Amy Jade Winehouse (September 14, 1983 July 23, 2011) was a Soul/R&B/Jazz singer and songwriter, active from 2000 to 2011. Her two albums, Frank and Back to Black, both received critical acclaim, and Back to Black won five Grammys, making Winehouse the first ever British artist to win that many. She also won a number of other prestigious awards throughout her career, including 3 Ivor Novello awards, a Mobo award, a world music award, a Q music award, an MTV Europe Music Award, and a Brit award. Both of her albums spun off several hit singles; she had 15 charted singles in total throughout her career spanning only nine years, including many covers and collaborations with artists such as Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones. Back to Black would eventually become the best selling album of the '00s and the entire 21st century in the United Kingdom, but also enjoyed considerable mainstream success abroad, including all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and America.
Winehouse would go on to influence many subsequent female singers of the 00's with the likes of Adele, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Duffy, Florence Welch, Emeli Sandé, Lana Del Rey, and Lady Gaga citing her as a big influence as well as a reason for their success. She is credited by many as an influence in the rise of popularity of the eccentric female singer-songwriter all over the world as well as revitalising soul music and the stagnated British music scene, and also for kicking off a third British Invasion.
In the later years of her life, she attempted to launch the career of her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, whom she was also a mentor and best friend of.
She also had myriad personal problems, however, including alcoholism and other drug abuse and depression, which made her a tabloid magnet and ruined her marriage. She was working on a third album when she was found dead in her London flat on July 23, 2011, joining a long line of musicians that died at the age of 27.
Following her death, her father set up a charity called The Amy Winehouse Foundation in her honour, to help those affected with alcoholism and other drug addictions around the world.
Tropes related to Amy Winehouse:
- The Alcoholic: The unfortunate side effect of fame...which eventually killed her. Several of her songs, including her biggest hit "Rehab", also chronicle her struggles with alcohol abuse.
- Amen Break: Used in "You Know I'm No Good" from Back to Black.
- Briefer Than They Think: Only released two albums, and only rose to international prominence with her final non-posthumous album, but opened up the door for everyone from Lady Gaga to Adele and Jessie J.
- Eating the Eye Candy: The lyrics of "Amy Amy Amy" are four minutes of this.
- Hammerspace Hair: In 2008, Amy was filmed taking cocaine on stage, after apparently taking the vial out of her hair. MAD once suggested in a comic-strip parody of Cathy called "Amy!" that she hid drugs in her beehive hairdo. They thought they were joking...
- Improbable Hairstyle: Her famous beehive just got bigger over the years. It started out normal, looked enhanced by the Back to Black video, and by the time her drug issues started to take over from the rest of her career it was just basically a ball of hair extensions as big as her head. For the last few public appearances, it looked like she'd ditched it in favour of just having it lifted out at the back a little.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Had a Cockney accent when talking, and the voice of an African-American soul singer when singing.
- Shout-Out: "October Song" namechecks legendary jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in the chorus.
- Super Group: As "Truth+Soul" with Adele and Aloe Blacc for the L.A. Noire soundtrack.
- Wolverine Publicity: Pulled this trick a few times in 2009 and 2010 by having shows advertise a performance from her, then revealing she was playing backing singer for Dionne Bromfield, in an effort to launch her career.