It appears that with Amy Winehouseâ€™s destiny comes a tremendous burden. Many, many musicians have battled her battle before her; the battle of how to handle an incredible gift with a deeply depressed mind. Many have lost, and some have won. The last year has proven to be a tumultuous one for Winehouse, and weâ€™ve all left wondering which side sheâ€™ll end up on.
The success of her second album, Back to Black, seems to have coincided with the young divaâ€™s plans to lose herself to her horrific relationships with both the jerk-off in the fedora (but Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s charismatic as hell...) as well as intoxicating substances. The record apparently wasnâ€™t created to win her worldwide fame as much as it was intended to win back the guy she feels she was meant to be with.
Both of the two cover interviews in Spin and Rolling Stone this year depict a love-crazed and rebellious Winehouse who scarcely pulls her lips off of her husband long enough to tell reporters that the whole LP was written during their seperation. She seems to hold Blake Fielder-Civil responsible for every watt of her spotlight. Thereâ€™s no apparent personal pride in Winehouse, just the need for complete self-destruction in her total devotion to Fielder-Civil.
And so, we read interviews that shamelessly depict her to be uncooperative and ungrateful for all the media and public attention. I turned the last page of both the major feature stories aforementioned and still knew next to nothing about this woman with an uncanny ability to sing. It was frustrating that the rare opportunity to present such a walking legend to the public had been given to two journalists who failed to show a less obvious side of Winehouse. After spending time with her, they were unable to shed much light on the mystifying tornado inside the head piled high with unruly dark hair.
The reason Iâ€™m writing all of this is that I just opened the latest issue of Rolling Stone and saw that they named Winehouse â€œTrain Wreck of the Year.â€
Says Rolling Stone, â€œâ€¦Maybe it was actually going to rehab (multiple times), or canceling her tour, or starting to look less like the spunky functioning alcoholic with the voice of an angel weâ€™d all come to love and more like a John Waters grotesque.â€
It filled me with the urge to write about her downward spiral with a little more empathy than anyone else has given her lately. The â€œtrainwreckâ€ is 24 years old and one of the most talented voices in the industry. She is struggling, yes, and for good reason.
Iâ€™m not trying to be like Chris Crocker, sobbing and screaming to everyone, â€œLeave Amy alone!â€ Itâ€™s beyond the shallow Britney nonsense. Winehouse has unbelievable genuine ability. What weâ€™re all trying to understand is why someone with talent this huge chooses to throw it all away.
Most of us have no experience grappling with a power as large as sheâ€™s been given. She hasnâ€™t necessarily asked for it as much as sheâ€™s done whatâ€™s natural for her â€“ creating music â€“ and in doing so, has come to a point where she must face the true extent of her greatness. Thatâ€™s an unbelievably terrifying thing to grasp â€“ mainly because of the massive responsibilities and expectations that come along with it.
Her career has nothing to do with her as a person; it has to do with her capability to make music. This sheâ€™s already proven, it wonâ€™t be disputed. But now, she must deal with all the obligations that society presses onto her. She never tried to appear wholesome and completely in control. She never tried to be anything but herself, and no one seems to have given her any credit for that.
Winehouseâ€™s music is nevertheless a reflection of who she is; fierce, powerful and at the same time scared shitless of her power. She canâ€™t help herself any better than anyone else you know with a substance abuse problem and/or an abusive relationship.
Even though all the doors in the world are open to Winehouse right now, sheâ€™s not physically or mentally free enough to walk through any of them. Sheâ€™s caught in many self-inflicted traps and the only way for her to taste what she thinks is true â€œfreedomâ€ is through drugs and alcohol. Sheâ€™s just not ready to accept her gift. And until she decides she has the strength to flex the power sheâ€™s capable of possessing, itâ€™s a complete toss-up as to how sheâ€™ll handle herself.
WORLD - AN EDGE IN MY VOICE
Copyright © 2010 Jessamyn Cuneo
The Amy Winehouse Catastrophe
Behind the beehive...perhaps.
Copyright © 2010 Jessamyn Cuneo
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