Shockwaves around musical world were felt today as Amy Wiinehouse was found dead today in her North London home. Authorities found the singer around 4pm, London time, and the announcement has left her family, friends, peers, and fans stunned. Battling addiction for most of her career, Winehouse has received much media attention not for her powerful voice and talent but, sadly, for the choices she made off stage. Here at M.I.S.S. we remember the singer for much more than her substance abuse, rather for the amazing and soulful music she left us.
Winehouse began writing at a young age, drawing inspiration from her working class surroundings and the love her family had for jazz. She began recording demos when she was just a teen, and eventually she signed to Simon Fuller’s label when she was just 19.
Shortly after she released her debut album, the critically acclaimed Frank. An extremely unique sound for the time it was released, Frank was certified triple platinum in her native United Kingdom and gained Winehouse popularity among critics and music fans . A melodic mix of jazz, the album has been described as honest, gritty, and deeply touching. Smooth and filled with stories of past relationships, the album struck a chord with fans for Winehouse’s story telling abilities, as well as the She began to draw comparisons to such artists as Sarah Vaughn, Lauryn Hill, and Macy Gray. After the release, she caught the attention of Mark Ronson, who would produce most of her next album.
My Favorite Winehouse Song, “Valerie”. Produced by Mark Ronson
Back to Black was the singer’s second album, and she definitely did not feel any of what people call “the sophomore slump”. Her most successful release, Back to Black shifted to more 50s and 60s sounds, drawing inspiration from girl bands of those eras. The album was awarded with numerous accolades, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the mega-hit Rehab at the 2008 Grammys. Rehab was also named Song of the Year by Time Magazine in 2008.
Winehouse’s Best Known Hit “Rehab”
With the success of Back to Black, many thought that Wiinehouse would continue the positive trajectory the album created, but soon she began to express herself in other way. Sporting her signature beehive larger and larger, choosing risqué outfits, and appearing drunk in several TV appearances and concerts, Winehouse sadly became the butt of many jokes in the media. Early in 2011, there was talk about her comeback, clean from her troubles with addiction. Sadly, last month, after a brutal performance in Serbia, she cancelled her 12-stop tour of Europe. She was supposed to take some time to recover from the incidents.
As we were looking back on her musical career, we couldn’t help but remember a We Got the Beat article we did back in 2008 on Winehouse’s little known Ska EP, Amy Winehouse: The Ska EP. Simple and understated, the EP contains only 4 tracks, all covers of ska classics. Check it out here.
As another musical great dies at the age of 27 (Cobain, Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, to name a few), we are deeply sadden to lose such a talent. In the coming days, there are sure to be jabs thrown at Winehouse, but let us all remember her much more for the persona she created off stage. Instead let us the celebrate her talent and contribution to music.
Please enjoy the following, a sampling of her abilities:
Off her debut Frank:
“I Heard Love is Blind”
Off Back to Black:
“You Know I’m No Good”
“Tears Dry on Their Own
For more information on Winehouse, please visit her official website
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