The impact of those who have passed, especially young, has been a crucial, yet tragic, theme in the music industry. Their music lives on, but many often question what these artists would have accomplished with a longer career.
Involved in what many may consider “The 27 Club,” a group of artists and musicians who died at the age of 27, Amy Winehouse was a one of a kind artist who died too soon. Other artists such as Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix had similar endings to their careers. She was unlike what society pictured to be “well polished,” because she did not have much of a filter and genuinely loved nothing more than making music and writing lyrics. Her main focus was always the sound people were going to hear and for that reason, Winehouse never stressed over how others felt about her appearance or personality.
Like many other people who had worked with the late singer, Island Record’s Nick Gatfield once described her as “an old soul in a very young body” to Vice magazine.
This September 13, 2018 would have been Winehouse’s 34th birthday and on that day each year, the music world remembers her for her undeniable talent, unique personality and influential career.
Winehouse won seven Grammy awards for her music, and one for her documentary “Amy” that was released after her death. She remained humble throughout her career, despite this, and constantly struggled to understand how she was so famous.
Zalon Thompson, a background singer signed by her label, opened up about Winehouse’s true feelings about being in the public eye: “She actually wasn’t really interested in the whole celebrity world.”
It was all about the music, and mostly everything else seemed to be in the background.
Life as a celebrity is not as glamorous as some may picture it to be. Unfortunately, Winehouse had a plethora of struggles with addiction and this ultimately led to her death. She worked through these problems, however, and constantly was working on new music either in the studio or by simply writing lyrics.
The messages behind her songs and her musical techniques were refreshing and new. She knew how to dress up a song with an impressive guitar lick and her raspy tone effortlessly. Her natural ear for instrumental details kept each of her songs sounding diverse and full of life. In her song “Stronger Than Me,” her intricate accented strumming on the guitar brings the whole song together.
It was around the time of Winehouse’s career when music began shifting towards being more electronically produced and moving away from live instruments. Winehouse, however, remained true to her original vision as an artist and consistently fought to have real instruments on her records.
The late singer was anything but shy when it came to preferences regarding her music. She wanted it to be perfect and didn’t want people to listen to anything other than her best work. That was simple to her. Winehouse herself once said: “I cancel gigs because I’m a perfectionist.” If she couldn’t give something her all, she wouldn’t do it.
Her father, Mitch Winehouse, explained more about this in his book Amy: My Daughter: “She was very much in control, and she was a perfectionist, redoing phrases and even words to the nth degree.”
Winehouse may be gone now, but her legacy continues to impact and influence people around the world. Her dedication to making music and determination as an artist is something to be admired and always remembered. Happy birthday to one of the greatest legends alive.
If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.
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