I finally got a chance to view Amy: The Girl Behind the Name, a British documentary film Directed by Asif Kapadia, depicting the life & untimely death of Amy Winehouse [singer, songwriter]. Its narrative is focused on her life, family, career, fame, addictions and death. Released in July this year, this piece is a tribute to the most controversial singer of this century, who died at the age of 27. Four years have passed since the tragic, untimely death of this “Pop-Diva”; an undeniable talent gone too soon. The resonance of her immortal vocals is like a “one – man” band scintillating your souls, when you chose to indulge yourself in Soul/Jazz. She re-introduced me to the swank of Jazz. Once in a blue moon do we come across this genre being given a fling by Music Directors/Singers of this Era.
Amy was a musical genius, known for her deep vocals which were an assorted mixture of Jazz, Reggae, Soul, Rhythm & Blues. She began composing music at the age of 15 & was majorly influenced by her family’s interest in Jazz. Her debut album “Frank” was released in 2003 which was critically acclaimed. She rose to fame with the release of “Back to Black”  for which she won 5 Grammy Awards; the “First” British Woman to have done so. Her album is one of the Best-selling albums of the 21st century. Labelled by the BBC as “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation”, she went on to inspire a wave of artists with a sound similar to hers. Adele, Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, Duffy etc. credited her for their rise and journey in the music industry.
Known for her Bee-hive hairdo, Cleopatra make-up & thick eyebrows, she was influenced by the girl groups of the 60s. It earned her the title of the worst dressed performer but it provided her with a unique identity amongst her fans. During 2005 she went through a period of drinking & heavy drug use. By 2006 her management company advised her to enter Re-Hab for alcohol abuse. She dumped the company instead & recorded “Re-Hab”, a popular song from her album [the song discussed her refusal to receive treatment for substance abuse]. In 2007 she cancelled most of shows in Europe & UK [she was hospitalised for drug abuse]. She was prevented from performing at the Grammy Awards presentation night as she failed to pass a drug test. In 2008 her wax statue was unveiled at Madame Tussauds, but she did not attend the unveiling. Often chased by the paparazzi’s, she was at loggerheads with the media. She had a controversial public image and went to jail for assaulting a fan. She was a rebel with a “Gifted” voice. Her contumacious lifestyle led to her downfall [personal & professional].
She returned to performing at a Jazz festival in 2009 where she was reportedly unsteady on her feet, forgetting her lyrics. She was booed off the stage by her fans in June 2011, as she was too drunk to perform. She cancelled all her tours immediately. Her health deteriorated along with her personal life. Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23rd July 2011. She ruled the hearts of millions with her voice but failed to rise above her dependency on alcohol.
Her famous songs are “Back to Black”, “Re-Hab”, “You know I’m no good”, “I heard love is blind”, “Cupid”, “Valerie”.