Amy Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse was born on September 14, 1983, in Enfield (Middlesex), England. She grew up in Southgate, a district in the north of London, where her family (of Jewish-Russian origin) is made up of her father a pharmacist and her mother a nurse. Already at an early age, Amy showed that she preferred music to study: she founded a small amateur rap group at school (the Ashmole School) when she was only ten years old, which – as the name suggests – was inspired by the Salt’n’Pepa model: Amy’s group is called “Sweet’n’Sour”.At the age of twelve, she attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, but at thirteen she was expelled for her meager profit, and her transgressive nose piercing also aggravated the situation. She then attended the Brit School in Selhurst (Croydon). At the age of sixteen, Amy Winehouse has already taken the path of vocal professionalism: she was discovered by Simon Fuller, a well-known and astute creator of “Pop Idol”: Amy was then put under contract by the management agency “19 Entertainment”, which got her a record contract with Island Records. Her recording debut came in 2003 with the album “Frank”: immediately the work was very successful both with critics and audiences. With over 300,000 copies sold, she obtained a platinum record. The winning recipe seems to be the mix of sophisticated jazz/vintage sounds and above all the particularly warm and convincing voice of Amy. In fact, her voice sounds “black” and much more mature than her youth would suggest. The single “Stronger than me”, composed by Amy Winehouse herself together with the producer Salaam Remi, makes her win an “Ivor Novello Award”, a prestigious English award reserved to authors and composers. Amy is however restless and unsatisfied (even by nature?) and the results of her musical work seem too “manipulated in the studio”; it may be an opinion of a person with little experience, but considering her age, it has to be said that the artist already seems to have very clear ideas about her musical aspirations. It happens then that Amy Winehouse decides to take a long period of an artistic break during which it remains on the pages of newspapers (both music and scandalous newspapers) due to a series of gaffes, accidents, and intemperance, which unfortunately have to do with its dedication to drugs and alcohol. The artist’s depressive crises become more and more frequent: he begins to lose drastic weight and his silhouette is transformed. He returns to the public with new musical work (and with four sizes less) at the end of 2006. The new album is titled “Back to black” and is inspired by Phil Spector and Motown, as well as the music of the female vocal groups of the ’50s and ’60s. The producer is still Salaam Remi, joined by Mark Ronson (former producer of Robbie Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Lily Allen). The single extracted from the album is “Rehab” (which talks about the themes of which Amy was a victim) which immediately projects the album in the English top ten, making her see the peak at the beginning of 2007. The album is followed by numerous prizes and awards including a Brit Award for Best British Female Artist. The Independent publishes an article about depression, in which Amy Winehouse is cited as clinically suffering from manic-depressive psychosis that refuses treatment. She admits to suffering from eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia). The problems related to drugs and alcohol do not seem to end. Engaged to Blake Fielder-Civil, they get married in May 2007 in Miami (Florida), but even the new family situation does not lead her to a quiet life: in October 2007 she is arrested in Norway for marijuana possession, a month later at the celebratory event “MTV Europe Music Awards” she goes on stage twice in apparent confusion, at the beginning of 2008 a video is circulated online where the singer smokes crack. At the 2008 Grammy Awards (the Oscars of Music) in Los Angeles, she triumphed by winning four awards, but it’s a shame that she didn’t receive a visa to enter the U.S. and had to participate in the evening singing from London. Despite various attempts to rehabilitate herself, the excesses of her life took over her body: Amy Winehouse was found dead in London on July 23, 2011. She had not yet turned 28.

Discography

2003 – Frank
2006 – Back to Black
2011 – Lioness: Hidden Treasures 
2008 – Frank and Back to Black
2012 – The Album Collection 
2012 – Amy Winehouse at The BBC 
2004 – Sessions@AOL
2006 – NapsterLive Sessions
2007 – iTunes Festival: London 2007
2007 – Frank – Remixes
2007 – Remixes & B Sides
2007 – The Ska EP
2012 – Rehab

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