Amy Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011).
Born in Southgate, London, at nine years old, Amy attended the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School and at ten, she founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour. She stayed at the Earnshaw school for four years before seeking full time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School, she appeared in an episode of The Fast Show in 1997 before allegedly being expelled at 14 for “not applying herself” and for piercing her nose. Amy had taken up the guitar at 13 and was writing songs by the age of 14. 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.
She signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Management in 2002. Amy’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 distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom.
She was credited as an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and also for revitalising British music. British singer Adele had credited Amy’s success in the US for making her and fellow British singer Duffy’s journey to the United States and American singer Lady Gaga credited Amy with paving the way for her rise to the top of the charts. Tragically her problems with drug and alcohol illness, and her self-destructive behaviours were regular tabloid news from 2007 until her death, and had sadly started to affect her short but amazing and iconic career.