British songstress Amy Winehouse, 27, has been found dead in her London apartment in what authorities are reporting as “unexplained circumstances.”
Winehouse, who is perhaps best known for her 2006 album Back to Black, is credited with redefining the soul and jazz genres in pop music, while her later work focused on the ’60’s “girl-group” music of Detroit.
Much attention had been paid as of late to Ms. Winehouse’s drinking and drug addictions and seemingly emotional instabilities, with the singer openly admitting to her struggles with substance abuse and eating disorders. In 2007, after several shows marred by her apparent drunken and disoriented behaviour, Winehouse was forced to cancel a tour scheduled for the UK, due to “exhaustion and ill health,” while later that year, the British tabloid The Sun posted a video of a woman they claimed to be Winehouse, smoking crack cocaine and talking about her having taken ecstasy and valium. In and out of rehabilitation centres, Winehouse’s last stay occurred the final week of May, 2011. She was there for one week, before being released.
Also in 2007, Winehouse married her on-again, off-again boyfriend, former video production assistant Blake Fielder-Civil. The couple admitted to having a mutually violent and abusive relationship, with Winehouse once admitting to hitting Fielder-Civil. Fielder-Civil later admitted to introducing Winehouse to crack-cocaine and heroin.
Perhaps one of the things most tragically overlooked in Winehouse’s struggles and death is that music has lost one of its great, original voices – regardless your opinions of her, Winehouse was an unquestionably unique talent with a penchant for outlandish style. In a pop landscape populated by the same-old, same-old pseudo-sexualized talentless hacks (Adele and others excluded, of course), Winehouse brought an outsized personality and a husky, experienced voice to an otherwise bland musical arena.
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