Amy Winehouse

  • Born in London England in 1983. Died in 2011 of alcohol poisoning.
  • Winehouse attended two theater schools as a child to further her vocal development. As an early teen, she founded a short lived rap group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour.
  • She bought a guitar at the age of 14, and started writing music a year later. She sang in a local group, The Bolsha Band, and contributed entertainment reports to the World Entertainment News Network as a teenager. When she turned 17, she became a featured vocalist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in London. Her demo tape was sent to talent scouts, and she signed with Simon Fuller’s management company in 2002. Soon, record companies learned of her talent, and she signed with Island Records.
  • Her debut album, Frank, was released in 2003. Winehouse co-wrote all the songs, except for 2 cover songs. The jazz album peaked at #33 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and at #3 in the UK, though the singles from the album did not chart highly, and they were only released as singles in the UK.
  • She wanted a different feel to her next album, moving to the sound of the girl groups from the 50s and 60s. She hired the American soul band The Dap-Kings to back her in the studio and for tours. The result was her second album, released in 2006, called Back to Black. It was a huge hit, selling over 3 million copies in the U.S. and 12 million worldwide. The album hit #1 in nearly all markets – the exception was the U.S., where it peaked at #2. The big hit was Rehab. Time magazine selected this song as the best song of 2007. The album and song earned her 5 Grammy awards in 2008.
  • Winehouse planned to release a third album in 2011. During the first half of that year, she showed signs of something wrong – she was forgetting lyrics to songs, cutting short or cancelling concerts, and drinking heavily. On July 23, she was found dead at her home by her bodyguard. Her blood alcohol level was at 0.416% at the time of her death. As such, her cause of death was ruled as alcohol poisoning. Later, her brother speculated that her bulimia contributed to her death.
  • Her final recording was a duet with Tony Bennett, which was released on Bennett’s album Duets II, 2 months after her death, on what would have been her birthday. The song, Body and Soul, won a Grammy the following year. Proceeds from the song benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which was established by her parents after her death to raise awareness for organizations that help young people with addictions.
  • An album of previously unreleased music was released in December 2011. The album, titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures, entered the Billboard 200 Album chart at #5, and at #1 on the UK Album chart.
  • A documentary film about her life and death, Amy, was released in 2015. It won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
  • Winehouse was a immense talent whose personal demons ultimately conquered her. Such a shame, and a loss for all music lovers. Her most popular video on YouTube is Back to Black – watch it here.

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