Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse
























Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her North London home, Sky News is reporting. The Daily Mail reports that police have confirmed the passing.
In a statement, the London Metropolitan Police said, "Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained."
A suspected drug overdose took the life of the singer, Nick Buckley of the Sunday Mirror tweeted.
She's battled drug addiction for years, having most recently checked back into rehabilitation in May.
Winehouse entered treatment in late 2007 for drug problems, including admitted heroin use.
Earlier in the day, Tim Gatt of Sky News tweeted a statement from her manager saying that she was canceling upcoming performances, writing, "Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen."
She performed in a surprise appearance at the iTunes Festival on July 20th.

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz.
Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for "Stronger Than Me", one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for "Rehab", and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game", among other prestigious distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom.
Winehouse was credited as an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and also for revitalising British music. Winehouse's distinctive style made her a muse for fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld. Winehouse's problems with drug and alcohol abuse, and her self-destructive behaviours were regular tabloid news from 2007 until her death. She and her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were plagued by legal troubles that left him serving prison time. In 2008, Winehouse faced a series of health complications that threatened both her career and her life.
Winehouse died at the age of 27 on 23 July 2011 at her home in London; police have said that the cause of her death was "as yet unexplained".

Early life

Winehouse was born in the Southgate area of north London to a Jewish family, who were influential toward her interest in jazz. Winehouse was the younger of two children (older brother Alex) of Mitchell Winehouse, a taxi driver, and Janis Winehouse (née Seaton), a pharmacist. Mitchell often sang Frank Sinatra songs to young Amy, who also took to a constant habit of singing to the point that teachers found it difficult keeping her quiet in class.
When Winehouse was nine years old, her grandmother, Cynthia, suggested she attend the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School for further training. At age ten, Winehouse founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet 'n' Sour with childhood friend Juliette Ashby. She stayed at the Earnshaw school for four years before seeking full time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School, but was allegedly expelled at 14 for "not applying herself" and for piercing her nose. With other children from the Sylvia Young School, she appeared in an episode of The Fast Show in 1997. She later attended the BRIT School in Selhurst, Croydon and attended Southgate School and Ashmole School.

Music career

Early career

After toying with her brother's guitar, Winehouse received her first guitar when she was 13, and began writing music a year later. She began working soon after, including as a showbiz journalist for the World Entertainment News Network, in addition to singing with local group the Bolsha Band. Her boyfriend at the time, soul singer Tyler James, sent her demo tape to an A&R person. Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller's 19 Management in 2002. While being developed by the management company, the artist was kept an industry secret. Her future A&R representative at Island/Universal, Darcus Beese, heard her by accident when the manager of The Lewinson Brothers showed him some productions of his clients on which Winehouse featured as vocalist. When he asked who the singer was the manager told him he was not allowed to say. Having decided that he wanted to sign her it took several months of asking around for Beese to eventually discover who the singer was. By this time Winehouse had already recorded a number of songs and signed a publishing deal with EMI. Through the publishers she formed a working relationship with the producer Salaam Remi.
Beese introduced Winehouse to his boss, Nick Gatfield, and the Island head shared his enthusiasm in signing the young artist. Winehouse was signed to Island/Universal as rival interest in Winehouse had started to build, with representatives at EMI and Virgin also starting to make moves. Beese told HitQuarters that he felt the reason behind the excitement over an artist who was an atypical pop star for the time was due to a backlash against reality TV music shows with audiences becoming starved for genuine young talent.
Winehouse's greatest love was 1960s girl groups. She borrowed her "instantly recognisable" beehive hairdo and Cleopatra makeup from The Ronettes.

Major label success


Performing at the Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Winehouse's debut album, Frank, was released on 20 October 2003. Produced mainly by Salaam Remi, many songs were influenced by jazz 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 lyrics and brought comparisons of her voice to Sarah Vaughan, Macy Gray and others.
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 achieve platinum sales. Later in 2004, she won the Ivor Novello (songwriting) Award for Best Contemporary Song, alongside Salaam Remi, with her contribution to the first single, "Stronger Than Me". The album also made the short list for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize. In the same year, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival, the V Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival (7 July 2004, at the Club Soda), and on the Jazzworld stage. After the release of the album, Winehouse commented that she was "only 80 percent behind [the] album" because of the inclusion by her record label of certain songs and mixes she disliked.

International success

In contrast to her jazz-influenced former album, Winehouse's focus shifted to the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Winehouse hired New York singer Sharon Jones's longtime band, the Dap-Kings to back her up in the studio and on tour. In May 2006, Winehouse's demonstration tracks such as "You Know I'm No Good" 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 after the release of "Pumps" and both were slated to appear on her second album. The 11-track album was produced entirely by Salaam Remi and Ronson, with the production credits being split between them. Ronson said in a 2010 interview that he liked working with Winehouse because she was blunt when she did not like his work. Promotion of Back to Black soon began and, in early October 2006, Winehouse's official website was relaunched with a new layout and clips of previously unreleased songs. Back to Black was released in the UK on 30 October 2006. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart numerous times, and entered at number seven on the Billboard 200 in the United States. It was the best-selling album in the UK in 2007, selling 1.85 million copies over the year.

Continued success and acclaim


Winehouse performing at Eurockéennes in 2007
By year's end, Winehouse had garnered numerous accolades and awards. The singer won 2008 Grammy Awards in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single "Rehab", while her album Back to Black was nominated for Album of the Year and won the Best Pop Vocal Album award. Producer Mark Ronson's work with her won the award in the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical category. The singer also earned a Grammy in the Best New Artist category. This earned Winehouse an entry in the 2009 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Grammy Awards won by a British Female Act. She performed "You Know I’m No Good" and "Rehab" at the awards ceremony via satellite, as her visa approval came through too late for her to travel to the US. She said "This is for London because Camden town is burning down", in reference to the Camden Market fire. After the Grammy Awards, album sales increased catapulting Back to Black to number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 after initially peaking at number seven. On 13 January 2008, Back to Black held the number one position on the Billboard Pan European charts for the third straight week.In January 2008, Universal Music International said it believed that there was a correlation between number of albums sold and the extensive media coverage the singer had received.

Performing at Eurockéennes in Belfort, Territoire de Belfort, France on 29 June 2007
A special deluxe edition of Back to Black topped the UK album charts on 2 March 2008. The original edition of the album resided at the number 30 position, in its 68th week on the charts, while "Frank" charted at number 35. By 12 March, the album had sold a total of 2,467,575 copies, 318,350 of those in the previous 10 weeks, putting the album on the UK's top 10 best-selling albums of the 21st century for the first time. On 7 April, Back to Black was residing at the top position on the pan-European charts for the sixth consecutive and thirteenth aggregate week. Back to Black was the world's seventh biggest selling album for 2008. These sales helped keep Universal Music's recorded music division from dropping to levels experienced by the overall music market.
At the 2008 Ivor Novello Awards, Winehouse became the first artist to receive two nominations for the top award, best song, musically and lyrically. She won the award for "Love Is a Losing Game" and was nominated for "You Know I'm No Good". "Rehab", a Novello winner for best contemporary song in 2006, also received a 2008 nomination for best-selling British song. Winehouse was nominated for a MTV Europe Award in the Act of The Year category. Amy Winehouse – The Girl Done Good: A Documentary Review, a 78-minute DVD, was released on 14 April 2008. The documentary features interviews with those who knew her at a young age, helped her gain success, jazz music experts, as well as music and pop culture specialists. A clip of Winehouse's music is included in the "Roots and Influences" area that looks at connections between different artists at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC, which opened in December 2008. One thread starts with Billie Holiday continues with Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and finishes with Winehouse. In a poll of United States residents conducted for VisitBritain by Harris Interactive that was released in March 2009, one fifth of those polled indicated they had listened to Winehouse's music during the previous year. Winehouse performed with Rhythms del Mundo on their cover of the Sam Cooke song "Cupid" for an Artists Project Earth benefit album that was released on 13 July 2009.

Final projects

Winehouse and Mark Ronson contributed a cover of Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" to the Quincy Jones tribute album Q Soul Bossa Nostra released 9 November 2010. Winehouse and drummer ?uestlove of the Roots had agreed to form a group. Winehouse's problems obtaining a visa delayed the still unnamed group from working together. Producer Salaam Remi has already created some material with Winehouse as part of the project. According to a newspaper report, Universal Music pressed her regarding new material in 2008. According to that same report Winehouse as of 2 September had not been near a recording studio. It was noted that she had touring obligations during the summer and also that if an album was quickly recorded, it would be at least a year before an album could be released. In late October, Winehouse's spokesman was quoted as saying that Winehouse had not been given a deadline to complete her third album, for which she was learning to play drums.
During her 2009 stay in Saint Lucia Winehouse worked on new music with producer Salaam Remi. It was claimed by Island that a new album would be due in 2010, Island co-president Darcus Beese said, "I've heard a couple of song demos that have absolutely floored me". In July 2010 Winehouse was quoted as saying her next album would be released no later than January 2011, saying "It’s going to be very much the same as my second album, where there's a lot of jukebox stuff and songs that are... just jukebox, really." Mark Ronson said in July 2010 that he had not started to record the album.
American singer Tony Bennett recorded a song with Winehouse for his forthcoming album, Duets II, which is scheduled for release on 20 September 2011.

Personal life

Many paparazzi-published photographs of Winehouse were taken. The singer obtained an injunction against them under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The court order banned a leading paparazzi agency from following her. Photographers were also banned from following her within 100 metres of her home and photographing Winehouse in her home or the home of her friends and family. According to a newspaper report, sources close to the singer said legal action was taken out of concern for the safety of Winehouse and those close to her.

Relationships

Winehouse married on-off boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil (born August 1978), a former video production assistant, on 18 May 2007, in Miami, Florida. Fielder-Civil was a "dropout" of Bourne Grammar School, who moved to London at aged 16 from his native Lincolnshire. In a June 2007 interview, Winehouse admitted she could be violent towards him when she had been drinking. In August 2007, they were photographed, bloodied and bruised, in the streets of London after an alleged fight, although she contended her injuries were self-inflicted. Winehouse's parents and in-laws publicly reported their numerous concerns, citing fears that the two might commit suicide, with Fielder-Civil's father encouraging fans to boycott her music. Fielder-Civil was quoted in a British tabloid as saying he introduced her to crack cocaine and heroin. During a visit with Mitch Winehouse at the prison in July 2008, Fielder-Civil reportedly said that they would cut themselves to ease the pain of withdrawal.
From 21 July 2008 to 25 February 2009, Fielder-Civil was imprisoned following his guilty plea on charges of trying to pervert the course of justice as well as a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent. The incident, in July 2007, involved an assault on a pub landlord that resulted in a broken cheek. According to the prosecution the landlord accepted £200,000 as part of a deal to "effectively throw the [court] case and not turn up". The prosecution testified that the money used to pay off the landlord belonged to Winehouse, but that Winehouse pulled out of a meeting with the men involved in the plot, because she had to attend an awards ceremony.
Winehouse was spotted with aspiring actor Josh Bowman on holiday in Saint Lucia in early January 2009, saying she was "in love again, and I don't need drugs." She commented that the "whole marriage was based on doing drugs" and that "for the time being I've just forgotten I'm even married." On 12 January, Winehouse's spokesman confirmed that "papers have been received" for what Fielder-Civil's solicitor has said are divorce proceedings based on a claim of adultery. On 25 February, Blake Fielder-Civil was quoted as saying that he planned to continue divorce proceedings to give himself a drug-free fresh start.In March Winehouse was quoted in a magazine as saying, "I still love Blake and I want him to move into my new house with me – that was my plan all along ... I won't let him divorce me. He's the male version of me and we're perfect for each other." Uncontested, the divorce was granted on 16 July 2009 and became final on 28 August 2009. Upon his request Fielder-Civil received no money in the settlement. She is believed to have been dating director Reg Traviss shortly before her death. Winehouse also was openly bisexual.

Substance abuse and mental health issues

Winehouse's battles with substance abuse were the subject of much media attention. In various interviews, she admitted to having problems with self-harm, depression and eating disorders. In 2005, she went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use, violent mood swings and weight loss. People who saw her during the end of that year and early 2006 reported a rebound that coincided with the writing of Back to Black. Her family believes that the mid-2006 death of her grandmother, who was a stabilising influence, set her off into addiction. In August 2007, Winehouse cancelled a number of shows in the UK and Europe, citing exhaustion and ill health. She was hospitalised during this period for what was reported as an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol. Winehouse told a magazine that the drugs were to blame for her hospitalisation and that "I really thought that it was over for me then." Soon after, Winehouse's father commented that when he had made public statements regarding her problems, he was using the media because it seemed the only way to get through to her.
On 2 December 2007, images of the singer outside her home in the early morning hours, barefoot and wearing only a bra and jeans, appeared on the internet and in tabloid newspapers. In a statement, her spokesman blamed paparazzi harassment for the incident. The spokesman reported that the singer was in a physician-supervised programme and was channelling her difficulties by writing a lot of music. The British tabloid The Sun posted a video of a woman, alleged to be Winehouse, apparently smoking crack cocaine and speaking of having taken ecstasy and valium. Winehouse's father moved in with her, and Island Records, her record label, announced the abandonment of plans for an American promotion campaign on her behalf. In late January 2008, Winehouse reportedly entered a rehabilitation facility for a two-week treatment program.
On 23 January 2008, the video was passed on to the Metropolitan Police, who questioned her on 5 February. No charges were brought. On 26 March 2008, Winehouse's spokesman said she was "doing well" and denied a published report in a British tabloid that consideration was being given to having her return to rehab. Her record company reportedly believed that her recovery remained fragile. By late April 2008, her erratic behaviour, including an allegation of assault, caused fear that her drug rehabilitation efforts have been unsuccessful, leading to efforts by Winehouse's father and manager to seek assistance in having her sectioned. Her dishevelled appearance during and after a scheduled club night in September sparked new rumours of a relapse. Photographers were quoted as saying she appeared to have cuts on her legs and arms.
In an interview released in June 2009 Winehouse's father said the singer was in a drug replacement programme. He said she was gradually recovering but that heavy drinking was causing "slight backward steps". A documentary shot early in 2009 shows Winehouse apparently intoxicated according to a newspaper report. Pictures published by a magazine in July 2009 upon her return to the United Kingdom from her extended stay in Saint Lucia appeared to show that Winehouse had gained weight and that her complexion was improved. In an October 2010 interview Winehouse said she had been drug-free for three years, saying "I literally woke up one day and was like, 'I don’t want to do this any more.'”
Winehouse entered the Priory Clinic on 25 May 2011, where she stayed for one week.


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Albums
Singles
Winehouse's singles were as follows:

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