Home Trends Remembering Amy Winehouse: Musicians reflect and ask, ‘has the industry changed? – BBC Newsnight

Remembering Amy Winehouse: Musicians reflect and ask, ‘has the industry changed? – BBC Newsnight

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[Music] she burst onto the music scene in 2003 with her first album frank just 20 years old but already clearly a future star with an incredible voice i’ve been able to do exactly what i want to do i just do what i love you know and i’m lucky that i’ve been able to do that and please god that we’ll be able to do that heartbreak provided the material for her next album the best seller back to black i’ve had to just be like write everything down you know even feelings that i don’t want to acknowledge especially feelings i don’t want to acknowledge and things that i wish were not true and they are and you know it’s just good because someone else might hear that and be like i’m not an idiot for feeling them things it’s never safe the album won multiple awards and catapulted amy to international stardom but being so celebrated so much in the spotlight still age just 23 brought its own pressures i’m quite insecure person i’m very insecure about how i look so i mean i’m a musician i’m not a motherhood so i just remember turning up at bbc or places like that and more insecure i felt the more i drink she was a magnet for media attention on top of drinking and ongoing relationship difficulties were added an eating disorder and drug use all played out in public you come here full of crack bitting all over things let it die please let it die please the addiction i’d like to die you back this isn’t even a pop quiz anymore it’s an intervention amy we all care for you amy step away from the chardonnay amy eventually quit the drugs but our other addiction and health problems derailed her touring career and caused her death from accidental alcohol poisoning at the age of just 27. so yeah we’re here to talk about amy winehouse um who said i remember her saying i’m not i’m not a girl trying to be a star i’m just a girl that sings um and i wondered you know we’ve gathered you all here um for your brilliance in your own right as artists but also for your thoughts on amy and ray for you did she have an influence on you as a as a young artist do you think she paved the way for someone like you definitely as a songwriter she inspired me a lot i think what i loved most was her realness and her rawness with her lyrics and also how london centric they were her lyrics they referenced things that you wouldn’t understand if you weren’t from here and um for me that felt relatable and also i just loved the frankness of of how she would put her words um so as as a lyricist myself that gave me the courage to say things exactly how i felt and not worry about it having to um reach a wide audience and for everybody to understand me i’m writing about where i’m from and who i am and my experiences and that definitely came from hearing someone like her you’re nodding here no i totally agree i think um just everything about her her style itself you know she opens up a lot of doors for a lot of people and um and she spoke about a lot of things that a lot of people wasn’t speaking about too um yeah it’s just a realness really i think everyone just enjoyed her and wendy for you from afar what was your sense of amy she she was very different i used to take far more happiness in seeing her on television than a you know a lot of normal pop stars because she was so brave and fearless and beautiful and hilarious she was so funny and then of course her natural talent on stage and singing in the studio and her music everything about her she was she was the real deal wasn’t she she was the whole thing and what was it about her music that resonated so much with you the soul the way she could deliver on stage you know you could feel the gravitas come up through her the pain and the joy and the life experience coming through that microphone and esthel you’re a contemporary of amy’s what what are your memories of her well i remember seeing her like all the different over likes and performing at the same places and then you know we were seeing each other like being awards and we’ve got like moments of i can’t believe we’re doing this you know and see each other’s proof and still be like holy crap that’s us we’re up here you know that kind of energy which was beautiful but also it was you know like we come from london and there’s a certain energy that goes with that what was it like to you know see this person from afar be inspired by them start thinking you know i want to i want to do that i can do that you know to to experience that and then see what happened and sort of watch her journey what was that like for you you know what it’s really heartbreaking as a fan of someone to watch them be um attacked or feel like they’re not protected or or watch their demise in whatever way that is it definitely was heartbreaking for me um but i also was really young so i didn’t understand it all i knew was she’s always in the press or on telly and it’s always really negative yeah and for me i just i just always remember her looking like frail and scared and trying to run away and i thought oh my god that’s my friend you know i mean um i i just felt yeah i felt that um she needed to be protected yeah and i didn’t understand really what was going on but i knew that it wasn’t um it wasn’t right yeah in amy’s case was she being supported enough by whether it’s friends family the music business whoever it was was she getting enough support should she have been on those stages where where does the fault lie i was frustrated like i was calling and taking ndm and people i knew that were around they’re like yo this isn’t it like why why is she on stage what’s going on like what’s happening i was purely angry like living in that space and knowing what goes into the day today of you know like touring and moving around and being on stage and really not having anyone to protect you but also having to try and protect yourself and you can’t protect yourself sometimes it was it was frustrating it was it was i was i was i was angry wendy yeah you were first of these four to um be super famous what what other pressures can you paint a picture of what it’s like to suddenly be catapulted into the spotlight in the way that you were in the way that all of you have been and certainly in the way that amy was i was famous uh very famous 30 25 years ago 30 years ago after we’ve all accrued a certain amount of fame there are two different personalities there’s the private people that we all are and then there’s an incr almost unrelatable media version of that person and with enough fame then that just becomes its own truth and people start to think that’s what you are and that’s who you are and then they judge you accordingly because i know how much my band looked after me interventions are so difficult from parents or record labels and if you die then they can sell more records i agree oh my goodness this shocks me you’re all saying you agree to that that is shocking you better did what does that tell you estelle i’m grateful that i had a sense of self and that i was able to like pull it back you know like when it got to a point where i felt like nobody cared and it was tears for days on end and then walk on stage and sing i do think that as an artist because the pressure of just getting energy out of nowhere to be the best performer suddenly and also to just be on the go constantly and not get tired and fly here and fly there and just be switched on constantly i think you’re more likely to look for something to give you strength or energy or feel confident and that’s where the dependency comes in and and for you ray would you think that if you were in her situation now it would be different i’ve heard people speak about people that have actually even passed from an overdose in a way of them being a commodity and giving them drugs to fuel them because that’s what they need to get on stage and it’s like well he has a tour and so he needs to go on tour he needs to get on stage otherwise we’re going to lose money so if it takes giving him drugs to get on stage i’ve got to do what i’ve got to do and that’s part of my job and you know that’s happening that’s happening and i know that’s happening and um and i’m i’m sure that if i was somebody who used drugs and i said i needed it to do something it probably would be supplied to me i think there are a lot of artists that you know unfortunately they don’t have a team around them that are as supportive or you know wary and careful and probably would be supply these things or even um maybe even told to to drink more to get on stage or to be able to to work properly and wendy what were the pressures back then for you no no manager or label said to us all take a year off spend some of the money you’ve made have a nice life and then when you feel like making music again come back to the studio and see what you come up with in the end transvision vamp literally split up because we were exhausted there wasn’t any particular um row within the band or a dead end we were burnt out i mean i just remember being in you’ll know still being in la the holiday inn on highland avenue and just smashing smashing that room up and screaming how does that work sometimes there’s counseling sometimes that’s how you get it you know in screaming you don’t care about me you don’t care about me and um and the only way to keep on working was to drink to do not i’m not saying drop down drunk but just to numb it out i was lucky enough to have my first manager actually recommend that i see a therapist because he was like you know i i recognize that being an artist can be quite difficult and i think you should just speak to someone about how you’re feeling especially because i was struggling with anxiety getting on stage at the time because of all of the pressure and the people um but i don’t think that’s um i don’t think that’s something that you see often um and even then he was the only person that ever that one time asked you know maybe you should get talk to somebody you know people don’t ask are you okay they just think you just get on with it i’m very happy right that your manager said you should see a therapist i think everybody should have a therapist to me speaks to the change in the whole world’s mindset which is a great thing and it speaks to the change in the way that people are viewing artists and looking at us as real people versus you’re lucky to do this extraordinary thing you get to do it better than us don’t complain you know don’t you know it’s like oh you’re actually human too and when it comes to amy winehouse i mean the cruelty of it is horrendous when we look at it now from a percent the perspective of somebody struggling with addiction i wonder whether you think that that is something you know we wouldn’t the media wouldn’t treat somebody like that now we have more compassion for addiction than we did and more understanding or do you think it’s just as bad as it ever was i’ve had a million one things written about me it’s the worst i think there’s obviously your privacy i mean it all depends again you know how i dealt with my my stuff when people were talking a whole bag of it was i felt like i was literally thinking i felt like my whole world was crumbling i kept my heart myself in my house for like you know weeks on didn’t want to see daylight and then naturally i had to get myself pull myself together and that’s only purely because i have great people around me but um i think you know you just definitely canceling therapy all of that is so important it does make sense do you think social media puts extra pressures on young women or is it just people generally um definitely a lot more pressure on women than men primarily because it is all about looking good but i think the the difference now with social media where it wasn’t so prevalent before is that now you can actually see what people have to say about you so when it was just the press it’s whoever’s written that thing about you that’s attacking you or having their opinion on you but now you can see thousands of people saying what’s in their head and that’s just not natural we shouldn’t be able to hear each other’s thoughts that i think is the problem with social media now whether it’s commenting on a woman’s weight or her looks or her love life or anything in between i think that’s where it gets very difficult so so um if we bring it back to amy um for the end what do you think her legacy is her legacy is that she’s will always be thought of as a beautiful human being that had a fiery soul who expressed the truth her the real truth her truth all the time and what else she has left is for the rest of us living is that again what we’ve all said is that you learn to find a way to take care of yourself and be your own counsel whether you’re famous or not that’s essential in life anyway if you’re going to live a whole life i think everyone understands her now which is you know which is nice because i think people have got to know who she is even though it’s been 10 years now who she was then um it’s a shame she’s not here today but i think yeah for me i just she’s just iconic and you know her music will always live you know if nothing else if we take away all the media hype around that now we just see a picture of her i’m gonna know the lyrics to her songs i’m going to know that these term music so good lyrics and great melodies and the truth will always push through well thank you so much i mean 10 years on from amy’s death you have all really done her proud so thank you very very much thank you thank you


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Remembering Amy Winehouse: Musicians reflect and ask, \'has the industry changed? - BBC Newsnight
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