ON THIS DAY : American singer Aaliyah killed in a plane crash, aged 22

August 25, 2001 was a tragic day in the American music industry. Fans were in shock and awe with the loss of American singer, Aaliyah. With hits such as “Are You That Somebody” (with Timbaland), “Rock The Boat” and “Try Again”, Aaliyah was at the top of the charts in R&B and Pop categories. Not only a talented songstress, however an accomplished actress for her roles in Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned.

Often dubbed as “America’s Sweetheart”, Aaliyah was known for her sweet sounding, silky voice and conservative, yet sexy style. She meshed the genres of hip hop and pop music together, however had the soulful, sultry R&Bs sound.  Her music lyrics were comprised of stories about relationships. Her songs composed of catchy hooks and hip hop sample mixes. Aaliyah self-proclaimed her own sound as “street but sweet”, which in three simple words described the aura of her music and her personality.

Aaliyah began singing at age 12 and was introduced to R&B singer, R. Kelly while working with the Jive Records company. Two years later her debuted single “Back and Forth” was released and sold over 2 million copies in 1994. She continued working with R. Kelley until 1996, when she left to produce an album with Timbaland and Missy Elliot. The album, “One in a Million” went double platinum in 1997.

Within the next few years Aaliyah spent most of her time working on her films, however continued to record music. In 2001, she released her self-titled album, Aaliyah. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. The album would become Aaliyah’s top-selling album, yet final album of her career.

At the height of her career at age 22, Aaliyah and her crew were filming a new music video for the song “Rock the Boat”, in Nassau, Bahamas. The crew had finished wrapping up the video shoot when Aaliyah and eight members of her crew boarded a plane. Shortly after taking off, the plane crashed and killed all of its members, including the pilot. According to FAA reports,  the plane was loaded with too much cargo (hundreds of pounds too much) and caused the planes’ weight to be unevenly distributed, causing the plane to crash. Subsequently, the pilot was not authorized to fly the plane and was later found to have traces of alcohol and cocaine in his system.