[Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001)]
Happy Birthday Aalyiah!
There are few times in life when you come across someone and know instantly that you are in the presence of greatness. Aaliyah was just that. A genuine, sweet, unpretentious spirit that drew me to her from our first meeting. Her warmth & infectious smile made those around her feel as if they’d known her forever. She needed no particular reason or benefit for being nice to me or others. She just was. Aaliyah was approachable & relatable yet, maintained a mystique that made her that much more intriguing. When we’d go out, fans would swarm. She’d excuse herself, take pictures, never refuse an autograph, answer questions & without missing a beat; pick up where our conversation left off. As we’d walk away, she’d sometimes mention to me how beautiful a fan was or how moved she was by something they’d said.
During my lifetime, I’ve encountered some of the biggest celebrity’s in the world from performing at the Grammy’s with Mariah Carey to regularly working out with Princess Diana in Chelsea Harbor. I’ve seen the “effect” fame has had on many. Aaliyah was NOT changed by her celebrity. She understood & appreciated success & all that came with it; while not allowing it to turn her into someone she wasn’t.
Aaliyah was the perfect name for her as she embodied it’s meaning. When I first learned of her passing, I was devastated & paralyzed with profound sorrow. She was just beginning to flourish & rise to superstardom. I knew that her untimely death meant the world would never get to experience the depth of her talent, charm, charisma and unparalleled beauty; inside & out.
Looking back, I see myself as blessed & lucky to have known her. I feel like one of the chosen one’s to have had her in my life. Many search a lifetime & never get to experience that kind of spirit. In a world where people’s motive & ways are constantly put into question, my time with & memories of Aaliyah remind me how special a life can be, when you live it as she did. The quality & impact of her short years with us will never be forgotten.
Aaliyah was truly “One in a Million”. R.I.P Baby Gurl. I love & miss you.
– Ivan Matias (Songwriter/Producer/Artist)