The first time Amy Winehouse entered my conciousness was with her video for 'Back to Black.' The video sumptuously captured her in the timeless black and white you might associate with Miles Davis or Marlene Dietrich. Icons.
The PR and marketing talent chose to display her as a forlorn figure. Amy can be seen mourning over her own grave at the age of 23. But before that, she was just a young girl, dealing with a traumatic love life.
Winehouse had a short career prior, but it was the 2006 album that broke her into the public mindset. This was due in no small part to the full backing of a record label who knew exactly how to sell her.
On subsequent TV appearances Winehouse was heralded as a voice for the ages. A unique talent, the type of which comes along once in a lifetime. 'The best voice on earth' is what Elton John called her.
'Back to Black' brought us a great talent, with some heartfelt lyrics, but was it really the heartbreaking work of a staggering genius?
I never believed the hype. The talent was undeniable. The voice was reminiscent of many great singers gone by. But her sound was anything but original. Infact it was precisely because she reminded us of so many that came before which allowed us to immediately buy into her sound.
It's upsetting to me that so many TV pundits and critics over night are talking about Amy Winehouse in such reverential tones. The full power of the marketing machine has succeeded in brainwashing everyone. Marketing machines have a habit of doing that.
Many 'friends' and colleagues have tweeted that Winehouse was a tragic girl with a sweet heart, however, whenever I've seen Winehouse in interviews she has come across obnoxious, and even vulgar. This has made her difficult for me to fully sympathise with, so I don't understand why others are perpetrating the myth surrounding her.
Last night Sky News, and BBC spoke about the people that were gathering outside her house. However whenever they cut live to the scene, people were short on the ground. Myth building to the bitter end. But say it enough, and people will believe it.
Now, this all probably sounds like Winehouse bashing. It's not that, but I don't like how this icon has been constructed.
My icons have a body of work even if they die tragically young. At least, if the are bleeding hearts, I should be able to empathise with them. Nick Drake, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison all produced art in their times of grief...
I hope people can give it time, and allow Amy Winehouse to be judged on more honest terms. She deserves to be remembered as a great talent.
But it could be too late for any honest judgement.
The world has a new pop icon.
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