In her last days of life, Amy shared her inner yearnings to write music again. Words were flowing out of her which had a theme of Rap Battles but written in her Classic Elegant Jazz style. She wished to speak of the inner fight she was fighting at the time against her drug addiction.
Maya Angelou once said that Always believe what people tell you about themselves. they are telling the truth. But when they tell you about yourself, beware. They are never completely right.
So instead of talking about all the things people had to say about Amy Winehouse the Diva who finally succumbed to her Demons – I would like to talk about the Demons from the Diva’s Mouth herself. But when you hear her talk, they are not so much as Demons as they are just another Face of the Diva herself. It is who she always was. It is what makes her the Diva of Jazz, Love, Heartbreak, Determination and also, most heartbreakingly, Death.
Amy recounted her first taste of Complete Freedom at the age of just nine years old when her parents split and she suddenly felt like she ‘could do anything, wear anything, talk anything’. She was introduced to Jazz by her father and instantly connected to the spontaneity of the Class Art form. In her short life of 27 years, she went on to create a niche for herself with songs that were anointed every bit with her Spontaneous Self. That is what she loved about Jazz – how close it was to the Real person behind the music.
After finding disappointment in the avant garde Jazz music, the young teenager decided to write her own music. She knew it was going to be challenging and which is exactly why she wanted to do it. She saw herself as a very driven and motivated person, always inviting challenges. And so she wrote down legendary love lyrics of Stronger Than Me, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Back To Black, Tears Dry On Their Own.
Her songs had her most difficult, most troubling experiences turned into cathartic Jazz melodies. She healed the wounds her life gave her by mastering the art of letting her music speak for her deepest self and share it with the deepest selves of so many others who felt the same at some point of time in her life. She wanted little kids and young girls to listen to her music and be inspired to write music that spoke of who they were and did not attempt to imitate any other artist in order to be able to play or write music.
That said, she did believe in listening and learning from the Great of the Music she loved. But it was more like learning all the rules of the Game and then Playing them your Own Way. It was like learning the Language and then telling your Own Story because absolutely no one could do that for you – No One could tell what was your story.
Her songs were not meant to merely ring in heads like earworms and gain popularity. They were meant to soak into the skin of the listener through its sharp words and frank emotions; moving deep in to Touch the Soul. Soul – the shy, wild animal of the Inner Jungle. She would attempt to word her own Soul wrenching experiences which were like drifting clouds that covered her skies and stopped the Sun from shining on her Skin.
She realised merely wording these Clouds out was not enough which was like touching the clouds to move them away. They would not, they would yield at the touch and remain exactly as they were. They had a potential, they had Vapours. They needed to be allowed to Condense from being gaseous white clouds to liquid waters. So that they serve their purpose, deliver the rains on the Dry Lands beneath before dispersing to let the Sunshine in once again. That was the only way the Soul Wrenching experiences could be dealt with. And she mastered this Art early in her life when she would turn to her guitar with a heavy heart and spend hours playing and singing with it; only to leave lighter and feeling good.
Such was the relationship of this young woman to her music, as pure as a Nun has to her God, as an alcoholic has to his Bottle of Wine. Pure, Addictive, Redemptive.
Despite her fierce motivation to have a mind of her own, have music of her own, have jokes of her own – she was a tender, maternal soul inside. This is more often than not an anomaly in the women of our world where the fierceness and the motivation is usually seen as Manly characteristics. Even women who display such bold facets do not let their tender sides reveal. But Amy was an exception, a uniqueness in herself for she was fiercely motivated to bring out her Love Serenades for her man, out into the best kind of Jazz music she could create. Like a Manly hunt for a very Womanly passion – she outstood the class of musicians as well as people around her.
And probably this became the reason for her destruction as well for nobody knew how exactly to tell a woman who had her Brilliant Mind set on her pursuits of love? Especially when she had taken it up too as a challenge? Even if she knew it was toxic to her? Even if she and everybody knew it was only going to destroy her, forever?
Everybody saw her story. Everybody cared for her. Everybody wanted someone to save her. And yet 27 was the age she succumbed to the death her toxic love left behind for her.
She died a woman whose story was told to the whole world and yet nobody really understood her, ever. Or someone would have pulled her out of the mess she created for herself. Someone would have established an authority over her adamantly determined mind and pathetically addictive heart with a simple ‘No’ or a ‘Stop’.
‘No, you shall not destroy your life anymore.’
‘Stop burning yourself out like this. Stop burning out so fast, so soon. Stay with me, a while longer. We will die together, one day.’
It was not the music that killed her. It was probably her stupid, stupid heart that was suddenly inclining itself to a kind of drama that would end up killing her. The drama of being Hopelessly in Love even if it was an Unrequited Love.
Oh, if she could only know. She was an Old Soul who was expecting love from a man whose soul was barely that of a Teenager. He was not ready for the kind of plunges she was ready to make into the Self Professed Profounds (ocean) of Love. He was too small, too tiny for her Large Anachronistic Jazz Heart. He was a teen pop sensation that rose and fell like the multitudes of waves on the ocean surface. But she, she was a dweller of the Ocean Beds where the SIlence Resides. The kind of Silence which is the Mother of all great Music, Rhythms, Melodies, Words.
For when the Silence, the sheer emptiness, craves to fill itself with Words or Melody; it is guaranteed the Quality is the highest. For a craving like that would not compromise for anything that was more blissful than the bliss of Silence.
She was the Goddess of that Bliss. She let her songs speak out from the Silences of her mind. I know because they are definitely better than silence. They successfully shut down my raging insides and or dizzied buzzing chattering mind with the clarity and frankness of her words.
She may have lived a short life of Addiction to Jazz, Words and Drugs. But she lived a complete life in that short span. We literally saw her grow up, in full media sight, from a teenager obsessed with Jazz and a promise of becoming a starlet, to becoming the Star at her Fount of Youth, to reinstating her Stardom at Mid Age, to slowly shrinking into a quickened Old Age brought about by her broken heart’s grief and psychedelia and finally to a natural Bulimia-ridden death.
She leaves behind a brief legacy of music that solely belongs to her – songs no one could have written but Amy Winehouse, story no one could have told but Amy Winehouse.
Her spirit continues even as she is no more with us. The girls she wished to reach out to with her music have continued her legacy dedicating their flourishing careers and healed broken hearts to her Soul’s Rain. Even her elegant Samurai Battle Raps are brought to life by one such young girl who grew up on Amy’s words to write her own story. We know it as Rolling In The Deep and the young girl is Adele.
~ Amy Winehouse (14th September 1983-23rd July 2011) ~