Despite being the master of suspense, of unnerving thrillers and
Amy, Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the life of Amy Winehouse, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2015. Winehouse passed away at the age of 27 back in 2011. Four years later, her life, death, and tragically brief music career are still being talked about and picked apart. Though much has been said about her life, here are 13 things you probably never knew about Amy Winehouse.
1. In an interview, Amy Winehouse once said, “I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad.”
2. When she was 10, she started her own rap duo called Sweet ‘n Sour with her childhood best friend Juliette Ashby.
3. Amy attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, but she did not graduate. She was expelled, and since her music career was picking up, she did not finish school.
4. The song “Rehab” is based on Winehouse’s real-life split with her management company in 2006 after they asked her to go to rehab for alcohol abuse. In an interview with the Daily Record, she said that there wasn’t “much cause” for her to enter rehab after breaking with her management:
“It was my old management’s idea to stick me in rehab but I’m not with them anymore and there’s not much cause for me to go to rehab now. When it was suggested to me, I went to see the guy at the centre for 10 minutes just so I could say to the record company that I went. I literally walked in and walked out. I knew it wasn’t for me. I knew I’d end up sitting in a room with 15 depressing people. I thought, forget this. Is there a piano in here or what? I’d rather be playing the guitar somewhere. Music will always be my outlet…I don’t need drugs or alcohol. That’s not a dependency. It’s something to do when I’m bored.”
5. Prior to her death, Winehouse had some close calls with drugs and alcohol. In 2007, she overdosed on heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, whisky, and vodka, and she was in a coma. When she woke up, doctors told her to rest, but she ended up going on her European tour instead.
6. She once heckled Bono at an awards show when he was giving an acceptance speech. According to Rolling Stone, she said, “Shut up! I don’t give a f—!”
7. Winehouse’s first tattoo was of Betty Boop, located on her back. She claims that she was about fifteen years old when she got it, and she had about a dozen tattoos total all over her body.
8. Amy Winehouse and her husband Blake had tattoos of each other’s names. Blake’s “Amy” tattoo was behind his right ear, and Amy’s “Blake” tattoo was placed over her heart.
9. Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album is the second highest selling album in the United Kingdom of the 2000s so far. For a while, it was the highest selling album, but it was surpassed by Adele’s 21.
10. Winehouse was accused of cultural appropriation with her music and fashion. Her music was inspired by artists like Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, and the Ronettes, but as The Nation’s Daphne Brooks puts it, “Black Women are everywhere and nowhere in Winehouse’s work…Who needs black female singers in the flesh when Winehouse can crank out their sound at the drop of a hat?”
11. Long-time collaborator Mark Ronson dedicated his album Uptown Special, which includes the hit song “Uptown Funk,” to Amy Winehouse. He wrote, “[A]lthough I wish you were still here, I’m always thinking of you, inspired by you and your music lives on in myself and everyone who ever felt it. Love, Mark.”
12. There is a bronze statue of Amy Winehouse in Camden, North London, which was dedicated September 2014. The statue shows Winehouse in a strapless dress with a beehive hairdo, a necklace, and a red flower in her hair, the one splash of color in the statue.
13. In 2008, Amy Winehouse broke the record for most Grammys won by a female artist from the United Kingdom in one night with five wins, but her record was broken by Adele in 2012 with six wins. Back to Black is still the ninth most honored album by the Grammy Awards, tied with Quincy Jones’ Back on the Block and behind All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 21, Thriller, Genius Loves Company, Come Away With Me, Supernatural, and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.