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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 andtabloids seemed tofocuson her rowdy behavior, heavy consumption of alcohol, and tragic end, but fans and critics alikeembraced her rugged charm, brash sense ofhumor, anddistinctively soulful and jazzy vocals. Her platinum- sellingbreakthrough album, Frank (2003), elicited comparisons ranging from BillieHoliday andSarah Vaughan to Macy Gray andLauryn Hill. Interestingly enough, despite her strong accent and vernacular, one can often hearaspects of each ofthosesinge ...read more

Much can be said about the late Amy Winehouse, one of the U.K.'s flagship vocalists during the 2000s. The British press andtabloids seemed tofocuson her rowdy behavior, heavy consumption of alcohol, and tragic end, but fans and critics alikeembraced her rugged charm, brash sense ofhumor, anddistinctively soulful and jazzy vocals. Her platinum- sellingbreakthrough album, Frank (2003), elicited comparisons ranging from BillieHoliday andSarah Vaughan to Macy Gray andLauryn Hill. Interestingly enough, despite her strong accent and vernacular, one can often hearaspects of each ofthosesingers' vocal repertoire in Winehouse's own voice. Nonetheless, her allure had always been her songwriting -- almostalwaysdeeply personal butbest 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. Herupbringing wassurroundedby jazz. Many of the uncles on her mother's side were professional jazz musicians, and even herpaternal grandmother was romanticallyinvolved withBritish jazz legend Ronnie Scott at one time. While at home, she listenedto and absorbed her parents' selection of greats: DinahWashington, EllaFitzgerald, 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&Band hip-hop acts of thetime. At the age of 16, after she had been expelled from London's Sylvia Young Theatre School,she caught her first breakwhenpop singer Tyler James, a schoolmate and close friend, passed on her demo tape to his A&R, who was searchingfor ajazz vocalist. That opportunity ledto her recording contract with Island Records. By the end of 2003, when she was 20 yearsold, Island hadreleased her debut album, Frank. Withcontributions from hip-hop producer/keyboardist Salaam Remi,Winehouse's amalgam of jazz, pop, soul, andhip-hop received rave reviews. The albumwas nominated for the 2004 MercuryMusic Prize as well as two Brit awards, and its lead single,"Stronger Than Me," won an Ivor Novello Award forBestContemporary Song. Following Winehouse's debut, the accolades and inquiring interviews appeared concurrently in the press with her tempestuouspublic life. Severaltimesshe showed up to her club or TV performances too drunk to sing an entire set. In 2006, hermanagement company finally suggested that sheenterrehab for alcohol abuse, but instead, she dumped the company andtranscribed the ordeal into the U.K. Top Ten hit "Rehab," the lead singlefor hersecond, critically acclaimed album, Back toBlack. Containing evocative productions from Salaam Remi and British DJ/multi-instrumentalistMarkRonson, the albumsomewhat abandoned jazz, delving into the sounds of '50s/'60s-era girl group harmonies, rock & roll, and soul. Thefanfareover therelease was so great that it started to spill over onto U.S. shores; several rappers and DJs made their ownremixes of various songs, notto mentioncovers by Prince and the Arctic Monkeys.One month after Winehouse won BestFemale Artist at the Brit Awards in February 2007, Universal releasedBack to Black in the U.S. The LPcharted higher than anyother American debut by a British female recording artist before it, and it remained in the TopTen for several months,selling amillion copies by the end of that summer. Just as in the U.K., she became the talk of the town, landing on the coversofRolling Stone andSpin magazines. Not long afterward, though, Winehouse canceled her North American tour. Early reportsrevealed that she wasentering rehab foralcohol and drug addiction, but her new management denied the claims, stating itwas due to severe exhaustion. Her erratic behaviorkept her andher new husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, in the tabloidsconstantly, on and off stages on both sides of the Atlantic, but in late 2007, Americanfanswere finally given a chance tohear 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 hadended in divorce, shehadrepeatedly been arrested on assault charges and/or public order offenses, her struggles withsubstance abuse and mental health issuestragically playedout in the press. Public performances turned into incoherentdisasters, the worst of them posted to video-sharing sites for all tosee. A track on theQuincy Jones tribute Q: Soul BossaNostra appeared in 2010, while a duet with Tony Bennett was announced in early 2011,but a planned follow-up toBack toBlack would never make it past the demo stage. Winehouse was found dead in her Camden, London apartmenton July 23,2011. The coroner'sreport, delivered three months later, revealed that her blood alcohol content had reached a potentiallyfatal level. Nearly two months after her death, Winehouse's first posthumous appearance was released on Tony Bennett's Duets II,where she dueted withBennetton "Body and Soul." Near the end of 2011, her family's foundation announced the release ofLioness: Hidden Treasures, a posthumouscompilationfeaturing recordings from throughout her career (although a few of thearrangements were recorded after her death). « hide

Similar Bands: Duffy, Adele, Joss Stone, Lily Allen, Macy Gray

LPs
Back to Black
2006

3.8
595 Votes
Frank
2003

3.5
232 Votes
EPs
In My Bed/You Sent Me Flying
2004

4
1 Votes
Take the Box
2004

4
1 Votes
Live Albums
At The BBC
11/12/2012

3.6
8 Votes
Compilations
Amy Soundtrack
2015

2.3
3 Votes
The Album Collection
09/12/2012

3.7
5 Votes
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
2011

3.2
48 Votes

Contributors: discovolante, rmcrae, iGuter, ZedO, rockandmetaljunkie, taylormemer, Jozh, dPsychc, Syncratic, Dave de Sylvia, KILL, Voivod, Nagrarok,

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