Back to Black ~Amy Winehouse

amy2.jpg Although I didn’t grow up in the fifties, sixties or seventies, I have definitely fallen in love with the sounds from that era. Doo Wop and Jazz, real organic soul. The days of vintage clothing, platform heels, tiki glasses, afros and bedazzle.

Amy Winehouse, the British female solo artist is the reincarnated version of Sarah Vaughn with an ounce of Nina Simone and a pinch of Lauryn Hill, all wrapped up into one tiny, feisty package.

Winehouse first stepped onto the scene in October, of 2003, dropping her debut LP Frank.  A fusion between soul, hip hop and jazz. Tastefully, she delivers her man problems, her infatuations, catfights and cheating experiences in a prodigious, rough, sultry style.  

Now at twenty-three, she emerges once again as an extraordinarily talented mess. Amy’s music welcomes listeners to indulge in a world of sexy, spicy, riveting hip hop beats and bass-lines, orchestras and instrumental solos, which are all accessories to her gifted vocal abilities.

Winehouse grew up in the burbs of Southgate, North London, in a family that was all too familiar with the vivacity of jazz. Amy’s taste for sophisticated, harmonic idioms sweetened as she ripened with age.

Her first attempt to plunge into the music scene was at the eager age of ten, when she became one of three to form an amateur rap group she described as a ‘White Jewish Salt n’ Pepa.’ Once that failed to fulfill her young ambition, Amy became somewhat of a menace to greater London. Expelled at thirteen gave her a reason to oppose school and immerse herself into indecent behaviors. Bad boys and marijuana were her consistent heroins at that time. Yet, she never strayed away from her sanctuary; music. Being in possession of a gun while attempting to flee the country, violating parole, alcoholism, eating disorders and numerous social collapses followed in her later years. “I write things I’m torn about, that conflict me, I write autobiographically always” she says. “The way it all gets mixed up though, that’s just me trying to manifest what’s in myself, in song,” she adds.

Winehouse’s matured vocals are delivered with a fifties flair yet her tattoos, piercings, fuck me pumps appearance, sets her apart from the rest. Her brazen fashion sense and attitude sensationalized in British tabloids doesn’t faze her at all. “All news is good news, and if one person reads the paper and thinks whaat! She punched who! She said what! And goes, she must be mad, I’m going to buy her album, she must be quite cool, cuz she’s naughty,” utters Amy.  

Back to Black, her second compilation is the rebirth of jazz, keeping the original style of Billie Holiday in tacked, adding an unmistakable touch of Amy to the mix. Her words are outspoken and most of all real.  With tracks like Rehab, Tears Dry On Their Own, You Know I’m No Good, she adds a funk, Motown and gospel vibe to her modern interpretation of jazz. “I just hope that people won’t hear my stuff and go, this is that white girl from London, I hope they’ll go ‘this is a girl who’s actually got some soul, and she’s young but she’s had some experiences, and she’s relating to them and I can relate to that.”

She is, this album is, nothing less than a much needed, fresh approach to jazz music.    


~ by deliciousnoize on December 28, 2007.

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