It has been recorded that the music of the deeply talented R&B pop maven Aaliyah will be released to streaming services for the first time. In an interview with Billboard Magazine, Aaliyah’s uncle, former manager and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson, shared his plans to release Aaliyah’s back catalog of music which includes the late artist’s final two albums, “One in a Million” and “Aaliyah.”
After Aaliyah’s tragic death by plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22, the artist’s mother requested that her daughter’s music not be released. But now, during the 20-year anniversary of Aaliyah’s death, a deal has been solidified to reissue her albums, the first of which will be “One in a Million” on Aug. 20 of this year. The rest of the year will see soundtracks to the film “Romeo Must Die,” a film in which Aaliyah co-starred, along with compilations “I Care 4 U” and “Ultimate Aaliyah” released.
Out-of-print CD and vinyl versions of the albums will also become available to fans.
Aaliyah’s career began by sharing the stage with Gladys Knight, who, at one point was Hankerson‘s wife, at 11 years old. At 15, Aaliyah collaborated with the notorious R&B producer, R. Kelly to release her debut “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” in 1994. Controversy hit when Kelly, 27, married the underaged artist which was followed by a swift annulment and professional separation from Kelly, who is currently on trial for countless accounts of sexual misconduct with underage girls. “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” which was released with Jive Records, is the only album available on streaming platforms until now.
This process had been in the works for a year when Aaliyah’s estate made an announcement via social media on Aug. 25, 2020, “To our loyal fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalog, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future.”
There has been an attempt to release Aaliyah’s music several times over the past 20 years. There was a point where Drake geared up to release an Aaliyah song which featured his vocals and the release of a new posthumous album by Drake and his long-time producer, Noah “40” Shebib. But the pair chose not to move forward with putting out new music when Aaliyah’s mother expressed that she did not want it released.
Aaliyah’s music influenced Rihanna, Drake, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé, and her smooth voice and post-modern sound continues to make an impact on R&B pop music today.
Fans all over the world, along with a new generation of listeners, will be able to experience her music in the coming days, allowing for expansive releases to emerge in the future.