Amy Winehouse was an enigma; a unique singing voice, a supreme musical talent and a modern day poet. She graced the covers of magazines through the noughties. She shunned modern day pop and the likes of her fellow chart sisters such as Dido and Lily Allen, and instead wanted music to challenge her, revolutionize the airwaves and be more meaningful rather than a catchy hook and a key change or two. Amy Winehouse wasn’t in music for the money or the fame; she had a genuine love for the craft of creating a song that people connected to. Her untimely death in 2011 at the age of 27 left the world reeling at the loss of such a talent.
It’s all too easy to view Amy Winehouse as a tragic superstar, killed by her own demons and tortured throughout much of her life by inner turmoil. There was so much more to Amy Winehouse than the afternoons spent drinking, the nights spent partying, and the drug fuelled activities that she got caught up in. Amy Winehouse did have her demons, but she was also an unbelievable and unique musical talent. Take a look at what we have learned from the legacy of this musical icon.
Amy Winehouse had her problems. Although she came from a comfortable Jewish family and had a happy childhood, she still descended into substance and alcohol abuse. Even after multiple stints in rehab, Amy struggled to manage her inner demons. The people around her often didn’t help, such as her husband, Blake Civil-Fielder. However, throughout all of her problems, music was the one crutch that she could rely on. She often stated that she could, “pick up a guitar and feel better.” This way of working through her problems enabled her to finally get clean. When she died, toxicology reports showed that while alcohol was in her system, she had not taken drugs for a long time. She was finally working through her demons, step by step, and one day at a time.
Amy Winehouses’ Father
Amy Winehouse had a pleasant childhood, however the supportive framework of her early years diminished as she became famous. Anyone who has ever watched the documentary detailing her life will see how her father, Mitch is portrayed as an insensitive human being, more motivated by fame and money than by the care of his own daughter. When Amy admitted that she thought that she might need professional help, it was her father who convinced her that she didn’t and to carry on. In her teenage years when she developed an eating disorder, it was her father who was keen to prevent medical intervention. This implicit lack of a supportive framework may have led to the many demons that Amy had to face later in life.
Fame For Amy Winehouse Didn’t Appeal
Throughout her career, Amy Winehouse didn’t want to be famous. The thought of being photographed at all hours, being hounded by the press and having gossip columns running all sorts of rumors about her filled her with dread. All she wanted was to make her music and lead a relatively anonymous life. When she became famous, the problems in her personal life began to be magnified.
She wrote most of her songs with her poems as the stimulus. Primarily, a supreme lyricist, Amy Winehouse was able to connect with her audiences. Her songs were emotive, heartfelt and poetic. Coupled with her sultry tones and unique style of performing, she became hugely iconic for girls across the world; this was a pressure that became too great.
The borough of Camden was where Amy put down roots. She bought her first flat in Camden and stayed here until she died. She adored the lifestyle that Camden had to offer; the pubs that she would frequent, the fact that all of her friends lived close by, the edgy vibe of the area and the music scene that permeated through ever bar and pub. Guitar music was big in the noughties and Camden harnessed the zeitgeist which Amy fell in love with. Rather than heading to the posh West End of the capital, Amy was a home bird and would always choose to have a night out with her close pals in Camden.
Amy Winehouse Fashion Icon
Amy Winehouse wasn’t a fan of the jumpsuits, PVC leatherette all in ones or showing off a bit of flesh to sell records. Everything was about her music. With her iconic beehive hair, wingtip eyeliner and kooky fashion sense, Amy didn’t follow trends, she set them. She adored the 1950s and 60s and paid homage to them through her fashion, her music and her whole being. Often with flowers in her hair and wearing a signature tank top, Amy would perform at clubs and at festivals worldwide. She was often fashionably late, but always gave a crowd pleasing performance.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation
Her music and fashion are not the only parts of her enduring legacy. Amy Winehouse’s family have chosen to set up and run a foundation in her name. This charity focuses on helping troubled young people find their way through financial hardship, drug addiction, drink problems and homelessness. The all encompassing foundation aims to help those young people with the same sorts of issues that Amy herself had to combat. Mitch, Amy’s father, stated that he needed something to make sense of Amy’s death. While the foundation that he created doesn’t make grieving any easier, knowing that there is something in Amy’s name to help others must be of some comfort.
Amy Winehouse was and is a musical legend with the fashionista credentials to boot. She was more than just a tortured caricature. Yes, her issues may have sparked more of the creative process within her, but she was supremely talented in her own right. Lady Gaga adored her, Adele suggested that if it weren’t for Amy Winehouse, she would never have gotten a record deal, and Beyonce appreciated the talent that Amy possessed. The legacy of Amy Winehouse will live on as she remains an influence or musical artists of the future.