When I think of comfort music, music where you can relax or groove or wallow and feel completely understood, Amy Winehouse’s discography is one of the first that comes to mind. The authenticity and vulnerability that permeates throughout the construction and performance of her songs makes her a unique talent in the 21st century musical cannon, her songs absorb emotion like a cathartic sponge to help you be released and move on, the same as her music did for herself. The way she never sang one of her songs the same way twice, her iconic hair, piercing eyes, and bold eyeliner, her unfortunately very public struggles with media attention and substance abuse; people got to see every inch of her life and music. This is an obsession that still survives 10 years after her tragic death on 23 July 2011.
Her 2006 album Back to Black was one of the most successful albums of the decade, being the worldwide 7th highest selling album released in the 21st century. Amy’s music touched the world, her music and life drawing attention to topics such as substance abuse and mental health issues when they were still taboo internationally, things she suffered from and other things she kept private, such as her bulimia and possible queerness.
The Oscar-winning 2015 documentary Amy and the recent T.V. documentary Reclaiming Amy released on the 10th anniversary of her death both show a more private, personal, and heart-breaking side of the singer. A vulnerable and troubled, yet outlandish and spirited person.
Her music expanded my horizons of genre and of what music could be when I was younger. Amy took inspiration from classic jazz sounds and singers and created her own blend of soul and jazz infused in all of her songs. Any dreaded monotony you feel in life will instantly be uplifted when listening to her music. Amy Winehouse’s distinctive style, sound and attitude, as well as her rise and fall from grace, make her an exceedingly well-deserved singer to be remembered, loved, and mourned for years to come.