Aaliyah Dana Haughton
was an American singer, actress, and model. 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. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number
. The album sold 3 million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed with Atlantic Records.