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But even with only a few dozen recorded tracks to her name, Winehouse was already an icon: a badass little Jewish girl with a cartoonishly massive beehive and exaggerated swooshes of eyeliner who found room between all the tattoos and scars from cutting to wear her heart on her sleeve.
Moreover, there was just an undeniable power in her voice — husky and sultry and sad, like a broken heart marinating in whiskey and cigarette smoke. soul singer Adele, just one of several artists for whom Winehouse undeniably paved the way.
A friend helped her get into a studio to record demos, and by 2002, she had signed a publishing deal with EMI, a management deal with Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment and a label deal with Island UK.
Winehouse recorded her first album, 2003’s jazz- and hip-hop-inflected , with producer Salaam Remi (Nas, Fugees, Jurassic 5). The album went platinum in England, earned her a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize and won her the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting, but was never released in the U. tracked with her transition from being a stoner to being a boozer. “I suppose if you have an addictive personality then you go from one poison to the other.
She attended the Sylvia Young Theater School and the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology and a few others, but kept getting in trouble and eventually, around 15, Winehouse dropped out.
Her brother taught her to play guitar, and she started writing her own songs and performing them at local jazz clubs.
It was a voice that sounded like it came from another time, echoing Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin. “Rehab” was Winehouse to a T: wise-cracking, defiant, self-deprecating and somehow hopeful.
Her 2006 album , a refreshing and stylish blend of modern and classic R&B that appealed to a huge cross-section of music fans, was an instant classic, selling close to 10 million copies worldwide. She never made apologies for her personal demons, and the success of “Rehab” even made them her calling card.
Winehouse was still reeling from her calamitous performance in Belgrade, Serbia, last month that forced her to pull out of an 11-date European tour.In keeping with the singer’s religious heritage, friends and relatives have been gathering at the Winehouse family home to sit shiva, the traditional period of Jewish mourning.The time and location for her private family funeral have been kept a secret, but a spokesperson said services will take place Tuesday.At the time of its release, the album was the highest charting U. Her fucked-upness was part of her appeal, and if she could accept it, perhaps we could, too?But in recent years, she seemed to languish in her own mess, checking in and out of treatment, getting into fights that earned her assault charges, turning up in public with sores on her face or scratches up and down her arms.
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“The doctor was happy with her condition,” an anonymous source is quoted as saying.