Young, Talented, and 27: RIP Amy Winehouse on: July 26, 2011, 13:20
The first time I heard Amy Winehouse I wasn't even legal to drive a motorized vehicle. I was 15 years old, soon to be 16, a sophomore in high school, and post pubescent know-it-all. (I had some stubble on my chin and I thought that was adequate enough to be ushered into manhood.) I prided myself on knowing music and took great enjoyment in expanding my musical repertoire. But what I didn't know and what I had never heard before, was Amy Winehouse. Now I don't consider myself to be a huge Amy Winehouse fan, but, I do have to admit, when I heard "Rehab" for the first time, I had never experienced anything like it. I was being escorted by my mom on my way to cross country practice and was fighting for control of the radio station dial (as we usually did) and suddenly the famous chorus filled our airwaves: "'They tried to make me go to rehab but I said 'no, no, no'". Both of us were puzzled, intrigued, and shocked to say the least. Of course, my mom deemed it as repulsive and stupid, but this was only after she listened to the rest of the song. Not really a track to get you pumped up for cross country practice or fitting to bump with your mother no less, however, Winehouse had a way about her music that connected to people no matter how old or how young.
Unfortunately, Ms. Winehouse was found dead this past weekend in her London home and was discovered by authorities at 3:54 London time, on Saturday June 23rd. Today, a private funeral was held at Edgwarebury Cemetery, in London for Winehouse where her family, friends, and fans said goodbye to the 27 year old star. The service was performed by a rabbi and carried out in both Hebrew and English to honor the late singer's faith. Metropolitan police have not released to the public what the cause of death was, but, it is rumored that it was drug related. However, family and friends are of the belief that Winehouse suffered a heart attack or a seizure. Winehouse has been struggling with seizures over the past couple years due to her harsh addiction with alcohol. She has been troubled with addiction issues since the release of her second album, "Back to Black", in which she confessed many of her personal vices. Although it is a tragedy, it comes as no surprise to close friends and family as Winehouse just cancelled her entire 2011/12 European tour, due to substance related problems.
Winehouse was booed off-stage in Belgrade this past June in a disastrous performance in which she stumbled through drunk, incoherent, and obviously under the influence. Immediately after her unsuccessful performance, her management informed her fans that she would be canceling her tour because of her addiction issues and released this statement: "Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen". Sadly, Winehouse's erratic behavior became more of a calling for her as her career pushed deeper into the limelight. She had been working on her long awaited follow up album to her 2006 mega hit, "Back to Black", which was her second studio project. Her new project was said to have a release date some time during 2012.
Born Amy Jade Winehouse on September 14th 1983, at 27, she joins a long list of musical legends to have been taken at the young age. Amy joins the "Notorious 27" or the "Forever 27" group, which is the unofficial title for the collection of artists who have all died at the same age. She joins, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Kobain, and Brian Jones to name a few, all who have died at the same age while coping with the sudden realities of fame.
Winehouse broke out onto the music scene back in 2003 with the release of her debut, "Frank". But it wasn't until her second album and U.S. debut, "Back to Black" in 2006, that she became the pop diva that she will be remembered as. "Frank" displayed her softer, jazzier sound, while "Back to Black" showcased her abilities as a tough, witty, R&B singer that could capture every note. "Back to Black" blended her 50's/60's soul look and sound with her intricate escapades of sex, drugs, and fame. The album received numerous accolades including five awards at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony. "Rehab" won several awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Winehouse would also receive the award for Best New Artist and the album itself was also nominated for Album of the Year.
Amy Winehouse will forever be missed and it is tragic that her end came so soon. It is horrible to see such an amazing talent die in her prime, as Winehouse probably had her best years ahead of her. She will without a doubt go down as one of the best vocalists of her generation. Winehouse's charisma and style of songwriting has also paved the way for other artists like Adele, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Duffy. She almost created the genre that these female artists sing under today. Her ability to blend R&B, Pop, Soul, and even Hip-Hop was unparalleled and truly unique for a female artist to accomplish.
In an era of superficial artists and fake pop stars, Winehouse stayed true to herself and stayed true to her fans. She never fronted, she never pretended, she just stayed Amy--no matter how raw or brutally honest she actually was. Her fans respected her for this and adored her for her forthright nature. She was a modern day Blues singer and people admired her in this regard. She never tried to be something she wasn't and never tried to hide her issues. Although few probably knew the who the true Amy Winehouse was, most probably felt they did by popping in one of her albums. She was a throwback in a modern day pop singer's body, as she looked more like a 50's covergirl by the attire and outfits she wore. She could hang with the Aretha Franklin's and the Ella Fitzgerald's with the depth of her emotional lyrics, while simultaneously giving other pop stars like Brittany Spears a run for their money. Rest in peace to someone who despite her personal issues, was an artist in the truest form. She lived fast, she died young, but she will not be forgotten.
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