Back to black: Remembering the musical genius of Amy Winehouse
Four years ago, on July 23, 2011, the universe lost one of its brightest stars: singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. On top of the world after winning five Grammys for her multi-platinum album “Back to Black,” the human side of the superstar was suddenly apparent. After years of struggling with substance abuse, Winehouse’s body was found alone in her bedroom. In the hours leading up to her death by alcohol poisoning, she had binged on vodka and viewed YouTube clips of herself, a coroner later concluded.
When Winehouse sang, each note that came out her mouth bemoaned the agony and torment that the soul singer had experienced during her short 27 years of life as she battled the pains of addiction and a tormented relationship with her jailed ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. It was out of these struggles that Winehouse also gave birth to her masterpiece album, channeling her profound sadness to create the deeply personal collection of heartbreak songs that was released in 2006.
The lead single “Rehab,” which would go on to win the Grammy Award for both song and record of the year, laid bare her struggle with addiction.
Winehouse ultimately became a modern-day version of the jazz singers she had listened to as a child on rides in father’s taxi cab. She paved the way for a new generation of artists like Adele, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. “I don’t think she ever realized just how brilliant she was and how important she is, but that just makes her even more charming,” Adele said at the time of Winehouse’s death.
Years later, her spirit remains a force to be reckoned with, roaring on in the timeless recordings that she created.