She handled herself like a lady. I definitely think anyone that has that aura that she had about her, has to have a great family. There was just something about her aura. You wanted to talk to her, you wanted to know her.
Aaliyah had a big influence on all of us. She was the first major young female artist to come out [in her generation]. We are about the same age, so it was very inspiring to see someone like that. She went to a performing arts high school and so did I. I just really related to her. It made me feel like, alright if she can come out and she’s young, so can I. It gave me inspiration and hope that we could do the same thing.
Her voice was so smooth, it was so sexy and soft. She cold do a lot of interesting things with her range. She could go very high and she could go very low. Her tone was just beautiful, it was sultry and sexy. But the most amazing thing is she could dance so well and sing so well, too. She just had this whole cool sexy vibe about her, the way she performed in videos and live. It even came across when she talked. But even though she was sexy she was still sweet and wholesome at the same time. There weren’t too many people like that.
I would have loved to have worked wih her, definitely. Her and Timbaland, they had a whole magic when they went into a studio and I could never wait to see what the next album was gonna be like. She always had a sound that was hot. Aaliyah was the first celebrity to really embrace us. Everyone else was nice and they were cool but she was like extra sweet to us. And she hung out with us. She had just gotten her driver’s license so she came to the hotel and picked us up and we went to the mall.
It was hard for us to keep in touch, because you know how it is, with us doing a record and with her doing records and movies, we were always on the go. So we only really saw each other at awards shows. But I know it was always refreshing to see her and I was excited. I interviewed her two times for the MTV Movie Awards. I did the pre-show. I was really nervous about doing that because it’s hard talking to celebrities sometimes. I was so happy and relieved when I got to interview her because she made me feel so comfortable, everytime.
About a year ago [in 2000], before ‘Queen of the Damned’ was shot, Aaliyah was going through an audition process. She came to the house, and she immediately blue my mind, because she had prepared a piece that Michael Rymer had ask her to do from a play called 'Salomé.’ She came in on her knees like a cat, growling, “I’m the woman that you left.” And she did this with such brilliant physicality and vocality. She crawled around on the floor for two hours, moving about the room in unbelievable fluidity, acting this thing to perfection. We worked rigorously to get her this part, She put her heart, her time, her love, and her life into it. She just ripped it out. The part she played was more than the genius of Ann Rice; it also became something very personal and elevating to Aaliyah’s spirituality. ~ Joanne Baron (acting coach)