Words: Charlie Kempen
Today marks ten years since the British music icon Amy Winehouse sadly passed away.
Although she lived an unfortunately short and tumultuous life, she made her mark in the music
legends history book. She truly is one of the first British female artists to leave her beehive
shaped fingerprint within the industry. She was incredibly outspoken and this transcended within
her lyrics, interviews and even style.
Whilst pulling influences from her blues and jazz filled childhood, she managed to bring an
urban sound to pouring your heart out on a page. She certainly did not hold back or hide who
she really was unlike some of the superficiality that we are seeing pass through these days.
Fans could relate to the unapologetic realness that she had and she earned a huge amount of
respect for that. She poured everything she had into her music and lyrics. I really do not think
there is one person within the country who could not name one of her songs – she has been the
soundtrack to some of the best and some of the worst times for people. I mean let us be honest
we’ve all seen that one drunk aunt who likes to get a bit too into ‘Valerie’ on a Saturday night.
Her voice is one of, I believe, the seven wonders of the world and no one has or will never be
able to achieve the rich soulful tone that she is known for. She is instantly recognizable. One
performance of hers that had my mouth hanging wide open in shock for, was on ‘Later with
Jools Holland’ when she performed a cover of ‘Monkey Man.’ I must have listened to that cover
hundreds of times because it was just so special and spell bounding. Not forgetting to mention
that her poetic lyrics held so much passion and emotion. Being only nineteen when she
released her album ‘Frank’ she was catapulted into super-stardom. Some of the songs on that
album hold increasing amounts of maturity which exceeded her age at the time. It was like
listening to a seasoned artist who knew their way around a song managing what many artists
cannot achieve to this day.
Pulling influences from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, Amy brought an interesting
touch of emotion back into the music industry throughout the early 00s after a decade of techno
rave sounds. Not forgetting how she paved the way for so many female solo artists who came
after her. Collaborating with huge artists such as Tony Bennet and Mark Ronson she
superseded fame and settled within her legendary status.