25 08 2011

I don’t want to write this, because although it has been ten years it feels entirely wrong. It will always feel wrong.

I remember being sat in front of the telly watching MTV I was about 8 or 9 years old, and I was just in awe of this beautiful person on the screen. I wanted to be just like her, she instantly became the most important musical force in my life. I carried my love for Aaliyah’s music from primary school onwards. I remember saving up enough money to buy her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number and just playing it every day. I probably ruined it, which explains why I have more than one copy of all 3 of her albums. There are only 2 or 3 artists I have more than one copy of their albums due my excessive play of their albums.

I was drawn to Aaliyah’s music the same way most are- her delicate voice. A voice that no other singer has ever mastered aside from her. Certain singers have evidently tried (and failed) to copy the whole vibe Aaliyah had, she truly truly was one in a million.

The more I write about this using past tense, the more wrong this just feels. She should still be here making music and making films. There is no way at all where anyone can justify this beyond awful loss.

If I had to list my favourite albums of all time, I would easily put her 3 albums in my Top 10.  However her second album, One In A Million for me, just showed the world how amazing she really was. Her vocals on this album were so strong but with that gentle feel. Her smooth vocals were what she was best known for- again something which have attempted to copy but just cannot come close to it at all.

Aaliyah was just easy to love and relate to. The way she was in interviews and how she touched on so many subjects in her music just made it easy for you to fall in love with her music. Every once in a while a singer comes around that just leaves a mark- in your life and in music that nothing and no one will ever replicate. Nothing will ever replace it. It’s just like having that one person in your life that nothing and no one in the world is better than or will ever take the place of.

One of my favourite videos by Aaliyah was Hot Like Fire. I don’t know what it is, but I just loved the way it was shot and Missy popping up and doing her little dance was pretty cool too. I remember watching her at the VMAs, and she took her brother with her. I thought that was one of the coolest thing ever, but I think what shocked most was that she was wearing a dress. If you watch any of her music videos up to that point- she never wore a dress. She, as ever, looked stunning. She always did. She could wear ridiculously baggy clothes and still be the most beautiful person in the world. Her style was perfect, everything about her was.

Her last album had a sound to it that no other R&B artist has ever managed to come close to achieving. The sound on songs such as I Refuse, Those Were The Days and It’s Whatever- you just know it’s her.  The aggression on What If is something that was never felt in any of her music before, but it worked. It just proved that Aaliyah could sing any genre and just own it. She wasn’t just an R&B singer, she was so much more- and that is what I and others will always remember her as.

She was one of the greatest entertainers of my generation. Not many artists are worth looking up to. But Aaliyah, well, she really was. She was the perfect all-round entertainer. Aaliyah was a fantastic dancer, singer and actress. There will never be anyone else quite like her. Since that first time I saw her on MTV I have always looked up to her and admired her, I just cannot put it into words. I’d constantly try and learn the dances in her music video. I think at one point I knew every move in the videos to Try Again and More Than A Woman. I probably made my own up too. My mum always promised me that she would take me to see Aaliyah is she ever toured the UK, sadly, it never happened. If I could’ve seen anyone live, it would’ve been her.

She was such a creative force and constantly ahead of her time from her style, to the hair over her eye to the music she created.

I’ve been told that with every negative there’s a positive, at the time I didn’t believe it- but a few months after her death I met someone who instantly became not only my best friend, but my sister too. She knows who she is, and through this tragic loss I gained someone who changed my life. She may now live on the other side of the world, but she will always be one of the most important and special person in my life. Without her, well…I have no idea really.

Writing about Aaliyah in past tense just doesn’t feel right, and I don’t believe I have done her any justice with what I have written, but as ever- it has come from the heart.

R.I.P. Aaliyah xxxx ~/.\~

“Everything is worth it. The hard work, the times when you’re tired, the times where you’re a bit sad . . . In the end, it’s all worth it because it really makes me happy. There’s nothing better than loving what you do.” ~Aaliyah Dana Haughton, 2001 (MTV Diary.)



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