Aaliyah Inspired One of Brandy’s Most Iconic Songs
The late R&B singer, Aaliyah made her mark in the music industry at an early age. When she was just 14, the songstress‘ first album, Age Aint’ Nothing But A Number, immediately launched her onto the main stage. She would go on to release two more acclaimed albums, One In A Million and Aaliyah before her tragic death at age 22 in a plane crash.
Aaliyah’s legacy will live on forever, and it even inspired another legendary artist, Brandy. The same age as Aaliyah, the Moesha actress’ first album, which was self-titled, debuted in 1994 with the lead single, “I Wanna Be Down.” Though the album did reach number 20 on the Billboard charts, initial sales of the album were slow.
However, the following year, inspired by Aaliyah and written and produced by Babyface, Brandy would debut one of her most iconic songs ever.
Babyface was in awe of Brandy when he met her
Babyface first met Brandy when he was asked to work on the soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale in 1994. Initially, Babyface thought Whitney Houston was going to sing the entire album. However together they decided to make the soundtrack and all-female collaboration. Brandy was one of the singers the songstress and the producer agreed on.
“There’s a girl that I met at a young age, and she was one of the best voices I’d ever heard,” Babyface said during his 25-anniversary celebration of the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack on Instagram, “Such a young girl singing so good. It was a young girl that both Whitney [Houston] and I, we sat down and talked about it. We said, this girl can sing, and Whitney said, ‘This girl is going to be me one day.’ She had so much soul and so much rhythm. It was just unbelievable. And then, when I actually had her come to the studio, she came in there and was excited and I was excited too. We just kind of sat and talked a little bit. She had heard a demo of the song and she came in there ready — she was prepared. Then that little girl got behind that microphone and she must have done the backgrounds in three seconds. The way that she sang the song, I was just getting chills inside and outside. I couldn’t believe that she had this ability to do what she was doing. Trust me, I’ve worked with so many singers over the years — the best. I have to say that this little girl was one of the best singers that I’ve ever worked with and I’ve ever seen. And that girl would be Brandy. I think she’s underrated, I don’t think people appreciate her voice enough. She’s ridiculous to me, she’s ridiculous.”
Aaliyah helped inspire Brandy’s ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’
Initially, Babyface was inspired by the tempo Aaliyah’s Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number for the mood of “Sittin’ Up In My Room” therefore when he penned and completed the song, Babyface had Aaliyah in mind.
“This song was originally written for just a club scene,” he explained on Instagram. “I remember that temp song was an Aaliyah song so I knew I had to write for someone young. I was just so glad that Whitney said yes to Brandy being on this song because she really made a difference.”
Brandy used ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’ to prove her vocal range
When it all came down to it, “Sittin’ Up In My Room” proved just how much vocal range Brady had. Though it did not showcase the higher octaves of her voice, it did reveal her lower octaves. The song is now regarded as one of the top 50 R&B Songs of the ’90s.
“I was going crazy with my vocal runs because I really wanted to impress Babyface,” Brandy told VIBE. “I knew how to pull back, but it was one of those things where I thought, ‘This is my chance!’ I always wanted to work with Babyface. Actually, he was the most legendary producer that I had worked with to that point. So when I was recording ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room,’ I was thinking, ‘This is my chance to show Babyface that I could sing!’ But he was like, ‘You don’t have to do all of that. Just sing, baby. Just keep your vocals simple.'”