Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011) died on July 23 of unknown cause (pending for autopsy for sure), though it is most likely drug related.
Personally, I don’t know her songs very well, I remember when I had her songs on my iPhone before, I was impressed by her amazing voice like coming from an old soul given that she was (is) in her twenties. I do also remember her song ‘rehab’, what an ironic title for a singer who has long been associated with substance abuse. Artistically, she is definitely gifted with a great voice which is usually associated with a 40 or 50 years old black singer living in Brooklyn or Chicago all her life. On the contrary, it came from a white Jewish girl from the U.K. That makes her more interesting than just music. I’m not gonna dig too much into her background as it can be found in Wiki and elsewhere. Her death to me is just another example of the worst outcome of a cocktail of youth, fame, wealth, artistic talent, drugs, self-discipline, mal-functioned family, and media, another poor soul following the footstep of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and the alike.
It was said that ‘The good dies young’. I’m not sure she fits that 100%. But, who has the right to judge? However, I do have an impression that, it has been a curse or whatnot that ‘the more talented and gifted the one is artistically, the more likely he/she is damned in life in other extents’. I mean death, particularly dying young, is not necessary the outcome, that could also include broken marriage, miscarriage, jail time, health issue, childless, bankruptcy, rehab, etc. These have been linked to many successful artists that I can think of. For those who have been fortunate enough of not being linked to any of the above, they are usually not regarded as talented as those who are. I don’t know if that’s karma or else. Perhaps, it is because artistic talent itself is quite different from let’s say intelligence. Other talents, expertise, or skills can be attained by hard works, rote or repetitive exposure. Even for rocket scientist or brain surgeon, astrophysics or human brain structure are science that rules remain the same until is proved otherwise. With enough studying, hard-works and practice, skills can be obtained. However, artistic talents are different. Van Gogh or Picasso may not have the best skills in painting; other skillful workmen can mimic their works to even undistinguishable level. But their works will never be regarded as high as those from the masters. Similarly for music, you practice really well to become a very good musician, skill wise, but you will never play guitar as soulful as Eric Clapton. I think creativity is the key that distinguish an artist to a craftsman. Creativity is something that you either have or not. How artists create their works is definitely not science. They may rely on muse, something they dreamed of, or even referring thing from their subconscious. They just react to the same environment differently than we do, they create things that seem to be out of nothing in view of most regular Joes on the street. I think the tragic experiences that I mentioned above, though they are horrible to go through in life. They do have a positive side effect to artists that creativity are inspired or induced by walking on those horrific paths.
Anyway, I think only Amy Winehouse would know what she had gone through in her life and know how those had affected her personally deep down inside. To us, as music lovers, just wanna wish her can rest in peace and thanks for leaving behind the great works to us to enjoy and future generations to come.