I think the term ‘star’ is bandied around far too frequently, sure people may have talent but not everyone has ‘star quality’ and the required je ne sais quoi to make the world sit up and pay attention. Amy Winehouse is one of those people who had it and her untimely death this past weekend is a stark reminder that life is too short but also that she was an incredibly talented artist behind all of the tabloid headlines. I remember when her album ‘Frank’ was released almost 8 years ago; it was markedly different from anything else on the scene. Heavily jazz influenced, her voice belonged to a different era and it’s unsurprising that it earned her an Ivor Novello award as well as two Brit nominations and a spot on the Mercury Music Prize nominee list.
As her career was exploded like a supernova, it became clear that Amy was troubled and had many demons to battle. By the time ‘Back to Black’ came out three years later, her personal troubles began to eclipse her immense talent and many had written her off as a lost cause. ‘Back to Black’ bought her global fame and five Grammy awards. Still lyrically honest, she sang about emotional excess, romantic obsession, break ups and breakdowns. A telling insight into her emotional state, her addictions still persisted and though her career was going stellar her personal life continued in its downward spiral. Drink, drugs, destructive relationships. That’s not something I’m going to dwell on. Amy’s legacy will be her music and immense talent. She’s an icon of epic proportions; it’s such a shame that the same press who built her up were so quick to tear her down. Although addictions and mental illness are personal battles to some extent, people need the help and support of others to conquer the battle. This was perfectly summed up in Russell Brand’s article on Amy for The Guardian.
My thoughts are with Amy’s family at this tragic time and I hope that she has finally found peace.