July 23, 2011 – Amy Winehouse. Born on September 14th 1983 in Southgate, London. At nine years old, Amy attended the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School and at ten, she founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour. She stayed at the Earnshaw school for four years before seeking full time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School; she appeared in an episode of The Fast Show in 1997 before allegedly being expelled at 14 for “not applying herself” and for piercing her nose. Amy had taken up the guitar at 13 and was writing songs by the age of 14. She began working soon after, including as a showbiz journalist for the World Entertainment News Network, in addition to singing with local group the Bolsha Band.
Much in the style of ‘musical heroes’ before her like Billie Holliday, Amy Winehouse was a powerhouse of soul who took alcohol as her companion. An singer-songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul), rhythm and blues, jazz and even reggae
Tony Bennett, who dueted with Winehouse on ‘Body and Soul,’ took the stage and sang classics ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘Watch What Happens.’ He also warmly recalled Winehouse, saying, “Her dream was to become famous and a beautiful singer, and she accomplished that.”
He was quick to point out that her death from alcohol poisoning does not erase her success or the impact she left as an artist.
“Even though she had a short life, she had a great life because she ended up praying for the success that she wanted, and it happened,” the crooner said.
Amy passed away on July 23, 2011 and became the latest member of the illustriously sad 27 Club of musicians who died at the tender age of 27.
What Amy’s state of mind was when she took her last gulps of vodka at home in London in July 2011 is impossible to know. She had said there were things she still wanted to do with her life, but she seemed unable to take action. Despite being a remarkably honest and open person in many respects, she had always been cagey about her inner life. Observing Amy as we have, there is a strong sense that she was sick of her career. Like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, she had become a prisoner of her image. And, as with Janis Joplin, her man was glaringly absent at the end. So were other people Amy had depended upon and, in many cases, exhausted.