Aaliyah's Career: What If She Hadn't Died?

By , Contributor

R&B singer Aaliyah died ten years ago today when a twin-engine Cessna plane that was carrying she and eight other people crashed in the Bahamas.  It was a shocking jolt to R&B music, because unlike a rocker who indulges in drugs or a rapper who embraces thug life, Aaliyah was dubbed the “Princess of R&B.”

Personally, I dislike getting into hypothetical "what-if’s" regarding deceased artists.  It always feels like an exercise in futility.  But Aaliyah is a bit of an unusual case, because unlike the deaths of Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain, or Jimi Hendrix, Aaliyah’s death didn’t launch the singer into legendary status. 

 

If anything, Aaliyah’s passing is akin to the death of Amy Winehouse, another talented singer who will likely never be regarded as one of the best to ever perform in her genre of music.

So the death of Aaliyah, even today, leaves me wondering what the future would’ve brought her, the fans, and the music industry. 

When she died, Aaliyah had already released three studio albums: Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, One in a Million, and the self-titled Aaliyah.  The latter album is considered by many to be her best, as it featured great writing, smooth vocals, and memorable beats.

But what would’ve been next for Aaliyah?

She probably would’ve made a strong push to act, like so many other artists do.  Having already appeared in Romeo Must Die opposite Jet Li, and posthumously starring in Queen of the Damned, it’s likely Aaliyah would’ve followed in the footsteps of Janet Jackson and attempted to balance music and movies.

As for her music career, Aaliyah was already on the right path.  Working with quality producers and writers like Timbaland, Missy Elliot and Static Major, Aaliyah (who was also a talented dancer) would’ve been able to compete and collaborate with the likes of Beyonce, Ciara, Keri Hilson, and Kelly Rowland.

In death, Aaliyah may not have achieved legendary status, but she’s not forgotten.  And while she died having not fully realized her potential, she left behind a strong discography that stands the test of time.

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Michael Langston Moore is a freelance writer who aims to be both entertaining and insightful. His written work focuses on television, film, and music, and his analytical approach has landed him two columns on Examiner.com. Michael has interviewed the likes of Donald Trump, Russell Simmons, Paris Hilton…

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