Today an artist who showed such luster in her early career has been found dead at much too young an age. No doubt people will speculate about the cause of what London police are calling her unexplained death. Given her history, they’ll probably be right, but now is the time for mourning the loss of a tremendously talented woman. Amy Winehouse did what so many notable British artists before her have done: she began her career by imitating the best, she quickly grew into her own creative voice, and she found appropriate producers and other allies to amplify it.
Few obituaries do justice to the late Winehouse. JazzTimes certainly doesn’t sugar coat anything. The CBS News version rightly questions which was more tragic–her struggle with substance abuse or the resulting freak show that too many people too frequently made of it. Meanwhile, her adoring fans have already meticulously curated her wiki.
Sure, she had a few too many parallels with Billie Holiday, as with so many other great artists who had habits, but take a moment to remember her doing one of the things she did best: reinterpreting a standard.