Today (September 14), Amy Winehouse would have turned 33 years old. In memory of Amy, NME looks at the artists the late singer inspired with her music, her groundbreaking success in the US and her iconic image. It’s a diverse list that includes Adele, Florence Welch and even Lana Del Rey.
Adele: It’s unlikely that Adele’s ’21’ album would have sold 30m copies worldwide if it hadn’t picked up the baton from Winehouse’s own global blockbuster ‘Back To Back’. “Amy paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again,” Adele wrote in a 2011 tribute. “I don’t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was and how important she is.”
Lady Gaga: Gaga credits Winehouse with opening the door for more unusual artists like herself to become huge mainstream stars. “I don’t believe what I do is very digestible,” Gaga explained in 2011, “and somehow Amy was the flu for pop music. And everybody got a little bit of the flu…. and fell in love with Amy Winehouse. And now, when more flu comes along, it’s not so unbearable.”
3Florence And The Machine
Florence And The Machine: Florence Welch was inspired by one of Amy’s early Glastonbury sets. “Before then, maybe Glastonbury had been more emblematic of male artists and bands,” Welch said in 2011. “Seeing her up there made me think, wow, there is a place for female singer-songwriters in this world.”
Sam Smith: As a British soul singer who conquered America with an album of uncommonly candid and sad love songs, Smith owes an obvious debt to the ‘Rehab’ singer. “I miss Amy Winehouse so fucking much,” Smith tweeted last year. “Her music still inspires just as much as it did the first day I heard it.”
Ellie Goulding: Goulding’s glossy electro-pop might not have much in common with Winehouse’s retro-flavoured soul offerings, but her success proves just how far Winehouse’s influence has stretched. “She’ll be an inspiration not just because of her music but because she was an icon and legend,” Goulding predicted in 2011. “She helped pave the way for females like me in America.”
Future: Winehouse’s brilliant lyrics, skilfully-crafted and filled with memorable imagery and surprising insights, have also won her fans in the hip-hop world. Rapper Future revealed last year that he was listening to “a lot of Amy Winehouse” when he made his 2014 album ‘Honest’.
Emeli Sandé: Sandé has admitted that listening to Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ LP made her want to raise her game when she was making her own album, 2012’s ‘Our Version Of Events’, which eventually went seven-times platinum. “It just inspired me to write better and really put my heart out there – not try to hide anything,” the Scottish soul singer explained.
8Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey: The enigmatic ‘Video Games’ singer has said she admires Amy Winehouse for her unflinching authenticity. “I believe in Amy Winehouse,” she explained in a 2013 interview. “I know she’s not with us any more but I believe she was who she was, and in that way she got it right.”
Paloma Faith: Amy Winehouse once asked Paloma Faith to join her backing band, an offer Faith politely declined. But the recent Brit Award winner has always tipped a cap towards the late singer in her music, most notably on her biggest hit ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’, a song whose title could almost have been lifted from Winehouse’s lyrics pad.
Mark Ronson: Ronson produced six songs on Winehouse’s defining album, ‘Back To Black’, and also collaborated with her on a cover of The Zutons’ ‘Valerie’, his biggest hit before ‘Uptown Funk’ came along. When she died in 2011, Ronson said he had lost his “musical soulmate”.