Eight years later the grief of Amy Winehouse’s death is still raw. Although she left us way too soon, Amy was able to make a huge musical impact in her 27 short years on earth releasing two critically acclaimed albums and blowing open the door for artists like Duffy and Adele.
Many of Amy’s stories told of her personal tragedies of bad choices and love. Amy was able to fully put herself into the songs that she sang because she had a writing credit on almost all of the songs on her albums Frank and Back to Black. The majority of the time Amy was the sole writer on her songs and occasionally, she collaborated with the likes of Mark Ronson and Tony Bennett.
I can still remember where I was when I heard of Amy’s death. My family was in Spain visiting my Mom’s family and my mom and I were driving in my grandma’s car on our way home from the grocery store when I heard the radio personality say that Amy Winehouse had died.
At first, I thought that I had misheard what they might have said so as soon as I got home I tried with the limited 3G on my phone (remember this was 2011) to look up an article about what had happened. After many failed attempts, I was finally able to load an article about how the brilliantly talented 27-year-old had passed.
Amy Winehouse’s musical breath stretched across genres into jazz, soul, and R&B while also stretching across generations. She was not afraid to use her raspy range to dip into these genres to enhance and modernize the sound.
In Amy’s cover of the 1963 song The Girl from Impanema, she was able to stretch across generations taking the Portuguese styling of João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto and the big band sound of Frank Sinatra and Antônio Carlos Jobim to create her own fast-paced jazzy sound to the second most recorded song in history.
After the news of Amy’s death, I wore out her albums listening to them on repeat. Through the repeated listening of these albums, I realized that my Dad and I shared more musical likes than differences. Amy Winehouse was able to bridge the generational gap between my Dad and me with her cover of Carole Kings’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? recorded in the last year of her life.
The sad and tragic end to Amy’s life is a reminder that we never know what loads people around us are baring regardless of the exterior that they put on for us. If you are reading this please know that you are loved and if you find yourself in the face of alcohol and drug misuse know that there are supports for you like the Amy Winehouse Foundation.