Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

Singer Amy Winehouse passed yesterday at the age of 27. The cause is not yet known.

Amy Winehouse was born in Southgate, London. She took an interest in singing while still a child. She attended the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School and then the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Westminster, the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon, the Southgate School in Enfield,  and the Ashmole School in Southgate.

Miss Winehouse began writing music after receiving her first guitar at age 13. She would eventually be signed by Island/Universal. Her first album, Frank, was released in 2003. The album received good reviews from critics and peaked at #13 on the albums chart in the United Kingdom and at 26 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums in the United States. Four singles were released from the album.

Amy Winehouse would have much more success with her second album, Back to Black, released in 2006. The album received widespread critical acclaim. It was also a smash hit. It topped at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart in the United States and #1 on the UK albums chart. Six singles were released from the album. She would also appear as a featured artist on Mark Ronson's song "Valerie (released 2007)" and Tony Bennett's rendition of "Body and Soul" released in 2011.

I cannot say I was a huge Amy Winehouse fan. I liked some of her songs and others I did not. That having been said, I cannot deny that she was a fantastic vocalist. Indeed, she was one of the few vocalists today who could match the R&B artists of the Fifties and Sixties. I also cannot deny the impact her career, short though it may have been, on music today. No less than Lady Gaga has credited Amy Winehouse as paving the way for more unconventional female artists herself. Welsh soul artist Adele has credited Miss Winehouse with opening up the United States for similar artists such as herself and fellow Welsh soul singer Duffy.  Along with English pop singer Lily Allen, Miss Winehouse has been considered part of a new wave of female music artists, which would include Lady Gaga and Adele. While her career was short, then, Amy Winehouse would appear to have a lasting impact on modern music.

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