The first Amy Winehouse song I heard was Fuck Me Pumps off of her debut album Frank, not a popular album in the states by any means but it was a shocking introduction. When I googled her and saw this tiny slip of a woman I was shocked beyond all measure. Her voice was astounding. Not because she was singing a note that I’ve never heard but she was singing a song that I felt in my bones.
I immediately tried to find all of her music and disappointingly only found a few songs but I was impressed by her vocals on everyone. Then seeing her perform live, it invoked the music of times gone past; soulful, tireless and completely taken over by the feeling that she was trying to invoke when she sang.
When Back to Black came out I rushed to get it and was not let down. Love is a losing game, Back to Black, Tears dry on their own, You know I’m no good…she became more human and more relateable than most of the music that was out of the time. It was considered “sad” but I couldn’t stop listening. I could feel her heartbreak, I could feel her losses, her gains…and then I realized because of the news that she was an addict. I struggled with this, as I’m sure many have. It is easy for non addicts to believe that getting off of a drug is easy; the same way it’s easy for someone to tell someone that’s depressed to stop being sad.
I was rooting for her. She was my Whitney. I defended her. I rallied for her and when I felt like my depression was taking me too far I listened to her music and felt like there was someone in the world who might understand. There was something about her that was raw, honest and unyielding and I admired it in everything she sang. It was impossible for me to not love her, I think looking back at it.
Now that she’s passed, I’m sad but not shocked. She could not find peace, she could not hold on to hope and i’m sure that in my darkest hour that will be something else that I’ll hold as a kin to her.
For the people that say that she’s not a legend and she doesn’t deserve to be called a talented artist because her addiction took her to a place that she could not escape…I’m not sure by what measure they’re judging. It’s always so acceptable for male, rock and roll artists to be addicts because that is part of the struggle but when it is in any other genre the same genius gets denied because of her issues with drugs.
I hope that whatever the afterlife brings if it is anything at all, that she is finally whole.
My thoughts are with her family.