Artist – Amy Winehouse
Album – Back to Black (2006)
Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/6GJCGWfI95aeRsdtVB52vc
Amy Winehouse is a Jazz/Rhythm and Blues singer-songwriter from London, UK. Winehouse rose to fame with her critically praised debut album ‘Frank’, however it was her 2006 follow up ‘Back To Black’ which cemented her as one of the decade’s finest all around artists, gaining the album 5 grammy wins. Amy struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for quite a while, fueled by the celebrity culture she was chucked head first into. Unfortunately in 2011 Amy died from alcohol poisoning, joining Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in the ’27 club’ (artists who died at the age of 27).
Amy Winehouse really caught everybody off guard with her personality and demeanour, the general public not expecting such a talent and love for this genre (jazz) to come from such a brash, everyday acting young woman. This attitude is what separated Amy from all other jazz vocalists at the time and propelled her into the mainstream. Amy had the ability to write about the relevant subjects in her life and this decade, whilst still creating authentic jazz music, due to her knowledge of the genre. ‘Rehab’ is the first song on this album and probably displays best Amy’s ability to mix jazz with pop like memorable hooks/choruses. ‘Rehab’ also displays her unique mindset and ability to write about topics others usually wouldn’t. Plenty of Jazz artists have had drug/alcohol problems, many wrote about substance abuse, but i’d task you to find any that wrote about refusing to go to rehab, in a kind of proud way with a joyful composition to back it up. ‘Back To Black’ is probably the 2nd most popular song off of this album and it’s easy to see why, including beautifully orchestrated instrumentation from the typical drums, guitar, bass to a large string section. Amy’s vocal performance throughout this album is excellent, bringing all the attitude and emotion of the original powerhouse jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, but with that pop sensibility and London twang.
Often Amy Winehouse is made a joke of or disrespected because of her drug abuse and appearance due to this, yet these people respect the original Jazz players whom also had a large history of drug abuse, including the great Charlie Parker who was addicted to Heroin. Of course a drug addiction isn’t anything to respect, but it happened and there are reasons for it happening if you watch the new Amy Winehouse documentary ‘Amy’. All we can really say is that Amy Winehouse had a truly original style, wrote authentic and emotionally driven music and never really had to change to be popular (in music).