Meet Valerie, the inspiration behind Amy Winehouse and The Zutons’ classic

Introducing Valerie Star...

The woman who inspired The Zutons‘ Valerie has been discovered, some 12 years after Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson‘s cover became a worldwide hit.

It transpires that the 2006 track was written about Valerie Star, a make-up artist who previously dated Zutons frontman Dave McCabe.

Both Star and McCabe have recalled how the song told the story of how she almost ended up in jail after several driving offences, which ultimately halted her plans to move to the UK to be with him.


“I remember when he told me about the song. It was like, ‘I kind of wrote a song about you. And they picked it up as a single,’ Valerie told VICE, describing the track as the pair’s “weird alien baby.”

“He wouldn’t tell me any details. He was really super shy about it. And I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh dear god Valerie, what does this song sound like?'”

McCabe, who first met Valerie after a show in Florida, has confirmed her story and described her as a “sweet girl”.

Valerie Star’s Twitter profile

Describing how she met McCabe, she explained: “When they came off stage, I saw Dave walked out and grabbed him. I was like, ‘I need to buy you a drink. You guys were great.’ One drink turned into god knows how many. A lot. We didn’t stay. We all went to another bar. And then another. And then we all went back to Erin’s place and drank champagne on the rooftop until the sun came up. And that was our first meeting.

“After that first night, Dave said they were doing another show in Jacksonville or something – four hours away. So we went to Jacksonville and it just kind of snowballed into this craziness. I would meet him in different [cities]. I’d fly out to see him. It was great. We had so much fun together.”


While the song ultimately became a worldwide hit for Winehouse, Star also described the moment she first met Mark Ronson – who produced the cover version.

“I remember meeting Mark [Ronson] when he was doing a radio interview alongside Dave. Mark said [to me], ‘I feel like I should open up my wallet and just hand you money.’ It was really funny. It’s also kind of surreal. I can’t keep the song on my shuffle playlist. Not that it’s narcissistic, but I feel like it would come up at the most awkward times. Like, hey, just listening to a song about myself – don’t mind me.”

Meanwhile, The Zutons returned earlier this year for a tour to mark the 15th anniversary of their debut album ‘Who Killed The Zutons’.