Amy Winehouse

Biography

Members: Amy Jade Winehouse

Active: 2003 - present

HISTORY

Amy Jade Winehouse (born 14 September 1983) 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.

EARLY LIFE

Winehouse was born to 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.

2003-2004 FRANK

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.

2006-2007 BACK TO BLACK

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", was released on April 30, 2007 and peaked at #25.

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 and Toronto, Ontario.

ALBUMS

2003 - Frank
2006 - Back to Black

SINGLES

2003 - "Stronger than Me" Frank
"Take the Box"
2004 -"In My Bed" / "You Sent Me Flying"
"Pumps" / "Help Yourself"
2006 - "Rehab" Back to Black
2007 - "You Know I'm No Good"
"Back to Black"
2007 - "Tears Dry On their Own

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OptimusPrime

Submitted by OptimusPrime at Thu 24 May, 2007 5:15 am

OptimusPrime

Last updated by OptimusPrime at Thu 24 May, 2007 5:15 am

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