July 25, 2021

Amy Winehouse: a decade without the tragic soul diva | LOS40 Classic

“Her skills could put her in the same league as Judy Garland or Ella Fitzgerald. It could be one of the big ones “. This is how I remembered Amy Winehouse the director of the first drama school where the artist auditioned. I was only 12 years old, and from a very young age he was clear that what he wanted was to dedicate himself to music, which is why he rebelled at school and put that, his passion, before any other subject of study. She was the daughter of a taxi driver and a pharmacist, and grew up in the London suburb of Southgate. Winehouse was bored at school and he was only interested in one subject: music.

In fact, in his application to apply for a place at the school he wrote: “I would say that my school life is full of ‘could improve’ and ‘does not work to its full potential’. I want to go somewhere where I am stretched to my limits and maybe even beyond. Singing without being told to shut up, but above all I have the dream of being very famous. Work on stage. I want people to hear my voice and just forget your troubles for five minutesAnd so, with that sincere declaration of intent, she was inducted into the prestigious London talent school.

His first record deal came at the young age of 19. Frank, her debut album, was released in 2004 and quickly reached number 3 in her home country of Great Britain. In this first approach to the artist we not only met her great voice, but also his way of writing and telling us about his life, as it made direct reference to the murky relationship she had with her ex-boyfriend.

Criticism raised her from the first verse. She was a white woman with a black voice and soul. Inspired directly by the brilliant sixties not only vocally, but also with a very specific aesthetic: with that infinite bun and the thick eyeliner that accompanied her until her last days. She herself branded Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald as her role models.

The winding road to success

Amy soon achieved professional success, but with him an irrational fear of singing in front of large audiences also appeared. That oppressive feeling to be on top of a big stage led her to take her music to small clubs, where the soul and jazz that surrounded her music they found their place in small corners with few followers.

However, during those concerts, Amy also took to drinking alcohol to drown her phobia of performing live. And it was even more destructive, he met Blake Fielder-Civil and fell in love with him. Comfortable Kurt Cobain Y Courtney Love late, both fell in love and started together a path full of excesses of alcohol and drugs.

Blake Fielder-Civil and Amy Winehouse, at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007. / Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

As had already happened on her previous album, when her love left her, Amy vomited all her pain into the following record: Back To Black. There is no evil that for good does not come, and thanks to all that heartbreak, the album gave her five Grammy Awards and finally made her a world star. Of all the great songs in this work, it was Rehab the song that dominated the charts. Again presenting herself without masks, Amy recounted here the failed attempt of her father and his representative to put her in a rehabilitation clinic. A song written in two hours that quickly connected with a whole generation of the most lost that, until then, did not have a contemporary reference.

Little more than a year after the separation with his ex, Blake Fielder-Civil returned to the life of the artist and they even got married, but they divorced again two years later. At this time, in the year 2009, Amy’s love life clearly resembled the professional. I was stagnant. It went back and forth almost equally. Rare was the time that he didnt wobble on stage and her voice always sounded muffled, weak, like a vague memory of that girl who left everything to act.

At this point, concerts and tours began to be massively canceled, and always for the same excuse as their representative: ‘health reasons’. It was vox pópuli: Amy Winehouse had a serious problem with alcohol, and you only had to remember that Rehab who raised her to know that she had no remedy.

On July 23, 2011, her bodyguard found her dead in her London apartment, and the cause was alcohol poisoning. The only thing Amy cared about was creating music, not realizing that the spiral of excess in which she was plunged was going to end her life. That attitude and that way of writing songs were a constant cry for help during his last days. As one British journalist wrote in an obituary: “He could bring the songs to life like no other, but he couldn’t live his own life”.