Last night VH1 premiered their latest episode of “Behind The Music” with late singer Aaliyah. Family and close friends such as musical icon Missy Elliott all remember the fallen star who perished in a tragic plan crash in the Bahamas. Over a decade later Aaliyah’s music lives on stronger than ever.
While her untimely death, 10 years ago on Thursday in a Bahamas plane crash, ended a bursting-at-the-seams career, fans still hum her infectious tunes, ape her slinky choreography and swoon over the catalog of stunning visuals she left behind. Rather than dwell on the loss, MTV News went digging in our vast store of beta tapes and turned up some choice on-air interviews with her (click the embedded video to see for yourself). “Everything is worth it,” she says of her success, on “Diary.” “The hard work, the times when you’re tired, the times when you’re a bit sad. In the end, it’s all worth it because it really makes me happy.”
The year before she dropped Aaliyah, her sultry recording of the Timbaland-produced “Try Again,” from the soundtrack for her feature-film debut “Romeo Must Die,” netted her a Grammy and a Video Music Award, among other accolades. By 2001, Hollywood was fully on notice, sending her scripts, which led to roles like a high-profile part in the “Matrix” sequels.
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I’m also a bit of a workaholic and I want everything to be perfect,” she adds after a grueling rehearsal with her dancers.
But it wasn’t all work, no play. Baby Girl, as frequent collaborator Missy Elliott and others affectionately called her, could be as goofy as the next girl. Backstage in another scene, with little prodding from hairstylist Eric Foreman (donning a lopsided wig), Aaliyah begins to harmonize to the Ashford & Simpson soul classic “Solid.” Gripping her toy-store mic, she can barely keep it together before collapsing into laughter.
While she had largely evaded the kind of scandal that can trip up other young pop stars, A was reflective, too, about success. “The best way to deal with fame is to have that personal life,” she says at another point. That meant spending good time with her ever-present “glam squad,” family, friends and then-boyfriend Damon Dash, the onetime Roc-a-Fella mogul.
In the end though, Aaliyah had a central purpose, one that probably helps explain her enduring legacy. “It’s all for the fans, it’s so they know you and they can get into you,” she says after a stream of alternately crying and screaming admirers pack an FYE record store to meet her. “Not just your music but to you as a person; it’s something that’s totally necessary.”