One of the brightest lights in recent music history was extinguished five years ago, but the legacy of Amy Winehouse only grows and grows.
To celebrate what would have been her 33rd birthday, on 14 September, we’ve collected ten of our favourite quotes by an artist who was never anything but her natural self in front of the media.
Some are funny, some are sad and all of them are poignant.
Here’s to Amy’s memory.
“I would have been happy to sing in a covers band for the rest of my life. And I wouldn’t have gone on one of those [TV talent] shows in a million, billion years, because I think that musicality is not something other people should judge you on. Music’s a thing you have with yourself. Even though the people who go on those shows are sh**, it’s really damaging to be told that you are” (Q magazine, January 2004)
“I believe in fate and I believe that things happen for a reason but I don’t think that there’s a high power, necessarily. I believe in karma very much though. There are so many rude people around and they’re the people that don’t have any real friends. And relationships with people — with your mum, your nan, your dog — are what you get the most happiness in life from. Apart from shoes and bags” (Q magazine, January 2004)
“When I was six or seven…I liked Kylie and loved Madonna. I listened to Madonna’s ‘Immaculate Collection’ every day until I was about 11, and then I discovered Salt ‘n’ Pepa and TLC. That was, ‘Oh my God … this is my music!’ Me and my best friend Juliet started our first ever band, Sweet ‘n’ Sour. We were rappers. I was Sour, of course” (The Observer, 2004)
“Music is something in my life where I can be completely honest, and sometimes I don’t want to sing some of the songs ‘cos they’re so raw” (Q magazine, June 2004)
“I’m a girly girl. It’s just my music. It’s the only thing I have real dignity in in my life. That’s the one area in my life where I can hold my head up and say, ‘No one can touch me.’ ‘Cos no one can touch me!” (The Observer, 2004)
“I was bored of complicated chord structures and needed something more direct. I’d been listening to a lot of girl-groups from the ’50s and ‘60s. I liked the simplicity of that stuff. It just gets to the point. So I started thinking about writing songs in that way” (‘Back To Black’ press biography, 2006)
“If I haven’t done it, I just can’t put it into a song. It has to be autobiographical. It’s an exorcism. I get all my stuff out there. If I didn’t have this medium to get my experiences across, I would be lost” (‘Back To Black’ press biography, 2006)
“I don’t have a broad spectrum of music, really. I’m kinda like an old man. I’m kinda oblivious to the stuff that’s going on. I know it’s cool and that the kids love it but I don’t really get it, ya know what I mean? I listen to a lot of ’60s doo-wop, soul and Motown girl groups…I like the attitude and drama of it, [but] I didn’t so much like the polished groups. I’m not a big Supremes fan. I like garage girl groups like Goldie and the Gingerbreads” (XXL, 2007)
“I love doing music and playing gigs, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do so. But to be honest, I’m not the kind of person that will think about the demographic. I’m just the ‘turn’” (Billboard, 2007)
“I know I’m talented, but I wasn’t put here to sing. I was put here to be a wife and a mom and look after my family. I love what I do, but it’s not where it begins and ends” (Rolling Stone, 2007)
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