There are some people who make a difference in the music industry as soon as you are first exposed to them.
I remember being sat at home one Saturday afternoon in 2003 and hearing a song with the most stunning lyrics, “You should be stronger than me, you’ve been here 7 years longer than me.” There was something about this voice and this woman’s voice that just pierced my heart and won it instantly.
A few weeks later I was watching Jools Holland. This young girl was stood with a blue guitar wearing leopard print trousers with a nervous stance in front of the camera. She was singing the same song, again- I was just blown away.There was this look in her eye that you could see she found it overwhelming but at the same time had a strong enough voice to rule out the nerves.
Everyone is saying, “Oh another member of the 27 club.” Or “She was just a smack head.” Fuck off. Seriously. Just fuck off. Her voice was what made her. Her voice is one of the most powerful voices that this country has produced in such a long time.
What made her so appealing is that she sung her pain and you felt like it was your pain. She didn’t make you feel alone with having your heart ripped out and trampled on. She didn’t make you feel like you were the only person to have been hurt. She made you feel, simple as. Her music as one of the rawest pieces of art created, the way she could express pain in a way you’d expect a jazz singer to vocalise it showed she was beyond her years.
I firmly believe she was my generations Billie Holiday. There is no doubt about it.
Slayer or Wagner could be your favourite artist but I ca guarantee a part of you would have been moved by an Amy Winehouse song. How could it not be?
The wisdom and hurt in her lyrics is what her made generation’s Billie Holiday. For the past 70+ years Billie Holiday’s music has influenced so many singers. Amy Winehouse was evidently influenced by the jazz greats such as Holiday and of course, Sarah Vaughn.
Her vulnerability made her easy to relate to, it was like listening to your best friend. Maybe it is strange to regard someone you’ve never ever met as a best friend. But at 4am when you know you cannot call someone due to being hurt- you turn to music. A specific artist gets you through, they become your crutch.
Back To Black got me through some shit. That album oozes heartbreak in such a glorious yet dark way. Even if you had never been hurt before, one listen to this album and you feel like you have lost the most important person in your life and you just crumble. You emotionally crumble. Then again, if you have been hurt and you listen to songs such as Love Is A Losing Game, you are just in awe of how someone so young can word such a horrible feeling.
“You were so beautiful before today, and then I heard what you say man that was ugly” Everyone has had someone they were close to and adored so much. Beautiful to them inside and out- but something they said or did just made them to be the ugliest person in the world due to their cruelty and carelessness. We’ve all been there and that line just sums it up. Its amazing how one person can mean the world to you, and then as soon as they say something so ugly- they become nothing to you. One simple line just sums up the sheer trauma of this happening.
Sadly, stupid people are going to comment on her personal life rather than her talent. Her last live performance showed she was not ready. She seemed so fragile and frightened. You just wanted to take her home, put her in bed and give her a cup of tea and say to her, “Just get some rest- you’ll be okay.” Some people you just look at and think, “You need looking after.” Although her vulnerable words made her easy to relate to, her fragile state was utterly heartbreaking to watch. It was like seeing someone you cared about so much just fall apart.
I am fully aware that many people will just dismiss her as a junkie or whatever, but she had a talent that was so utterly rare. It’s okay to be a bit mad that she may have thrown it all away. But see that she was someone who just needed help. Maybe she was one of these artists who never should have been as famous as she was because fame was too much. Fame is a killer, the media is a killer. The British public and media love to see people fail. It’s almost as if they were waiting for this to happen so they could say, “Told you so.” It’s disgusting. She had problems just like the rest of us. Some of us get help and it works. Some of us get help, but it just isn’t enough. Things take time. Maybe she understandably had enough; we all have our own demons and battles to conquer. Our solutions to it are personal and are right for us. Nobody should judge. Nobody has the right to judge Amy as “just another junkie.”
Two albums seem so little, but they are two albums that changed the face of music created in this country. There aren’t many artists around now that can make such an impact instantly with their music- Amy was a rare talent. Her voice will be missed; she will be missed so much. Surrounded by “What ifs” and “If onlys.” It is a shame, an utter shame.
The way she and Mark Ronson created the Wall of Sound feel on Back To Black made it an instant classic. From just one listen you knew you were being exposed to one of the greatest albums ever. Frank didn’t sound like a debut album, it sounded like an album from someone who had been making music for decades. It’d be impossible to pick out her best lyric, they were all beautiful, and it’s just such a tragic and awful loss. Remember the music, it means more than anything else. Her personal life was just that- her PERSONAL life. It means nothing to us, it’s the music that counts.
One can only hope that she has found peace wherever she is now.