As a teenager, Amy Winehouse loved to write lists. And thought about how she would decorate her room and what she wanted to achieve when she was famous. Owning a shoe collection (at least 300 pairs) that meet actors Liz Taylor and Paul Newman. Also make a movie where she looks ugly. And she wanted to make it, her personal notes say, so that “people look up to me.”
The musician became one of the best-known singers in the world with just two albums before she died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27. Today she would have been 40 years old.
Long before Winehouse appeared on stage with her hair piled high and black eyeliner on, she was thinking about becoming famous. Some of her recordings have just been released in the UK. The book "In Her Words" includes baby photos, diary entries, paintings, poems and notes on her song lyrics.
The records show that Winehouse could be quite funny early on. And sometimes had an outsider role. "I may be a bit eccentric and loud, also weird," she wrote. But that's only because not many people know her. "Most people don't want to get to know me, they're just content to think I'm the weird one in the class."
Amy had to cope with her parents' separation and also wondered about boys in her notes: "Will I ever find love, or am I doomed to date metalheads or great guys WITHOUT BRAIN (a thing I hate)."
Winehouse came to the conclusion in her entries that she didn't want to be like the others. "I'm happy to be different." She loves to have her own style and sometimes contradict things. She kept her own style in the years that followed. You can recognize their albums “Frank” and “Back to Black” after just a few seconds of listening.
Uneasy with fame?
There is now a monument in the London district of Camden that commemorates the soul musician. The figure's hair is pinned up with clips - the hairstyle is also called "Beehive" because it resembles a beehive. In the book, her parents Janis Winehouse-Collins and Mitch Winehouse raise the question of whether Amy wasn't also hiding behind it.
"Despite becoming one of the most photographed singers of her generation, Amy, deep down, was never comfortable with the fame she achieved in such a short space of time," the book says.
The parents write that they found some comfort in their daughter's notes after her death. Of course, Amy's story cannot be glossed over; she was addicted. "It's bittersweet for us to look back at a diary entry Amy wrote as a teenager: 'Most of the time I have this dream of being very famous, of working on stage.'"
The fact that Amy Winehouse has achieved a point on her list can be seen in her former neighborhood. There is a tree in London's Camden Square Park that people have made a memorial. They remember the musician with flowers and gifts. A birthday card hangs there. And a letter. In it, someone talks about getting to know Amy's music as a child and now, years later, sitting on a park bench to write to her. The note says she can't imagine what influence her music has had.