Amy Winehouse: An Artist Gone too Soon

Kenidee McEwen-Cameron, Staff Reporter

Amy Winehouse was a British singer-songwriter who was revolutionary for genres such as jazz, soul, and rhythm and blues. She was known for her deep, contralto vocals and her vocal arrangements. She released two albums throughout her career, but she was mainly known for her second album, Back to Black, which was released on October 27, 2006. The album was a huge success winning a Grammy award for best pop vocal album, reaching number one on the charts, and was nominated for album of the year. Amy’s involvement in music has definitely impacted the music industry, and has paved the way for many new-coming female artists.  At the age of 27, Amy would be found dead in her London home due to alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011. Though Amy isn’t with us anymore, she will forever remain a household name. 

Amy Jade Winehouse was born on September 14, 1983 in Enfield, England North of London. She came from a Jewish family, her parents being Mitch Winehouse and Janis Winehouse, and her older brother, Alex Winehouse. At a very early age, Amy was constantly surrounded by music because of her father who would sing Frank Sinatra songs while doing chores around the house.

The musical talent in her family is what inspired her to make music herself. Amy’s brother owned a guitar that Amy would teach herself to play whenever he wasn’t home. By the time Amy was 13 years old, she received her own guitar and began composing her own songs a year later. She and her child friend, Juliette Ashby,  would eventually make a music group called “Sweet N Sour”, inspired by the Hip Hop music group “Salt N Pepa.” Amy was a constant  jazz performer at the Cobden Club, but would get into the music business after a close friend of hers and pop singer, Tyler James,  sent a demo of hers to a record label called “A&R” (Artists and Repertoire) which got her a record deal with Island/Universal records.

Winehouse debuted her first album “Frank” in 2003, which was inspired by her childhood idol, Frank Sinatra. “Frank” was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, two BRIT awards, Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban Act, and the album went double platinum. The album’s single, “Stronger Than Me” was awarded an Ivor Novello award. In 2006, Amy released her second album, “Back to Black”, which was mainly written about her rocky and abusive relationship with then boyfriend, Blake-Fielder Civil. The album was critically acclaimed. One of her leading singles was “Rehab,” which was inspired by her rehabilitation experience for alcohol and drug abuse. It was a top 10 hit in the U.K. and also won an Ivor Novello award. 

After the album was released, Amy was still having many problems with her marriage and her drug addiction. She was constantly canceling tours and shows due to her deteriorating mental and physical health. Because of her use and abuse of narcotics, she was denied a visa to America to perform at the Grammys. Although she was denied access to the U.S. the show went on and she performed at the Grammys in London where she won five Grammy awards, and broke the record for most Grammys won in one night. In 2008, Amy and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, filed for divorce and stayed on a Caribbean island of St.Lucia where she met someone new. A lot happened for Amy in 2009, when she attempted a comeback while starting her own record label, Lioness Records, her 13 year old goddaughter Dionne Bromfield signed, Back to Black was the second highest selling album in the world, and she won the Guinness world record for ”Most Grammys Won By a British Act”.

It seemed at this time that there was a lot of hope for Amy. Unfortunately, on July 23, 2011 Amy was found dead in her home from accidental alcohol poisoning. According to, Amy’s blood alcohol content was 0.416%, which is five times more than the legal limit to drive.

Amy lived a tragic life and her life ended tragically. She was buried in Edgwarebury Cemetery in Edgware, England.  In 2015, a documentary, named Amy, would be made which focused on her struggles with alcohol before and after her skyrocketing career. It’s been over 10 years since her death and Amy’s music is still deemed as some of the best music of the century. There have been many tributes made for Amy including a foundation called the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which serves to help children and young people build their self-esteem and resilience. Amy’s music and legacy will live on until the end of time, and the world can only dream of the music she would be making today.