 1 hit and had become involved with her mentor, R&B producer R Kelly. In the early 90s Aaliyah staked her claim as one of R&B's leading female vocalists, prefiguring the millennial dominance of R&B and garage in the charts, and paving the way for a new generation of glamorous young female performers such as Destiny's Child and Alicia Keys. Aaliyah also covers her career as an actress, winning lead roles in blockbusters such as Romeo Must Die, Queen of the Damned, and The Matrix Reloaded, plus her hugely successful contributions to film soundtracks. Aaliyah's talent, combined with her youthful beauty and style, ensure that she will always be remembered.
Tim Footman is a writer and journalist who has contributed to Mojo, Time Out, Vox and The Guardian.