Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I guess maybe I'm the last person on earth to learn about Amy Winehouse.
I'm not much for current music, and I don't read the gossip columns, so I only had a faint recollection of who she is. All I really knew was that she was a singer that had a drug problem and was often a subject of media attention.
So last Friday, I met a friend for dinner, and as she pulled up, I could hear this really cool 50's music coming from her car. Since my friend is a cool decade younger than me, I was impressed that she had an affinity for the old stuff, even if the artist wasn't immediately apparant to me. After dinner, I asked her what she had been listening to. Imagine my surprise when she told me it was Amy Winehouse. She happily loaned me her copy of "Back to the Black" and I listened to about half of it on the way home.
I need to quickly interject that while I have a VAST appreciation for all kinds of music - many genres spanning many decades, I really do not care for most female singers. The ones I seem to admire most are from a different generation- like Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Whitney Houston - they sing with so much emotion that I feel them connected to something so much larger than themselves.
Listening to Amy Winehouse, a 24 year old Britsh girl, I hear that. She's glorious. Each song on the album shows such range and versitility. She had a depth to her voice that just goes on and on.
Some of these songs literally give me goosebumps while listening to them. The break in "Back to the Black" - the part that goes. "Blaaaaaaaaaaack" just rips me up. I'm not exactly sure that I've ever been so affected by a song.
Hearing parts of "Tears Dry on Their Own" pull me right back to the 1970's, listening to oldies play on AM radio. It's THAT intense for me. "Me and Mr. Jones?" Oh my God. The arrangements on these songs are brilliant. I close my eyes and can smell the cigarette smoke in the air of an old dance hall - the smell of the leather booth - martini glass in hand.....
She's timeless. And this poor soul is a mess. I'm worried that she is going to die.
I hit the internet that night only to learn that Amy has extensive alcohol, drug and self abusive problems. I watched one live video after another where she was visibly under the influence of one substance or another. It was heartbreaking to me that this beautiful soul could be so....lost.
It's hard to understand why someone, anyone, doesn't reach out and help her. I have friends in the music industry, and to the best of my understanding, it's sometimes difficult for an artist to get anyone to be truthful to them. Since you are signing their paychecks, they aren't always going to give you the straight shit because they don't want to see their meal ticket end. So the artists get really distanced from reality. This can especially happen when popularity hits (seemingly) overnight.
I personally don't want this beautiful flower to wither and die so quickly. Amy's birthday is coming up on the 14th. Maybe for just a moment, we could all just say a little prayer for her survival and send some positive, healing energy her way.
God's already got a pretty awesome band. Let's see if we can keep Amy here with us for a good while longer.