A year before her tragic passing, British singer Amy Winehouse headed to the Rock to recoop and spend some time in the studio. Known for her enormous talent, yet controversial personal issues, she needed a place of peace in order to work on the follow up to her very succesful Back to Black album. When Amy traveled to Jamaica she ended up in the parish of Portland, made famous for it’s capital town Port Antonio. Port Antonio’s beauty drew Amy in, like it has done with so many other artists and musicians before her.
While in Port Antonio, Amy spent almost three weeks at Geejam, a prestigious recording studio which is also a treehouse themed boutique hotel. It’s a favorite retreat for many musicians including Snoop Dogg, Diplo, Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé. Amy made such an impact on her short stay there, after her passing, Geejam CEO Jon Baker, lamented about her death saying that Amy was a “tragic loss of a true friend of Jamaica.”
One Jamaican that worked with her on an early project in 2002, was Jamaican session guitarist Earl’Chinna’ Smith. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, Smith remebers Amy as a focused young adult before her paparazzi fame. Smith remembered the young musician’s talent as such: “she reminded mi a little bit a Sarah Vaughnan, some Billie Holiday, an’ she did it well.” Smith, who has been making hit records for over 30 years and has a great ear for talent, saw his predictions fulfilled as Amy’s voice was heralded as one of a kind.
Her new documentary “Releasing Amy” takes us back to the reason we all loved her; her ethereal voice and magnetic stage persona. The film follows the trajectory of her life which is a paradigm of vibrancy, incredible talent and of course, tragedy. The film already has a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a must watch for the summer, and is now in theatres in the UK and the US.
We miss Amy tremendously, check out the emotional trailer for “Releasing Amy” here on KingstontoLA:
Featured image from Hovefestivalen 2007. Photo credit: Kim Erlandsen, NRK P3