|Amy Jade Winehouse was born on 14th September 1983 in Southgate, London, England.
Amy Winehouse-Gap Rating 2/10
She is an English soul, jazz, and R&B singer and songwriter. Her debut album, Frank (released in 2003) was nominated for the Mercury Prize and she won an Ivor Novello Award in 2004 for her debut single "Stronger than Me". In 2006, she released her second album, Back to Black. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist.
Winehouse was born into an English-Jewish family with a history of jazz musicians. She grew up in the suburb of Southgate, North London, and attended Ashmole School. At around age 10, Winehouse founded a short-lived amateur rap group called Sweet 'n' Sour, as Sour. She described the group as "the little white Jewish Salt 'n' Pepa". She attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School when she was 12 years old but was expelled at 13 for "not applying herself" and piercing her own nose. She later attended the BRIT School in Selhurst, Croydon.
She grew up listening to a diverse range of music (from Salt 'n' Pepa to Sarah Vaughan) and received her first guitar at 13. Artists who have influenced her style include Nas, Mos Def, Teena Marie, Beastie Boys, Carole King, Mahalia Jackson, The Ronettes, The Shirelles, Sarah Vaughan, Minnie Ripperton, Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, The Specials, Toots and the Maytals and Thelonious Monk.
After her friend, soul singer Tyler James, gave her demo tape to an A&R person, she was discovered and began singing professionally at age 16. She signed to her current record label, Island/Universal, under management company 19 Management.
Winehouse's debut album, Frank, was released on October 20, 2003. It was produced mainly by Salaam Remi with many songs having jazz-influences and, apart from two covers, every song was co-written by Winehouse. The album received positive reviews with compliments over the "cool, critical gaze" in its (sometimes explicit) lyrics and brought comparisons of her voice to, amongst others, Sarah Vaughan and Macy Gray.
The album entered the upper levels of the UK album chart in 2004 when it was nominated for BRIT Awards in the categories of "British Female Solo Artist" and "British Urban Act". It went on to sell platinum. Later in 2004, she won the Ivor Novello songwriting Award for "Best Contemporary Song" with her contribution to the first single, "Stronger Than Me" (alongside Salaam Remi). The album also made the short list for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize. In the same year, she performed at the Glastonbury festival, on the Jazzworld stage, and at the V Festival.
After the release of the album, Winehouse commented that she was "only 80 percent behind [the] album" because of the inclusion of certain songs and mixes she disliked by her record label. Upon the release of her second album, she stated "I can’t even listen to Frank any more — in fact, I’ve never been able to. I like playing the tracks live because that’s different but listening to them is another story." She later clarified this, saying "I listen to it differently now. I am still really proud of it, I still think it's a great album. But, with hindsight, there are some things I would have done differently... Just because I would do things a bit differently now doesn't mean I don't like what's on that album."
In early 2006, demonstration tracks such as "Wake Up Alone" and "Rehab" appeared on Mark Ronson's New York radio show on East Village Radio. These were some of the first new songs played on the radio since the release of "Pumps" and were both to appear on her second album. "Back to Black" went to number 1 on the UK charts, and entered at number seven in the USA, becoming the highest debut for a British solo female, only to be outdone two weeks later by Joss Stone who debuted at number two with Introducing Joss Stone.
The album was released on October 30, 2006, a little more than three years after the release of Frank. In an interview, Winehouse explained "After Frank I didn’t write for 18 months but when I met Mark (Ronson) I pretty much wrote the album in six months — he was so inspiring." In contrast to her jazz-influenced former album, Winehouse's focus is described as "shifting to the girl groups of the Fifties and Sixties". The eleven-track album was produced entirely by Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, with the production credits being split between them almost equally.
The first single released from the album on October 23, 2006 was the Ronson-produced "Rehab", a song about her past refusal to attend an alcohol rehabilitation centre after it was encouraged by her management company. She left the management company after this incident. On October 22, 2006, based solely on download sales, it entered the UK Singles Chart at #19 and when the CD single was released the following week, it climbed to 7. On 14 January 2007, the album rose one spot from 2 to reach the 1 position on the UK Album Chart. After the success of her BRIT award win her album again rose to 1 on 25 February. One of the Songs on Winehouse's album titled "Me And Mr. Jones" is rumored to be about rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones. This is based on references her lyrics, such as "Mr. Destiny, 9 and 14" Destiny is the name of his child with ex-girlfriend Carmen, and September 14 is a birthday both Winehouse and Nas share. In Winehouse's song "Rehab," she refers to "Ray" and "Mr. Hathaway." These are references to Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway.
In early October 2006, Winehouse's official website was re-launched with a new layout and clips of previously unreleased songs. She appeared in an interview with Jools Holland on BBC Radio 2 on October 2, 2006 and was a guest on Later with Jools Holland on November 3, 2006. Winehouse performed three headline gigs in September 2006 and in November 2006 performed another ten across the UK, including headlining one of the Little Noise Sessions charity concerts at the Union Chapel, Islington. She is scheduled to headline another fourteen gigs over February 2007 - March 2007. On November 9, 2006 Winehouse announced she had been approached by one of the producers of the James Bond movies to sing the main theme of Bond 22.
The second single from the album was "You Know I'm No Good". The single was released on January 8, 2007 with a remix featuring rap vocals by Ghostface Killah. It made #18 in the UK singles chart and, in the same week's chart, "Rehab" climbed back up to 20. Back to Black was released in the United States in March 2007, with "You Know I'm No Good" as its lead single. The album entered at no. 7, the highest ever debut position for a British female artist. A third UK single, "Back to Black", is due for release on April 2, 2007.
On December 31, 2006, Winehouse appeared on Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny and performed a cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" along with Paul Weller and Hollands' Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. She also performed Toots and the Maytals' "Monkey Man".
At the BRIT Awards 2007, she performed her hit "Rehab". She won the Best British Female Artist award.
Winehouse's wardrobe on her recent UK tour was sponsored by the clothing label Gio-Goi, it has recently been rumoured that she is to become the face of the label's 2007 Women's wear collection following in the footsteps of Pete Doherty who is the face of menswear. On August 4, 2007, Winehouse is set to perform at the Virgin Music Festival held in Baltimore, Maryland.
During the promotional phase of the album, Winehouse appeared repeatedly in the British press with regard to her "personal issues". In September 2006, Winehouse was reported to have dropped three dress sizes because of comments made to her about her size. In an interview in The Daily Telegraph Magazine (September 16, 2006), when asked if this was the cause she replied "No. No. I don't listen to anyone except my ... inner child anyway. If someone had said to me, Amy, lose a stone - which they wouldn't - I don't think I would have listened anyway."
In the same month, The Independent published an article about manic depression, in which it quotes Winehouse as stating that she is a clinically diagnosed manic depressive who refuses to take medication. In October 2006, Winehouse admitted to have previously been affected by eating disorders. "A little bit of anorexia, a little bit of bulimia. I'm not totally OK now but I don't think any woman is."
Over the next two months, Winehouse made multiple appearances in the British tabloids over alleged alcohol-induced behaviour. This included a 'drunken' appearance on The Charlotte Church Show (which appeared on YouTube), eckling U2 frontman Bono during an acceptance speech at the Q Awards, and incidents where she allegedly assaulted a fan after a concert and an attendee at her album launch party. When questioned during an interview about being violent when drunk, Winehouse responded “I have a really good time some nights, but then I push it over the edge and ruin my boyfriend’s night. I’m an ugly dickhead drunk, I really am.”
On November 16, 2006 she appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks seemingly drunk and faced repeated, jokey comments from host Simon Amstell about what he claimed were her alcohol and drug problems. On January 7, 2007 Winehouse ended a gig at G-A-Y part way through her first song after vomiting, reportedly as a result of being intoxicated. In an interview the Australian edition of The Big Issue 275 Amy said this was from food poisoning after an overseas flight that day. At the Elle Style Awards on February 14, 2007 Winehouse was spotted with a number of older and more recent cuts and scars on her arm, which her spokesman attributed to recently tumbling and falling over on the streets of New York. Despite recording a BBC 1 Sessions TV special on March 7, 2007 she cancelled two big sell-out shows at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire due to take place on the subsequent two evenings. Speculation about drinking problems continued when she was pictured on the morning of one of the gigs in the drinks section of her local supermarket, and also later that night drinking in a pub in Camden with comedian Noel Fielding and presenter Alex Zane. In April 2007, The Sun newspaper reported that Winehouse and her on-off boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil were engaged after Winehouse accepted Fielder-Civil's proposal. Winehouse has a number of "old school" tattoos of naked women on her body. When asked about them, she was quoted as saying “I like pin-up girls. I’m more of a boy than a girl. I’m not a lesbian, though — not before a sambuca anyway.”
- Winehouse's favourite cocktail is a Rickstasy (three parts vodka, one part Southern Comfort, one part banana liqueur, and one part Baileys). “By the time you’ve had two of them you’re like, don’t even try and go anywhere. Sit down and stay down, until the birds start singing.”
- On January 10 Amy sang for BBC Radio 1 Show Live Lounge. During the session, Amy sang her new single "You Know I'm No Good", and covered the Zutons song "Valerie".
- The Mark Ronson-produced tracks feature the backing of the Daptone Records house band, The Dap Kings.
- She revealed to Ireland's Hot Press that her first kiss "was about 11 or 12 and it was with a Greek boy called Chris. .... who's gay now!"
- Winehouse appeared with Paul Weller at his BBC Electric Proms gig, where Weller introduced her as "one of the greatest vocalists around at the moment". They performed an Etta Jones song called "Don't Go To Strangers".
- Amy Winehouse once attributed her slim figure to giving up cannabis. The former anorexia and bulimia sufferer said: "I stopped smoking weed and started going to the gym. I’m a size eight now, I was a size 10 before."
- Is featured on Rolling Stone's website as one of 10 artists to watch for in the year 2007.
- She appeared in series three of The Fast Show.
- On May 11, 2007, Winehouse was set to appear on Canadian music show, Much on Demand, and appeared late, with only enough time to play her song "Rehab". Before her arrival, to please the crowd, they brought out VJ Leah Miller's boyfriend Dallas Green of Alexisonfire and City and Colour.