A few weeks before Amy Winehouse's death, her name and face flashed in front of my eyes with a sense of dread, but I thought no more about it until the news came last Saturday.
In spite of this, I still gasped when I learned that Amy Winehouse, that sultry-voiced, beehived mega-talent, had died at only 27.
I initially thought that if she knew of her fate, then she would have stopped using. But never having been an addict, I have no idea what it's like. It took comedian Russell Brand's observations to wake me up, for if anyone knows about addiction, it would be Russell Brand. A former addict who attends AA meetings three times a week to keep himself in check, he said that addicts strive for a dream-like state when they're awake and stumble through life in a brown haze.
I now know that Amy Winehouse had been forewarned but was too far gone to even care, though her genius and her ability to blend jazz, blues, pop and soul into one, couldn't be drowned out by booze and drugs. The very definition of genius, after all, the ability to combine the old and come up with something entirely unique and new. And that was Amy Winehouse, a genius who was infinitely likeable underneath it all.
Maybe it was her integrity and in spite of stumbling and getting in her own way, that she was here to live life on her own terms with verve and vigor and style.
When I first saw her in "Rehab," I thought here's the ultimate chick, a cross between a fifties waitress slinging hash in a roadside diner and a smoke-filled lounge house chanteuse, strutting around in that black beehive, heavily lined eyes and sailor tattoos. I tried imitating that style, but I couldn't because there's nothing like the original, and Amy Winehouse was nothing if not an original.