The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (2024)

Amy Winehouse's untimely deathsentshockwaves to every corner of the British capital, as herlove for London and its buzzhad always beenthe cornerstone of her creative work. She was particularly devoted to the neighborhood of Camden Town — so much so that in 2008, she famously dedicated her five Grammy Awards to her chosen home.

Ten years after her death, you can still find memories of Winehouse all over Camden and other parts ofnorth London,where she had spent much of her childhood and formative years, helping to shape heras an artist.

Her family also played a role in her musical development, exposing her tomany mid-century musical influences starting at an early age.Winehouse's grandmother, Cynthia,workedas a professional vocalist,and her father, Mitch, was a big fan of the Rat Pack.

Raised on jazz standards

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (1)

Grandma Cynthiaperformed at places like the legendary Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on Frith Street in Soho but alsojust in the family living room. Amy would sing along, or sometimes she would imitate the voices on the vinyl recordsher dad played, fromDinah Washington and Sarah Vaughn to Frank Sinatra andBillie Holiday.

These voices greatly influenced Winehouse — with her voice often beingcompared to Billie Holiday's in particular.

Though Winehouse later toured the world, during her formative years, her universe revolved around Camden Town. The creative hub, known for its live music venues and edgy arts scene, was easy to reach both from her family home in Southgate in north London and from the performance arts school she attended.

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (2)

A local Camden girl

As she grew into a famous global rockstar, Winehouse adopted the rockabilly look that Camden was known for, withher signaturebeehive hairdo eventually reaching gravity-defying heights. Winehouse would feed off the energy of local pubs and venues like the Hawley Arms or the Dublin Arms, where many music legends had come and gone before her.

But this is also where arguably she acquired some of the more self-destructive behavior that led to her ultimate demise. Sheoften tumbledhome in the early hours of the morning from pubs and barswhere she was introduced to illicit substances. Sometimes, she reportedlyeven passed out in the small cubicle toiletswhile, on other days, shejumped behind the bar and helped the staff serve pints of beer.

It was important to Amy to be perceived as a local girland not as a globalsuperstar. Today, these pubs and other Camden landmarks all remember Winehouse and exhibit special memorabilia ranging from set lists to autographed albums.

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (3)

'They tried to make me go to rehab'

Winehouse'sdescent into self-destruction waswell documented.Paparazzi photographers would follow her everywhere, trying to make a splash with sensationalist images of the superstar behaving in an unruly manner.

The cameras didn't even let up when she checked into the well-known Priory rehab facility in southwest London for the second time, in 2011. Her death weeks later at 27by alcohol poisoning may not exactly have been a surprise,but it still left the Camdencommunitytraumatized. Today, fans still come to visit her house at 30 Camden Square and leave flowers and other tributes in hermemory.

Whatcaused the downward spiral?

Many of Winehouse's fans still struggle today to understanding her spiralingself-sabotage. Her friend andconfidante Tyler James, who lived with her at the same address at the time of her death, maintains that she simply caved in under the pressure of her celebrity status.

"Amy had never wanted to be famous. She wanted to be a jazz singer," he wrotein his recently published, tell-all account of their friendship, titled My Amy: The Life We Shared.

James also appears to lay at least some of the blame for Winehouse's descent into addiction on her family, implying that her iconic brand had become a family business that needed to be maintained likea well-oiled machine.

James'book drewire from the Winehouse family, who said in a statement that it contained factual inaccuracies, such as the claim that Winehouse had been on antidepressants since the age of 14.

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (4)

But others have come out to say that Winehouse hit a rough patch in her teenage years. Recently, Catriona Gourlay, another close friend of Winehouse, claimed that the singer might have been confused about her sexual orientation.

The Winehouse family have announced that they willrecount their side of Amy's story in an upcoming documentary produced by the BBC. But will this shine any light on who Amy Winehouse truly was and what events in her life drew her into substance abuse?

Most likely, the truth behind her declinewill remain a complex secret that only the deceased singer knew in full.

A timeless musical influence

Since Winehouse's death, many performers, such asLana del Rey or Lady Gaga,have followed in her footsteps by combiningnostalgic references to times long gone with contemporary sounds created by the latest sound-editingsoftware.

"Amy changed pop music forever. I remember knowing there was hope and feeling not alone because of her. She lived Jazz, she lived the blues,"Lady Gaga said about Winehouse's musical achievements.

In particular, many British artistshave stressed thatWinehouse gave popularmusic from the UK a major renaissance after the glow of BritPop from the mid-1990s had long faded.

"Because of her, I picked up a guitar, and because of her, I write my own songs,"British singer Adele said about Winehouse.

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (5)

Other British stars like Sam Smith, Jessie J or Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine have also benefitted from the Winehouse effect, asrecord labels have since been signing British performers with big, bold voices -especially females.

While all these musicians flourish in their own careers, the accomplishment of Amy Winehouse's two albums,Frank and Back to Black, as well as the posthumous compilation Lioness,have certainly stood the test of time, becoming timeless works of art that still resonate with audiences today, and continue to carry the unique flavor of Amy Winehouse's Camden life out into the world.

The influential, inimitable Amy Winehouse – DW – 07/22/2021 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 6173

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.