I loved Amy Winehouse's music the moment I heard it. That defiant, dismissive tone in the opening notes of "Rehab" - if you're at all familiar with Amy Winehouse at all, then you know what I'm talking about - sing it with me - "They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, No no no."
And this defiance would sadly be the catalyst to the downfall of a young, but troubled talent, gone from the world at the age of 27.
I will admit that I was shocked and devastated when I found out about Amy's death this summer. Like many people said, her death was not surprising - others cruelly commenting that "she had it coming" with her chosen lifestyle. But somehow still, I was deeply saddened at the loss of this young, talented woman. In the height of her popularity, I marveled at how young she was - younger than me!
For months after the release of Back To Black, I made it my goal to get my hands on any other recordings just to hear more of that voice. When I visited London, England in 2007, I brought home many CD singles - my most favourite being the single for "Back To Black" (which included the music video as well as two b-sides - "Valerie" from a BBC session and "You're Wondering Now).
In her downward spiral, I dismayed over the prospect of this talented woman becoming mere tabloid fodder. The drugs and boozing, show cancellations and performance embarrassments, there seemed to be so many scandals and then the bad influences surrounding her. Looking back, I suppose it's almost as surprising that she lasted that long.
A month after her death, when I finally willed myself to listen to Back To Black, I had to fight back tears. Her otherworldly voice, so full of life and sass, evoking the girl group era with that modern edge - there may be forthcoming imitators, but there will never be another Amy Winehouse.
I think it's so unfortunate that in order to hear new material from Amy, we had to wait for a posthumous release (Lioness: Hidden Treasures). The songs on this record are signature Amy and far from throwaway (why weren't they released sooner?), but upon the realization that there will never be any more new Amy Winehouse songs, my heart sank and I teared up.
"Our Day Will Come" is the first track from Lioness.
Check out the Amy Winehouse Foundation - a charitable foundation in Amy's memory, set up by her family. Proceeds from the sales of Lioness will be go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
Rest in peace, Amy.