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StoryCast ’21: On Stage With Amy Winehouse

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you’re listening to episode 10 of storycast 21 i’m james secker july the 23rd marks the 10th anniversary of the death of amy winehouse just days before the singer died she made her last stage appearance alongside her goddaughter deon bromfield speaking for the first time about the amy she knew this is on stage with amy winehouse [Music] i’m bringing some breaking news now coming into us from sky sources the singer amy winehouse has been found dead in her north london flat just 27 years old last month my name is amy hitchcock i am the arts and entertainment editor at sky news the singer has had well documented problems with drink and drugs on the 23rd of july 2011 i was on a weekend shift in the newsroom at sky news and my phone rang and it was a music pr and he tells me that amy winehouse has died i had covered celebrity deaths before but with this one perhaps because i really liked amy winehouse she was only a couple of years younger than me and i loved her music this is one that i was genuinely shocked and genuinely upset by and the grammy goes to amy winehouse in 2011 amy winehouse was you know one of the biggest music stars in the world she was multi grammy awards winning soul singer she was sassy [Music] she was only a couple of years younger than me and i loved her music it was just a wave of emotion and she lived a very public lifestyle and the partying and everything was was so well reported that everyone felt like they really knew her reports that she appeared the gig for her god daughter at dion bromfield [Music] just a few days before she died she got on stage with her her goddaughter deon bromfield who was doing a gig at the camden roundhouse now this next song is called mother said she’s like a little sister i would say the closest thing amy ever had to having a out a daughter guest and they had this great moment together where they were on stage together so close to the end of amy’s life please put your hands together for miss abyss the real challenge with these kind of covering these breaking stories is that you’re trying to get people who are friends and is this person really a friend or did they just meet her a couple of times but the one person who perhaps knew her in a different way to everybody else was dion bronfield but because she was so young i never would have chased an interview with her obviously 10 years on things have changed a bit i’m deon bronfield and oh my god my daughter’s only wine house i grew up in east london amy and my mom were just really really good friends out of my circle of like 15 close friends at least 10 of them call me mum i’m very maternal so she just asked my mum can i can i be her godmother she just had a really really close bond with me from quite a young age auntie amy she loved it when i called her amy winehouse was born in enfield in 1983 her dad mitch and her mum janice they split up when she was quite small so she grew up just with her mum i was just to eat sleep and do nothing baby and then i and i was cute until at the age of about five then i got naughty i grew up with my son was about nine nights her grandmother was a singer and i think she had uncles who were jazz musicians so she ended up at the silvia young which is a famous theatre school and then the british school i wanted to actually be a role model waitress up until the age of like 16. i was like i’m going to be a roller skating waitress and then the music thing kind of happened and i was like cool all right do that then it’s really funny because like i i grew up mostly like on a lot of pop stuff you know late or early 2000’s that was what i was loving but um i had a love for old school records because my mum just used to play them all the time on vinyls and i think that’s really why we bonded musically because she started realizing that i was into the 60s smokey robinson and the temptations when i’ve been gay and she said oh you like that stuff i was like yeah i do take my lips she was like oh well come here and let me show you like some other stuff take moms i’ll never use them she was a soul singer but she was quite eclectic rhythm and blues and jazz being compared to billy holliday and you know there’s not a lot of things in my life that i’m that confident with but when it comes to music you know i just have to push myself i have to push myself there’s a lot of feeling of kind of inevitability and destiny about amy’s story it feels like she was always going to be this this huge star no matter what [Music] so in 2003 amy winehouse just bursts onto the music scene with this incredible album frank which was just a huge hit with songs like stronger than me that was just playing on the radio everywhere [Music] i was in my early 20s at that point and it just really hit and at that time dion was still only seven or eight years old when i started understanding that amy was a singer and she’s doing this professionally and oh that’s amy’s song on the radio now like naturally you you do you do like it and stuff like that but i didn’t really associate the amy singer so amy it was only when i would be in a car and i would hear amy’s song or something that i’d you know be like loading my head to it and stuff like that [Music] she just became this super mega global icon overnight and then naturally she was doing what she was doing musically so i kind of was really drawing a lot of musical influence from her so by now as well as listening to music together dion of course is an only child and under amy’s watch she’s becoming a singing talent in her own right peter put this up right now right now she used to always say to me when i was like 9 10. i’m gonna sign you one day i didn’t even know what that meant i was just like okay sure and slowly it just kind of became kind of like a guardian angel really in a music way with amy in 2005 amy met blakefielder civil she later said that their whole marriage was about doing drugs and if your life is that chaotic with not just the fame but all of the drugs and the drinking and all the rest of it if there is one person in your life and when you see them you’re reminded of who you used to be that’s got to be really healthy [Music] i imagine that that amy felt that dion was healthy was a smart kid i knew what was going on but i think as a kid i kind of gave her a sense of like responsibility i could see she was trying her best to be the best she could be around me which she was so i kind of got like the best of both worlds where i had that motherly connection with her but at the same time i could say things to her kind of like what a sister would be that i would definitely not say to my own mum [Music] amy loved to cook so she she cooked like meatballs a lot of time they weren’t the best but um it was those little things really that i guess she really liked the normality that i guess i brought [Music] in 2006 amy winehouse came back with her second album back to black again was incredibly autobiographical she was writing from the heart and it went on to become one of the uk’s biggest selling albums ever i remember it so well i was like amy all i do is get on the bus and go to school i can’t write about that she was like yeah you can just write write anything just draw it down the thing is the more you write the more like you’re gonna find something that you like because if you um you know if you think you can’t write then you don’t right so by the time you get to 2008 amy winehouse wins five grammys she’s the only british music artist to have that much success at the grammys ever she’s also clearly quite a smart lady she wants to set up her own record label so she does that lioness and she signs deon bromfield to her label fast forward to 11 and i just sat in like an office trying to think of a signature to sign a record deal so young i didn’t have one [Music] lots of teenagers dream of becoming a big pop star don’t they but not many have a good friend in amy winehouse and when she not only signs you to a label but does the backing singing on your tracks i mean it’s just it’s what dreams are made of isn’t it i had a first album out when i was 13 and that done quite well and yeah it kind of really things took off so now we fast forward to the afternoon of july 2011 the night of dion’s gig 10 28. that year early 2011 and ended up supporting a band throughout the summer and they were playing roundhouse and they’d ask me to support them of course i’d love to so playing camden roundhouse is a rite of passage in so many musicians and fans um careers so for dion this is a really big deal but it was the last desk i still had to do my schoolwork and i remember my friends were coming to watch me perform because they hadn’t really seen me in my element i think i got out of school like two hours earlier so yeah and there was a bit of a chatter of oh amy’s apparently gonna come and i thought she’s not gonna come like she’s not you know in the press there was not a lot of nice stuff going on with some pretty escape that she’d done a couple months before so by this point we’ve had years of amy being tabloid fodder really and there were ups and downs in all of that she was in and out of rehab amy’s previous gig was in serbia and it was supposed to be the start of this comeback tour but amy clearly under the influence was booed off stage this was just who amy winehouse had become at this point it was great i had like my band and my dancers like the biggest london gig i’ve done she yeah she she showed up she was side of stage when i walked on there’s a few people that definitely believed in the project but amy was the driving force behind it she was my biggest supporter and i think everyone was just like loving the fact that she looked amazing now this next song is called mama and i’d like to bring out a special guest i was on stage i could kind of see someone going like this come off the side and say something have i messed up there’s something going wrong so i quickly ran off and she was like i’m gonna come out was thinking what are you gonna do and it’s just like but i don’t really wanna sing i just wanna come out and enjoy it with you and i thought okay cool please put your hands together for miss amy it came out from mama said which was one of her favorite songs of mine [Music] i’ve never felt so much love in the room that night and it being camden that the problem already loving what we were doing anyway when i didn’t bring me out it was just like you know it amplified to have amy come along and support her that night just must have meant the world to her because you know it’s about getting attention that’s the thing you wanted people to notice your music i was 15 i just released a second album two weeks before so i really was able to kind of start kind of getting known as dion bronfield an artist which was really nice because that’s what everyone wanted and especially amy she wanted to put me on but then allow me to kind of do what i wanted to do [Music] amy really wanted to help dion she obviously really cared about her and saw a talent in her and wanted to help nurture that it was perhaps the epitome of their relationship really as friends and as godmother god daughter but mostly as mates [Music] just had a little dance sung a little bit of the backing vocalist and then walked off and i remember even after i finished the gig and i’d just say like thanks she ran back on stage and she was like [Music] [Applause] that was the last time i saw her [Applause] [Music] let’s cross live now to camden where superintendent raj coley of the met is uh to make a statement on the death of amy winehouse it was three days later on the 23rd of july on the saturday when i was in the newsroom and i got that phone call that amy had died police were called by the london ambulance service to a house in camden square northwest one shortly before 1605 hours today i was doing another gig in wales one of the member of my team were in the dressing room with me and they started um like just crying and for some reason i just had this feeling it made me turn around and say is it amy and i don’t know why why i even said that and he was just like yeah and i was like what’s happened she’s gone doing ms his family i just differently getting dressed to go and do my gig and they were like you don’t need to do this gig and i was like no no i want to do it she’d want me to do it particularly i just didn’t register what he has said my sympathy extends not just her immediate family particularly to thousands and millions of fans across the world um i literally saw her three days earlier and she was so positive she was glowing everything she was talking about our next album it wasn’t talking to somebody who felt like this is it this is the end [Music] i am aware of reports suggesting death as a result of a suspected drug overdose there was speculation that the cause of death was likely to have something to do with drug abuse perhaps or alcohol it turned out that it was alcohol poisoning that killed her the attention she craved uh she simply couldn’t deal with and the fame that she sought ultimately um made her more lonely and alienated and more driven to drink and drugs [Music] i think there’s a danger that the media perpetuates a certain image and because she was so well documented in the tabloids and even since her death has continued to be with documentaries and everything it’s really interesting to talk to somebody who only ever knew her as an ordinary girl because the person that they were at their heart is often never uncovered or never fully understood the real amy winehouse perhaps only really lives in those who are closest to her like dion [Music] she was a really simple girl it’s just everything around her was amplified and massive and big what i experienced and the amy i knew i’m cool with that do you know what i mean i don’t need to kind of go on google to see an amy or whatever [Music] i say this amy was like made to be an amazing mom and an amazing wife and i think i definitely gave her the [Music] a positive way the last time i saw her [Music] ten years since her death amy winehouse remains in the top 10 best-selling female artists of all time dion bronfield is about to release her third album and continues to write what she knows on stage with amy winehouse was produced by rob mulhern and amy hitchcock for more information on this podcast go to sky news dot com forward slash storycast 21. next time we were told was to leave our mobile phones at home as obviously mobile phones could be tracked one man undertakes a secret mission to secure peace in northern ireland and then later in the day we met up with the general and his colleagues you


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StoryCast \'21: On Stage With Amy Winehouse
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