Birthday: September 14, 1983
Died At Age: 27
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Amy Winehouse
Born in: Southgate, London,, England, UK
Famous as: Singer-songwriter
Spouse/Ex-: Blake Fielder-Civil (m. 2007–2009)
mother: Janis Winehouse
Died on: July 23, 2011
place of death: Camden, London,, England, UK
Amy Winehouse was a talented singer-songwriter who won five Grammy Awards for her album ‘Back to Black’. Her most famous album unfortunately became the last album released during her lifetime before her life was tragically cut short by accidental overdose of alcohol. She was born into a family of musicians and received constant encouragement for pursuing her musical endeavors. She was trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and appeared in an episode of ‘The Fast Show’ along with other schoolmates. Her family background and upbringing ensured that she was exposed to a variety of musical genres as a youngster. She loved singing so much that she would sing even during classes, much to the chagrin of her teachers. She began playing the guitar when she was 13 and soon started writing her own music. She admired the girl groups of the 1960’s and even imitated their style of dressing. A big fan of Frank Sinatra, she named her debut album after him. ‘Frank’ became a big success and bigger success would follow with her second album ‘Back to Black’. The album was nominated for six Grammy Awards and won five. The talented artist with the deep contralto voice seemed poised to reach even greater heights when she fell victim to alcoholism which clamed her life untimely.
Childhood & Early Life
Amy Winehopuse was the daughter of a taxi driver father, Mitchell Winehouse and pharmacist mother, Janis. Music was in her blood; several of her relatives from her mother’s side were musicians.
She loved music from an early age and just could not stop singing. She was often reprimanded at school for singing during classes.
She was sent to the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School for four years to receive vocal education.
She also received training at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, and appeared in an episode of ‘The Fast Show’ along with some other schoolmates.
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She began working as a teenager, one of her initial jobs being an entertainment journalist for the World Entertainment News Network. She also sang with local bands.
In 2002, her friend Tyler James sent her demo tapes an A&R person who helped her sign with Simon Fuller’s 19 Management.
Even though she was meant to be kept a recording industry secret, her recordings were accidentally heard by the A&R man at Island/Universal who became keen on signing the young artist.
She released her debut album ‘Frank’—named in honour of her idol Frank Sinatra— with Island Records in 2003. The album featured a mixture of jazz, hip-hop and soul music. It received positive reviews and won several prizes and nominations.
Around this time she also started receiving media attention for her substance abuse problems. Post the release of her debut album she plunged into a period of heavy drinking, drug addiction, eating disorders and mood swings which escalated during 2005.
Her second album, ‘Back to Black’ was out in 2006. It was a critically acclaimed album which was also a huge commercial hit. She won several Grammy Awards for it.
The single ‘Rehab’ was the first one released from ‘Back to Black’ in 2006. The song is about the troubled singer’s refusal to enter a rehabilitation center. Ironically, the critically successful single became her signature song.
She was a heavy smoker and drinker, and used illegal drugs like heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, etc. which took a toll on her health. She cancelled several of her shows and tours in 2007 because of ill health.
She claimed to have quit illegal drug use in early 2008 though she took up binge drinking. Her drinking habits worsened with time and fell into a pattern marked by periods of abstinence and then relapsing.
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A posthumous compilation album titled ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ was released by Island Records in December 2011. The album debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. Albums Chart.
Her second album ‘Back to Black’ was the best work of her short lifetime. It spawned the hit singles ‘Rehab’ considered to be her signature song. The album was critically acclaimed for its richness and beautiful lyrics.
Awards & Achievements
She won five Grammy Awards in 2008 for her album ‘Back to Black’, including the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
She won three The Ivor Novello Awards (2004, 2007 and 2008). These awards are given in recognition of songwriting and composing talents.
Personal Life & Legacy
She had a very troubled marriage with Blake Fielder-Civil that was marked by physical violence and drug abuse. In fact it was her husband who had introduced the singer to illegal drugs. The couple had got married in 2007 and divorced two years later.
She was dating Reg Traviss at the time of her death.
She had had several brushes with the law because of her violent behaviour and possession of illegal drugs.
She was involved with various charities like CARE, Christian Children’s Fund, Red Cross, Anti-Slavery international, etc. A little known facet of her personality was that she deeply cared about giving back to the society and generously donated to charitable organizations.
She had a long-term problem with alcoholism and died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, aged 27.
She is a member of the ’27 Club’— the list of prominent musicians who died at the age of 27.
She is the first British Female to win five Grammy Awards.