It is a year since Amy Winehouse passed away. For Mill Hill Music Complex this is a sad anniversary. Amy was a much loved and valued customer. The video you see is of her first TV appearance on the Jools Holland show. Amy rehearsed for the show at our studios and bought the blue Fender Strat from our shop. She said “I’m on Jool on Friday, make sure you watch it, I want to know what you guys think”. We all thought she was amazing. The first time I became aware of Amy’s talent, I was walking past studio 9 and heard the most amazing singer. I hadn’t seen the band arrive. I assumed it was someone older and larger. If Aretha Franklin had walked out, I wouldn’t have been surprised. When Amy came out, I was amazed that such a tiny person could have such a massive voice. She was like a sparrow, fragile and delicate. She did however know her music. She was also trusting and vulnerable. Her band rehearsed with us as they worked their buts off to get a deal. When she signed, she decided to buy a guitar. As she walked through our shop to the toilets she said to Fil, our shop assistant “Get that blue Fender Strat and wrap it up for me, I’ll take it. I have just got a cheque from the record company and I want a decent guitar”. Fil got the guitar off the rack, tuned it and set it up for her to try out. As she returned Fil said “here, try it”. She replied “I don’t need to, I trust you”. She took it. The next time we saw it was in the clip below.
Amy still rehearsed with us for about six months after she signed. The last we heard of her was about two years later. Her manager rang up and said “Amy is trying to get her head together and write a few songs. Can she book your recording studio tonight. She says that she feels comfortable with you guys”. We were delighted. She never showed up. Some “friends” intercepted her and they went off to party. Her manager rang up, apologised and said Amy insisted he pay for the studio time that hadn’t been used. I’d rather given her the time free and had her do what she was best at. I suspect that her life was leeched out of her by hangers on, less interested in her talent than her money.
I don’t think Amy’s life was a tragedy, she brought joy to millions. I think the manner of her death was. I am proud that Mill Hill Music Complex played a small part in the story. I am honoured she saw us as friends and a safe place and I’m devastated, even a year later that we won’t see her again.
Amy Winehouse – RIP singing with the Angels, live at a bar somewhere in Heaven tonight !