Aaliyah Dana Haughton
A Story Steeped in Sound
Aaliyah Dana Haughton , known as Music Artist "Aaliyah", was an American singer, actress, dancer, and model. She has been credited for helping to redefine contemporary R&B, pop and hip hop, earning her the nicknames the "Princess of R&B" and "Queen of Urban Pop". Born in Brooklyn and raised in Detroit, she first gained recognition at the age of 10, when she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At the age of 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground Records
When she was growing up, Aaliyah attended Detroit schools and believed she was well-liked, but got teased for her short stature. She recalled coming into her own prior to age 15 and grew to love her height. Her mother would tell her to be happy that she was small and compliment her. Other children disliked Aaliyah, but she did not stay focused on them. "You always have to deal with people who are jealous, but there were so few it didn't even matter. The majority of kids supported me, which was wonderful. When it comes to dealing with negative people, I just let it in one ear and out the other. Those people were invisible to me." Even in her adult life, she considered herself small. She had "learned to accept and love" herself and added: "... the most important thing is to think highly of yourself because if you don't, no one else will".
During her audition for acceptance to the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, Aaliyah sang the song "Ave Maria" in its entirety in the Italian language. Aaliyah, who maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average when graduating from high school, felt education was important. She saw fit to keep her grades up despite the pressures and time constraints brought on her during the early parts of her career. She labeled herself as a perfectionist and recalled always being a good student. Aaliyah reflected: "I always wanted to maintain that, even in high school when I first started to travel. I wanted to keep that 4.0. Being in the industry, you know, I don't want kids to think, 'I can just sing and forget about school.' I think it's very important to have an education, and even more important to have something to fall back on." She did this in her own life, as she planned to "fall back on" another part of the entertainment industry. She believed that she could teach music history or open her own school to teach that or drama if she did not make a living as a recording artist because, as she reasoned, "when you pick a career it has to be something you love"