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Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001), an American R&B recording artist, actress and model. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Hankerson's he introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter & producer of her debut album.