For us she was a flame. Daughter of a cab driver. Voice of a soul siren. Heart of a lonesome poet. Amy Winehouse came into our collective consciousness a blaze of behemoth beehives and tawdry tattoos. But once we heard that voice we knew, we knew we’d been given a gift. That delicious ache, that raw nerve, that naked vulnerability. She was at once something so fresh yet so familiar. True talent always is.
Her troubles were no secret, those that kept her off the stage and in the tabloids. But we never really knew her demons, those that drove her to wring beauty out of pain. Or those deeper ones that took her away from us all too soon. So much written about her during her life was almost cautionary – my own words included. Still others mocked her mercilessly as the punchline to her own life. Those who make sport of others suffering found an easy target. Yet when it happened, somehow, it still felt like a shock to me. And, Jesus, was I gutted.
Gone at 27, that supposedly haunted age for our golden gods of music. Jimi. Janis. Jim. Kurt. And now Amy. Those who burned too hot and too fast and are now forever subject to the task-tsking of history. But this is no time for I told you so’s. Such talent. Such talent, gone.
I feel so much for the people who loved her and the people who tried to help. But I also feel a profound loss for all of us. It’s selfish, so selfish. But, my God, the music we're missing. The songs. The sass. The slur of unapologetic humanity. We won’t be able to see what would come next. What wonders awaited. What she would woo us with, all over again. Not too long ago, I told a friend I felt like I had been waiting for a new Amy Winehouse album my entire life. That it will never come seems incomprehensible. Cruel, even. Though I supposed we should be thankful that we had her at all. And, for her voice, there will be no final frame. It lives on forever. Find peace, darling bird. Thank you for the music.