It’s been nine years since Aaliyah Dana Haughton died in a plane crash and left an immense void in the hearts of her family, friends and fans.
The singer’s star was still rising when her life was cut short. She released multiplatinum albums and had just started her film career, but there was always a sense that her journey would be a long one, destined for greatness.
Traces of her style and influence are apparent in contemporary artists, but her legacy is most evident in her collaborators, including Timbaland, Ginuwine and Missy Elliot.
Missy spoke with MTV News via e-mail and shared some of her favorite Aaliyah memories.
MTV: When you look around today at some of the current R&B stars, who do you see traces of Aaliyah’s influence in?
Missy Elliott: I think it’s hard for Aaliyah to be duplicated, because she had her own lane. But Ciara is an R&B singer who loves to dance, and Aaliyah was that same kinda artist. We knew when she dropped a record, we couldn’t wait for the video. I think Aaliyah has influenced artists like a Ciara.
MTV: How do you spend a day like this, where everyone is mourning the anniversary of your friend’s passing?
Elliott: I plan to spend my day the same as any other day, because there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of [Aaliyah] or watch a video or play her music. I miss her every day.
MTV: Do you know of any update on the plans for an Aaliyah movie?
Elliott: As far as a movie for Aaliyah, I’ve been hearing some things but don’t know how true they are, and out of respect for her family, I would wait until they announce it. That way we will know it’s a fact.
MTV: I’m sure you have so many memories of Aaliyah. What was it like the first time you met her?
Elliott: When me and Tim first went to work with her, we were so nervous. She was such a big star, and I was scared she was gonna be some diva, sipping on tea, with people fixing her hair and nails, and she would say, “What is this music you got! It’s wack!” But when we walked in the studio, her smile made the whole room glow! She was like “Heyyyyy!” and gave us big hugs and made us feel like we were her cousins from down South. She was a very sweet spirit! Never seen her angry as long as I’ve known her, and in this business, that’s unheard of!
MTV: What memory do you revisit most when you think about Aaliyah?
Elliott: We’ve had so many memorable times. My most memorable is when me, her and Tim wore outfits alike! It was burgundy Pony outfits to the awards. Mind you, Aaliyah was petite so her Pony outfit looked so cute on her, but I kept looking at mine during the awards whispering to her saying, “I feel like a big-ass pony for real!” And we laughed and laughed! Too many memories to state them all! If she was still with us, she would still be at the top. Because she always stayed pushing herself to be better.