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Amy Winehouse

Much can be said about the late Amy Winehouse, one of the U.K.'s flagship vocalists during the 2000s. The British press and tabloids seemed to focus on her rowdy behavior, heavy consumption of alcohol, and tragic end, but fans and critics alike embraced her rugged charm, brash sense of humor, and distinctively soulful and jazzy vocals. Her platinum-selling breakthrough album, Frank (2003), elicited comparisons ranging from Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan to Macy Gray and Lauryn Hill. Interestingly enough, despite her strong accent and vernacular, one can often hear aspects of each of those singers' vocal repertoire in Winehouse's own voice. Nonetheless, her allure had always been her songwriting -- almost always deeply personal but best known for its profanity and brutal candor.

Born to a taxi-driving father and a pharmacist mother, Winehouse grew up in the Southgate area of northern London. Her upbringing was surrounded by jazz. Many of the uncles on her mother's side were professional jazz musicians, and even her paternal grandmother was romantically involved with British jazz legend Ronnie Scott at one time. While at home, she listened to and absorbed her parents' selection of greats: Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra among others. However, in her teens, she was drawn to the rebellious spirit of TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, and other American R&B and hip-hop acts of the time. At the age of 16, after she had been expelled from London's Sylvia Young Theatre School, she caught her first break when pop singer Tyler James, a schoolmate and close friend, passed on her demo tape to his A&R representative, who was searching for a jazz vocalist. That opportunity led to her recording contract with Island Records. By the end of 2003, when she was 20 years old, Island had released her debut album, Frank. With contributions from hip-hop producer/keyboardist Salaam Remi, Winehouse's amalgam of jazz, pop, soul, and hip-hop received rave reviews. The album was nominated for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize as well as two Brit Awards, and its lead single, "Stronger Than Me," won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.

Following Winehouse's debut, the accolades and inquiring interviews appeared concurrently in the press with her tempestuous public life. Several times she showed up to her club or TV performances too drunk to sing an entire set. In 2006, her management company finally suggested that she enter rehab for alcohol abuse, but instead, she dumped the company and transcribed the ordeal into the U.K. Top Ten hit "Rehab," the lead single for her second, critically acclaimed album, Back to Black. Containing evocative productions from Salaam Remi and British DJ/multi-instrumentalist Mark Ronson, the album somewhat abandoned jazz, delving into the sounds of '50s/'60s-era girl group harmonies, rock & roll, and soul. The fanfare over the release was so great that it started to spill over onto U.S. shores; several rappers and DJs made their own remixes of various songs, not to mention covers by Prince and the Arctic Monkeys.

One month after Winehouse won Best Female Artist at the Brit Awards in February 2007, Universal released Back to Black in the U.S. The LP charted higher than any other American debut by a British female recording artist before it, and it remained in the Top Ten for several months, selling a million copies by the end of that summer. Just as in the U.K., she became the talk of the town, landing on the covers of Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. Not long afterward, though, Winehouse canceled her North American tour. Early reports revealed that she was entering rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, but her new management denied the claims, stating it was due to severe exhaustion. Her erratic behavior kept her and her new husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, in the tabloids constantly, on and off stages on both sides of the Atlantic, but in late 2007, American fans were finally given a chance to hear Winehouse's early work, with a slightly abbreviated (two songs removed and one added) version of Frank.

Unfortunately, the next four years were filled with drama, disappointment, and very little music. By 2009, her marriage had ended in divorce, she had repeatedly been arrested on assault charges and/or public order offenses, her struggles with substance abuse and mental health issues tragically played out in the press. Public performances turned into incoherent disasters, the worst of them posted to video-sharing sites for all to see. A track on the Quincy Jones tribute Q: Soul Bossa Nostra appeared in 2010, while a duet with Tony Bennett was announced in early 2011, but a planned follow-up to Back to Black would never make it past the demo stage. Winehouse was found dead in her Camden, London apartment on July 23, 2011. The coroner's report, delivered three months later, revealed that her blood alcohol content had reached a potentially fatal level.

Nearly two months after her death, Winehouse's first posthumous appearance was released on Tony Bennett's Duets II, where she duetted with Bennett on "Body and Soul." Near the end of 2011, her family's foundation announced the release of Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a posthumous compilation featuring recordings from throughout her career (although a few of the arrangements were recorded after her death). A year after Lioness came At the BBC, a deluxe CD/DVD set -- available both as a four-disc box and a smaller two-disc compilation -- rounding up all of her live performances for the British Broadcasting Company. ~ Cyril Cordor, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Pumps / Help Yourself (Explicit)

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Track List: Like Smoke / Our Day Will Come (Single)

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Track List: Rehab (Radio Single)

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Track List: You Know I'm No Good (Single)

Comments

I'm so sad that she died but it was her time. Rip hun
The most tortured people have always had the best music. What they couldn't do or say in life was relayed through their music! Love her voice.
She was beautiful
But my tears dry on their own...
Ms. Winehouse,I miss you
So beautiful, and such an amazing voice. RIP Amy Winehouse
to much soul to be real, fantastic, it can transport it to the heaven
briqlie
She won fest New artist
She is like a combination of adele and lana del rey and every time a song of her comes on i read her life description and practically cry because her like was so tragic and she made such beautiful things from all the tragedy's
Princess queen, you said it. Amy baby, you've forever changed my heart and soul
dont read this cuz it works. u have 3 days to post this on 5 songs and u will be either kissed or asked out by ur crush on friday.
The real queen. <3 R.I.P lovely.
hempdog2
Mglglpg gig mkgjg kgnkfjgkkjf
dmshipherd77 7
Amy was so amazing, not just as an artist but also a person. So sad she had to go so soon. However, her legacy and art lives on forever <3
She was the best at what she did
So talented but on pain
genesilvers_ 1
she was to be the best of all time period, but what she did will live forever.
������������
Gone too soon. So talented.
and the 27 club adds another member
She IS-- not was-- probably the best singer of my generation. We will be so lucky if we hear someone this good again in the next 50+ years.
For f**k sack people it's spelled ANGEL not angle
bluekarma06
..so much talent lost and so many imitations who don't even come close.
bluekarma06
The most soulful white girl eva!
She had such an AMAZING voice <3 <3<3
R.I.P beautiful angle <3
I FEEL HER SINGING!
Rest in paradise sweet angle
Sad that her talent is overshadowed but tabloid junk about her lifestyle and death....gre a t singer....so n g w r i t e r . . . . . s a d d e n s me when ever I think about her passing at such a young age.....
I miss her voice, she was beautiful both in voice and overall shell.
Rest in peace Amy Winehouse
I am late to the Amy train and it is just one more roadside tragedy! Such a unique and powerful style. The drugs do not discriminate ! I am not preaching one bit because I still use. I am not as bad as I was but know the life and it is sad. RIP Ms. Winehouse and may your voice continue to bring chills to the masses here and wherever the next realm has you!
A legend
I am young but I wish I she was alive so I can her more of her voice
I miss her so much
Will never be forgotten so much talent
My mums name is Aimee
Totally beautiful
I am almost 60 years old and I think this is one of the most talented artists I've ever heard. I listen to her every day.
I love Amy, her voice is awesome! She will remain forever young.
Most beautiful voice and face, I love you Amy Winehouse, her music carries her memory
��
Amazing
old soul.....was t e d . . . . l o v e d her the moment I heard her sing...
Soulful voice got some soul in her.
Miss you .
Love her ����
oh amy why do the talented die too young?
RIP Amy you are singing with the angels now.
Amy you made me who I am today i love you so much you inspire me so much love ya
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