Uncle of the later singer Aaliyah, Barry Hankerson has confirmed that her posthumous album ‘Unstoppable’ is to be released later this month.
On Monday Hankerson appeared on The Geno Jones Show and said: “About five years ago we realized we had quite a bit of music that we had never put out that was recorded by Aaliyah,”
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He added: “The vocals were there, and we decided to try to remaster it and to ask other artists that were big fans of her if they would like to participate in being on various songs.”
Hankerson also spoke about working with Aaliyah and her death in August 2001, he said: “The worst part, obviously, was when she passed away,” he told host Geno Jones.
“But working with Aaliyah was always a pleasure. She was such a delight to work with ’cause she was very professional. She was very bright. She had an incredible memory, so she could read lyrics and remember them after only reading them once or twice.”
He continued: “It was very difficult sometimes when we were listening. Before we started listening to her sing, she would be maybe talking on the mic — just talking about personal things and…about how she wanted to hear the finished product of the song she was working on.
"So it was very emotional because we knew when she was saying that, she had no idea she would not be here to hear the finished product. So it was incredibly heart-wrenching at times. But we did suck it up and we got through it.”
In August 2021, Hankerson and EMPIRE Records told Billboard that they would be releasing the entire backlog of Aaliyah’s work to streaming services.
Hankerson afterwards released a statement that stated: “Thank you to all of her many fans for keeping [Aaliyah’s] music alive.
“I’m sorry it took so long, but when you lose a family member so unexpectedly, it takes time to deal with that type of grief. I decided to release Aaliyah’s music in order to keep her legacy alive.”
Watch the full interview with Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson below.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter