Amy Winehouse

It has not even been a week yet and the untimely death of Amy Winehouse has already triggered off all the slander, pictures, videos and exclusive tracks that could be expected. It is probably far from being over, but the last thing I want to do is extensively comment on or contribute to this display of what I consider to be one of the worst of human tendencies.
What I am going to do instead is simply pay homage to an artist and remember her music. She may have had the lifestyle of a rock star, but her sound was deeply rooted in jazz, with escapades in the land of soul, which made her quite the atypical artist, while her deep contralto voice undoubtedly made a connection with classical jazz singers.

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I first heard of Amy Winehouse several years ago, when I discovered her second album, Back To Black, quickly followed by her debut, Frank. I was immediately intrigued by this young woman and her fascinating personality. To me, she was a sort of alien, she didn’t look or sound like any other artist I knew. I remember watching the video for In my bed and having mixed feeling about Amy. Yes, she did look somewhat tacky in that outfit and make-up, but man, she could sing! Plus, I couldn’t but appreciate the bluntness and honesty of her lyrics. There was something provocative about her, which both shocked and appealed to me. I think this first impression could sum-up how I felt about her for a while. But there was no denying that this unique voice of hers, coupled with the heartfelt, raw lyrics of her songs made her one of the most talented artists of her generation. She may have lost her way and felt out of place in this world, but her music definitely touched people, as well as inspired other artists to follow her tracks.

 [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Stronger Than Me (DJ Devastate Remix)” dl=”0″]


Like many others before her, she was a free spirit and couldn’t fit in any box people could have wanted to imprison her into. This was pushed to an extreme, as is sometimes the case with people who can’t find peace of mind, but I believe there is something positive to retain from her short career. While she was suffering, she used those emotions and this pain to create music, to create beauty. Most people probably couldn’t relate to everything she was dealing with, but there are some universal feelings and experiences everyone can understand and connect with. Her encounters with love for example, while they are obviously personal and expressed creatively through her point of view, can have a more universal dimension, making it easy for listeners to identify themselves with her. Songs like Stronger than me sounded quite funny at first, as I had never really been in this kind of situation… or so I thought. Listening to it over again made me realise I had indeed been the “strong one” before and therefore could understand what she was expressing there. Others like Fuck me pumps were straight jokes to me, as I imagined those wannabe WAGs drinking the night away in London clubs, waiting for their big opportunity. But what can be felt on every song, no matter how different the experiences may have been, is the passion she exuded. I think it’s quite difficult for anyone not to remember moments of rejection and unrequited love when they listen to You sent me flying or Love is a losing game, not to be touched by her openness and the way she expressed her pain.

On the whole, I preferred Frank, which sounded more varied and somewhat lighter than Back To Black (which is quite logical after all). I am also more inclined towards jazz than the 50s-60s inspired soul she was influenced by on her second album. Nevertheless, I still listen to both quite regularly and always enjoy the particular atmosphere that was created, even if sounds bitter-sweet now, knowing that she lost the battle and let darkness get the best of her. What I would love for people to do is go back to the music, listen to the albums, enjoy them and feel grateful for the blessing that Amy Winehouse was.



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