When considering Aaliyah's track record, it is befitting that her name (Aah-Lee-Yah) means "the highest, most exalted on, the best." Indeed, Aaliyah's name foreshadowed her short but phenomenal career as both a recording artist and actress. By age 21, Aaliyah was not only a cultural icon but also a musical innovator and major motion picture actress.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Aaliyah was raised in Detroit. In 1994, at the age of 14, Aaliyah released her first album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. It was an instant success. The first single, "Back and Forth". Was a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a No.1 R&B song. The follow-up single, a remake of the Isley Brother's "At Your Best (You Are Love)' reached Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 1000 and was No.2 at R&B radio.
In 1996, Aaliyah released her multi-platiinum second album, One In A Million. The first single, "If Your Girl Only Knew", went double platinum and contained Timbaland's signature syncopated beats and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot's lyrics. Hermain Dupri, Rodney Jerkins, J. Dibbs, Daryl Simmons, Kay-Gee, Vincent "V.H." Herbert and Craig King were also involved with producing One In A Million.
In 1998, Aaliyah scored an enormous hit with "Are You That Somebody" from the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack. Produced by Timbaland and written by Static, the song is infectious, known for its clever sampling of a baby crying. Later that year, Aaliyah performed the song "Journey to the Past" from the motion picture Anastasia at the Academy Awards.
Aaliyah made her motion picture debut in Romeo Must Die in 2000. Co-starring Jet Li, the film was a box office success and led to Aaliyah's huge hit record, "Try Again" which was produced by Timbaland. The Romeo Must Die soundtrack spent weeks at No.1 on the Billboard soundtrack chart and went double platinum. Aaliyah's performance in Romeo Must Die earned her nominations for MTV's 2001 Movie Awards for "Bet Female Performance" and "Breakthrough Performance Female". "Try Again" garnered two MTV Music Awards for both "Best Female Video" and "Best Video in a Film". Aaliyah served as executive producer of the soundtrack and had two other cuts on the record including one with DMX.
Following up on her box office success in Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah starred alongside Stuart Townsend, Vincent Perez and Lena Olin in the 2001 film
The Queen of the Damned, directed by Michael Rymer. Aaliyah played the title role of Akasha, in the supernatural adventure based on the third novel in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
Aaliyah's last studio album reflected her growth as a person and entertainer. The album, Aaliyah, released in July 2001, debuted at number 2 on the US charts and sold over 2.4 million albums worldwide. Aaliyah featured the smash singles "We Need a Resolution", "More Than a Woman" and "Rock The Boat".
In February 2002, Independiente Records will release the posthumous album I Care 4 U, a definitive collection of Aaliyah greatest hits as well as six unreleased tracks including the aptly titled single "Miss You". I Care 4 U showcased Aaliyah's pioneering sound, sultry voice and trend-setting style and is a continuation of Aaliyah's musical legacy and a chronicle of her life in music.