>Christian commentators already expressed concerns
“Troubled soul” singer tried to fill “emptiness”, observers say
By BosNewsLife News Center and BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
LONDON/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Troubled singer Amy Winehouse , whose Grammy Awards-winning career was overshadowed by alcohol and drugs abuse, was found dead Saturday, July 23, in her London apartment, police said. She was 27.
There was no immediate explanation for her death. Police said they found her body after being called to her home by ambulance services.
It came just weeks after she was booed off the stage during one of her last concerts in Belgrade, Serbia, where she appeared drunk, disappointing thousands of fans who paid up to half their monthly wages to see the pop star.
The British singer-songwriter, known for her powerful vocals and her mix of various musical genres including R&B, soul, and jazz, was introduced to the world with her 2003 debut album Frank. She soon became successful in Britain and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album Back to Black led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins.
Her raw talent drew comparisons to Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan as well as the more recent stars Macy Gray and Lauryn Hill. Her second album, “Back to Black,” led to critics calling her the finest British female voice since Dusty Springfield.
With five million albums sold, she had come a long way from her humble upbringing. Amy Jade Winehouse was born in London on September 14, 1983, to a taxi-driving father, Mitch, and pharmacy-technician mother, Janis. She grew up in Southgate, north London. Her Jewish family played records by singers such as Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra. A young Amy also liked hip-hop and started writing songs at age 14, going to the Sylvia Young Theatre School. She was expelled at 16 for piercing her nose, according to people familiar with her life. She also attended the BRIT School funded by the U.K. record industry.
Yet in the midst of her success as a singer, Amy Winehouse “was a tortured soul,” commented the respected Christian Today online publication in 2008. It quoted her husband, Blake Fielder-Civic, at the time as saying from prison “Every day I fear the prison chaplain is going to walk into my cell and break the news that Amy is dead [from a drug overdose].”
Fielder-Civic admitted that he and Winehouse were blowing $1000 a day on heroin and cocaine before he was arrested and put behind bars. At least some of her songs, in styles of soul and Gospel, revealed a longing to fill an emptiness in her life, Christian observers said.
That became clear in the lyrics in Rehab, one of her most famous songs, that won her Record of the Year among other awards.
It says: “They tried to make me go to rehab I said no, no, no. Yes I been black, but when I come back…You won’t know, know, know.”
“I ain’t got the time. And if my daddy thinks I’m fine. He’s tried to make me go to rehab I won’t go, go, go…”
“I don’t ever wanna drink again I just, ooo, I just need a friend. Im not gonna spend 10 weeks. Have everyone think im on the mend
“It’s not just my pride. It’s just til these tears have dried.”
“Can you hear the pain, hurt, defiance and desperation shouting through?”, wondered Jane Dratz of U.S. based Dare 2 Share Ministries, which deals with “energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus” in a Christian Today column.
That pain became more evident after her husband was sentenced to 27 months in jail on a charge of trying to pervert the course of justice following r an assault on a pub owner, observer’s said. Winehouse’s appearance became increasingly distinctive with lots of tattoos, enlarged Cleopatra kohl wings around her eyes, bigger heels, shorter skirts, and her beehive hair piled ever higher.
There were more embarrassing pictures too, showing her stumbling out of bars, dressed only in bra and shorts, clutching cigarettes and bottles. Tabloids distributed video of her allegedly using crack cocaine.
She soon was struggling to meet meet concert dates.
Winehouse was initially denied a U.S. visa to travel to the 2008 Grammy ceremony. She was later allowed entry, though she was advised not to travel, so she performed via satellite.
She eventually returned to the stage in May, but by the following month she was diagnosed with early-stage emphysema, Bloomberg News agency reported. Her father reportedly said her lungs were only at 70 percent of capacity because of smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine. He said that if she carried on, the condition would become fatal.
Dratz suggested in 2008 that she would have been eager to share with Winehouse the Bible text: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” of Matthew 11:28.