Saturday Survey: Saving Amy Winehouse
By Niki D'Andrea
Every Saturday, we're going to start taking surveys on various music-related topics and celebrity shenanigans. We know that our readers have a lot to say, and we want to know what's on your minds. Next week, we'll be discussing rapper DMX and the raid on his Cave Creek home that produced several firearms and found some "distressed dogs" (you can read about it here). But this week, we've got some love, blood, and drugs to discuss.
Amy Winehouse was supposed to be this year's big, hot breakout star. The young British singer's latest album, Back to Black, is a deft blend of Phil Spector-ish girl bop rock, soul, and R&B, driven by Winehouse's remarkably deep, silky voice. The album (Winehouse's second) was one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and she was expected to garner even more new fans through extensive tours of the U.S.
And indeed, everybody's been talking about Amy Winehouse this year. Unfortunately, the talk has not been about Winehouse's music, but about her downward spiral as an alleged drunk and drug addict. Earlier this year, she threw up into her mouth halfway through her second song during a gig at London's GAY club, then left the stage and never returned, with no explanation to the audience. She punched a fan who approached her at another club a few months later. At the 2007 SxSW Music Festival in Austin, TX in March, Winehouse was the big buzz girl. Winehouse and I stayed at the same hotel, and I ran into her every day of the festival. She never looked happy, she always had a glazed look in her eyes, and as I wrote in "Chasing Amy Winehouse" on the "Austin-Powered" SxSW blog, her attitude got worse and worse as the week rolled on (I'll admit mine did, too -- being crammed onto a street with 7,000 drunk people four nights in a row can be irritating, even with non-stop rock at every club). One of the last times I saw her, she was stumbling into the hotel, alone at 3 a.m., with eyeliner smeared all down her face, looking pissed. I've never stopped saying since that this extremely talented woman was on a bad trajectory. Everybody talks about the promise she has as a musician, but I've long said that if she doesn't get her shit together, she'll kill her career at best and kill herself at worst.
Now she's hit the wall. Actually, these photos make it look more like she ran into a Mack truck:
Here's a link to the original story about the domestic violence incident with her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.
What shocked me the most about this story was not that Winehouse and Fielder-Civil threw down and beat the shit out of each other (he's got his own unsavory rep), but the reports that Winehouse is using crack and heroin. Winehouse's parents have publicly said they feel helpless to save their daughter, and Winehouse has canceled all of her tour dates.
My hope is that Winehouse will get the help she so desperately needs. It's true that she fired her management before Back to Black was recorded, because they urged her to go to rehab (hence the song, "Rehab," where Winehouse repeatedly sings, "They tried to make me go to rehab/I said no, no, no/I won't go, go, go").
Should Amy Winehouse go to rehab? Should she retire from music? Should she divorce her husband? Does anybody care?