Sunday December 05, 2021

Fans honour Amy Winehouse in London, decade after her death

July 24, 2021

Tourists and residents remembered British singer Amy Winehouse on Friday, paying tribute on the tenth anniversary of her death at a statue in her memory in the London borough of Camden.

A red rose had been placed on the bronze statue in the soul singer’s trademark beehive hair style to mark the anniversary of Winehouse’s death at her home in the north London neighbourhood in 2011.

The star’s untimely death from alcohol poisoning after years battling addiction and an eating disorder added her name to the so-called "27 club", a group of talented but troubled artists whose lives were cut short at the same young age.

Ravi Vyas, 26, was among the well-wishers who thronged Camden’s cobbled streets and left pink, red and yellow roses by the feet of the statue -- a life-sized depiction of the diminutive singer.

He recalled "crying my eyes out on the day she passed". "Now, after 10 years, it’s my moment to pay my condolences," the Camden local told AFP.

The anniversary of the "Back to Black" and "Rehab" singer’s passing has inspired fans to look back at her short but impactful career. It was characterised by her distinct jazz style -- which contrasted heavily with the pop music of the time -- and her destructive relationship with alcohol and drugs. "Looking at her fall has made us realise that we’re all humans and we need to treat each other with respect," Vyas said.

"It makes me realise how important it is to maintain your own integrity and inner strength. "I want her to be remembered as someone who represents who we are as Camden," the health technology manager explained.

"I want people to remember her as the jazz girl who made it big." The tenth anniversary has also provoked introspection over Winehouse’s memory, which had been shaped by the tabloid narrative surrounding her drinking, drug use and relationship with ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil.

"She’s remembered in the public eye as being this drug addict -- that’s not how we should remember her at all," 16-year-old student Reece Fielding said. "We should remember her for her talent, style, attitude that no-one else even dared to have.

"When I go through rough patches, I like to listen to her music, it helps me and sums up how I’m feeling. Her music is unique."

Grace Newham, 21, said she had come to visit the statue on the warm summer’s day to "take it all in and enjoy the vibes". "She did what she wanted to do -- nothing fazed her, she was her own person. I loved the individuality that she brought -- I miss her a lot and her fashion," the school worker added.