Singer, musician, composer, actress, dancer, businesswoman, role model and leader – Aaliyah had accomplished incredible things by the time she turned 22. But Aaliyah Dana Houghton, the reigning Queen of Urban Pop, wasn’t sitting still. She was hard at work, shooting her next video, when a plane crash ended her life on August 25 – leaving her family, friends and fans to ask “How?” and “Why?”
“Behind the Music: Aaliyah” traces the all-too-brief life story of this soaring young superstar when the latest episode of VH1’s Emmy-nominated hit series debuts on Sunday, October 14 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
“Behind the Music: Aaliyah” features rare and never-before-seen archive video, film and home movie footage, concert clips and songs, plus new interviews with Gladys Knight, Mary J. Blige, Blackground Records CEO Barry Hankerson, video director Wayne Isham and BET producer Kevin Taylor, as well as Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Houghton, her high-school principal Ms. Denise Davis-Coton, and math teacher Mark Bonder, among others.
As part of “Behind the Music: Aaliyah,” VH1.com has put together a comprehensive news special recapping the singer’s impressive career including an exclusive interview with Aaliyah just months prior to her untimely death. VH1.com is also featuring the most recent news surrounding Aaliyah including artist tributes and a complete listing of fan reactions and thoughts from VH1.com’s Aaliyah message boards. Fans can also learn more about the famed singer through the site’s dedicated photo gallery, biography, album reviews, and more.
The music world has lost a major talent whose unique and classy style opened new doors for Urban artists. “Behind the Music” tracks Aaliyah’s life from her Brooklyn roots and her early years in Detroit, where she made her onstage debut as an orphan in “Annie” at age six. A few years later, Aaliyah competed in Ed McMahon’s “Star Search;” although she did not win, she landed a five-night gig in Las Vegas performing with he aunt, music legend Gladys Knight.
Aaliyah’s debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” was released when she was only 15 years old. But her success was soon overshadowed by media reports that she had married her producer, R. Kelly. Despite the controversy, Aaliyah came back with the 1996 album “One in a Million,” praised by critics as “consistently satisfying” and “Seductive.” Now on the fast track, the young singer surprised many by taking a break from the business and excelling in the classroom, graduating from Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts with a 4.0 GPA.
In March 2000, Aaliyah earned critical plaudits with her big-screen debut in the hit thriller “Romeo Must Die,” and she quickly became a hot property in Hollywood, being tapped to star in the long-awaited film version of Anne Rice’s “The Queen of the Damned” (which is slated for upcoming release). Meanwhile, her third album, “Aaliyah,” released earlier this year, was lauded as one of the “Strongest urban records of its time” for its groundbreaking blend of urban, R&B and pop.
In August, Aaliyah traveled to Abaco Island in The Bahamas to shoot a music video. On August 25, she took her seat on a twin-engine airplane for her return to the U.S. The plane crashed moments after takeoff, killing all nine on board. While the crash is still under investigation, reports have surfaced alleging that the plane was far overloaded with passengers and equipment, and that the pilot was not certified to fly the Cessna 402B.
On August 31, thousands of fans turned out for Aaliyah’s final procession, in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Brooklyn to her funeral at St. Ignatius Loyola Church.
This latest all-new episode of “Behind the Music” highlights “My VH1 Primetime” Weekend Premieres, anchored by the debuts of new VH1 specials and series. “My VH1 Primetime” spotlights themed destination viewing nights in a new 9:00 p.m.-midnight VH1 primetime schedule. Upcoming episodes of “Behind the Music” will profile ABBA, Hall & Oates, Lindsey Buckingham, Aerosmith and Madonna.
Critically applauded by the Arizona Republic as “So addictive it should be preceded by a warning from the Surgeon General,” VH1’s Emmy Award-nominated series “Behind The Music” has taken an intimate look into the personal lives of pop music’s greatest and most influential artists, tracing their struggles, setbacks and successes in more than 150 episodes to date. “Behind The Music” features rare and never-before-seen archive video, film and home movie footage, concert clips and songs, plus exclusive interviews with the artists, their families, friends and colleagues.
“Behind the Music: Aaliyah” is a production of VH1. The executive producer is George Moll.