Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul), rhythm and blues, jazz and reggae. Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the record at that time 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 general field “Big Four” awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for “Stronger Than Me”; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for “Rehab”; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game”. She won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female artist, having also been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.
Winehouse began binge drinking alcohol in 2008 after ceasing her dependence on illicit drugs. By summer 2011, she had fallen into a pattern of abstaining from alcohol for a few weeks, and then relapsing. One such relapse led to her death by alcohol intoxication in the morning hours of 23 July 2011.
Winehouse’s bodyguard said that he arrived at her residence three days before her death and felt she was somewhat intoxicated. He observed moderate drinking over the next few days. He observed her “laughing, listening to music and watching TV at 2 am the day of her death”. According to the bodyguard, at 10 am he observed her lying on her bed and tried unsuccessfully to rouse her. This did not raise much suspicion because she usually slept late after a night out. According to the bodyguard, shortly after 3 pm, he checked on her again and observed her lying in the same position as before, leading to a further check, in which he concluded that she was not breathing and had no pulse. He said he subsequently called emergency services.
At 3:54 pm BST on 23 July 2011, two ambulances were called to Winehouse’s home in Camden, London. Winehouse was pronounced dead at the scene. Shortly afterwards, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that she had died. After her death was announced, media and camera crews appeared, as crowds gathered near Winehouse’s residence to pay their respects. Forensic investigators entered the flat as police cordoned off the street outside; they recovered one small and two large bottles of vodka from her room. After that day, the singer broke her second Guinness World Record: for the most number of simultaneous hit songs to enter the UK singles chart by a woman.
After years of abusing drugs, then alcohol, Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011. Her album Back to Black posthumously became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century, at that point. In 2012, Winehouse was ranked 26th onVH1’s 100 Greatest Women In Music. The BBC has called her “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation” … Rest in Peace Amy.