Birth and Death:
Full name: Amy Jade Winehouse.
Born: Sept. 14, 1983 in London, England.
Died: July 23, 2011 in London, England.
Amy Winehouse was born and raised in London, England, the daughter of Janis and Mitch Winehouse and the brother of Alex Winehouse, who was born four years earlier. Amy's parents separated when she was nine years old, but she grew up with her father imprinting his love for jazz songs onto her, particularly artists like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, who Mitch Winehouse was a big fan of. His love for music eventually led to his daughter growing up with a love for performing. From the age of 9 on, Amy attended private schools specializing in the teaching of performing arts, where she hones her skills as a vocalist and songwriter.
In the early 2000s, a singer Amy was dating at the time, Tyler James, gave her demo to a record industry contract, which eventually led to her being signed to a management contract, and then a deal with Island Records in 2002. Her debut album, the jazz-pop release Frank, was released in the U.K. in October 2003. (It would eventually be released in the U.S. in November 2007, after she reached international superstardom.) Although Frank wasn't a large commercial success at the time of it's release, it did garner some positive reviews and spawned four singles between October 2003 and August 2004. But by the time she toured in support of album in 2004-2005, her focus had shifted from jazz to '60s-style doo-wop and Soul music.
During the recording of her second album, Amy enlisted the services of famed retro band the Dap-Kings, along with producer Mark Ronson and another producer who had played a large part in the crafting of her debut album, Salaam Remi. The resulting album was Back to Black
, a sad, melancholy release about the break-up of a relationship and its after-effects. The album, which was released in the U.K. in October 2006 and in the U.S. in March 2007, became best known for its defiant lead single, "Rehab," which is about her refusal to follow her management team's advice to enter an alcohol rehabilitation center. The song made Amy a household name and the album eventually sold millions of copies, spawned numerous other hit singles and won various awards, including five Grammys.
Drug & Alcohol Issues:
During her lifetime, Amy was plagued by drug and alcohol abuse problems. Her first hit song, "Rehab," was about her refusal to seek treatment for her issues, and she also openly sang about her love for marijuana on the song "Addicted." Drugs are also mentioned on more of her songs, including "Back to Black" where sings "you love blow (cocaine) and I love bud (marijuana)," presumably to her then-boyfriend, Blake Fielder-Civil, whom she married in May 2007 and had a rocky marriage with, fueled by increasing drug usage. They officially divorced in August 2009, but separated well before then.
December 2009: Amy was arrested on assault charges stemming from an incident where she struggled with a theater manager after she began to heckle a live performance. She was convicted of simple assault and had to pay a small fine and consent to two years' of the British equivalent of probation.
May 2008: She was arrested by London police for narcotics possession after a video circulated showing her appearing to smoke illegal drugs. She was eventually released.
April 2008: A 38-year-old man alleged that Amy hit him when he got in her way while she was playing pool at a London bar, and that she also head-butted another patron. She was left off with a warning.
October 2007: Amy was arrested at a hotel in Norway for drug possession with her then-husband while on tour. She paid a fine and was released.
Her July 23, 2011 death was officially ruled by a coroner as alcohol poisoning. She was found in bed unresponsive by a bodyguard, who testified that he'd seen her drinking moderately the previous three days. At the time of her death, she five times the legal limit of liquor in her system, an autopsy found. Her funeral was held July 26, 2011 in north London.
Awards & Accolades:
2008: Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
2008: Song of the Year Grammy for "Rehab."
2008: Record of the Year Grammy for "Rehab."
2008: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for "Rehab."
2008: Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy for Back to Black.
2007: BRIT Award for Best Female Solo Artist.
2007: MOBO Award for Best UK Female.