London (AP) – In her beloved London borough of Camden Town, Amy Winehouse is always the center of attention. The bronze statue of Amy at the Stables Market is a popular photo opportunity with tourists.
In the trendy neighborhood of street markets, music stores, and pubs with pool tables, the singer with the incredible voice and eye-catching beehive hairstyle would have felt especially at home. Camden was also where Winehouse lived for the last difficult years before his death. She died there ten years ago, on July 23, 2011, of alcohol poisoning.
At the age of just 27, Winehouse joined this elitist but very sad club of musicians, which also includes Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. They all died at the age of 27 of alcohol and drug abuse and have still become immortal. Exceptionally talented Winehouse is today considered one of the most important and influential British singers, the precursor of artists like Adele, Estelle or Celeste.
During the days of girl and boy groups and pop casting, she released her self-written debut album “Frank” when she was only 20 years old. The acclaimed jazz and soul album was not aimed at a large audience. The shy north London girl had never left for gigantic fame, which ultimately contributed to her untimely death.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be famous,” Winehouse said in a first interview who starred in the 2016 documentary, Amy. “I don’t think I could take it. Then I would probably go crazy. “
But three years after “Frank”, she made her second and sadly last album “Back To Black” a world star. This ingenious mix of Motown, Doo-Wop and Soul in the style of the 60s with a modern production has won five Grammy Awards at Winehouse and numerous other awards. Her iconic look – beehive, striking makeup, more and more tattoos, tight dresses and high heels – suddenly graced every major international magazine from “Rolling Stones” to “Variety”.
The downside was that the Londoner couldn’t leave her house without a flash of flashlights. She is said to have told her friends at the time that she would return everything just so she could return to the pub without a problem. When her coffin was taken out of the house, the paparazzi were still there. After his death, “Back To Black” temporarily became the best-selling album of the 21st century in Britain. Since then it has only been passed by Adeles “21”.
“I’m just an honest musician,” she says in a scene from the documentary “Amy Winehouse: Back To Black”, which airs July 23 on Arte. Music was not only a passion for her, but also an outlet. “I write songs because I have a headache,” says Winehouse, who says he used antidepressants as a child. “I have to write it and sing it to feel better. This is how evil becomes good. “
“Back To Black” revolves around the destructive relationship with her boyfriend and future husband Blake Fielder-Civil, whom Winehouse married from 2007 to 2009. Song titles like “Love Is A Losing Game” (in German : “Love is a game in which there are only losers”), “Tears Dry On Their Own” or “Wake Up Alone” plain language. Along with his unmistakable voice, it was this absolute authenticity that Winehouse was revered.
Alcohol and drug problems
His single “Rehab,” which was born out of a joke as Winehouse was walking around New York City with star producer Ronson, also contains an uncomfortable truth. Namely that of the urgent withdrawal, which the musician refused at the time. “If my dad thinks I’m okay,” she sings. Her father Mitch, who some accuse of putting financial interests ahead of his daughter’s well-being, would have seen no need to step aside at first.
For years, Winehouse, who also suffered from bulimia, struggled with alcohol and drug problems. Thanks to her husband, she came to crack and heroin, as Fielder-Civil himself admits in the documentary “Amy”. The singer reportedly got rid of hard drugs, but instead her drinking increased. His problems also became more and more apparent on stage. Winehouse was high or drunk at concerts, seemed absent and forgot his words.
Their last tour – or rather: the last attempted tour – turns into a disaster. During a concert in Belgrade, which Winehouse apparently never wanted to give, she stumbled on the stage, refused to sing and was booed.
The shocking videos of the performance can still be found on YouTube today. You can see a tragic character who is visibly uncomfortable and dangerous. And the question arises as to why no one on your team intervened at the time. Unthinkable today: Winehouse was then showered with ridicule and nastiness in the media.
One last brief appearance
After the remainder of the tour was canceled, the one-voice singer surprised audiences a month later in London during a concert by her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield. She was celebrated with thunderous applause for her short appearance. But it should be his last. Three days later, Amy Winehouse was found dead by her bodyguard at her home. On the 10th anniversary of her death, the BBC is broadcasting the new documentary “Reclaiming Amy”, in which her mother Janis, her father and many companions give their take on things.
Winehouse’s last recording was the duet “Body and Soul” with their idol, legendary American jazz singer Tony Bennett. Like the rest of the music world, Bennett, 94, was dismayed after his death. “Amy Winehouse was an artist of extraordinary stature,” Bennett said. “She was an amazing musician with a rare intuition as a singer, and I am truly devastated that her special talent ends so soon.”