The real-life Valerie, the inspiration behind Amy Winehouse song, is discovered
10 June 2019, 15:29
The woman who inspired The Zutons‘ classic song 'Valerie' has been discovered.
12 years after Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson‘s cover became an international hit, it has been revealed that the 2006 track was written about Valerie Star, a makeup artist who previously dated Zutons frontman Dave McCabe.
Star and McCabe have spoken about how the song told the story of how she almost went to jail after several driving offences, which led to her cancelling a move to the UK to be with him.
“I remember when he told me about the song. It was like, ‘I kind of wrote a song about you. And they picked it up as a single,’ Valerie told VICE.
“He wouldn’t tell me any details. He was really super shy about it. And I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh dear god Valerie, what does this song sound like?'”
McCabe, who first met Valerie after a gig in Florida, confirmed the story and described her as a “sweet girl”.
Describing how she met the Zutons singer, she explained: “When they came off stage, I saw Dave walked out and grabbed him. I was like, ‘I need to buy you a drink. You guys were great.’
"One drink turned into god knows how many. A lot. We didn’t stay. We all went to another bar. And then another. And then we all went back to Erin’s place and drank champagne on the rooftop until the sun came up. And that was our first meeting.
“After that first night, Dave said they were doing another show in Jacksonville or something – four hours away. So we went to Jacksonville and it just kind of snowballed into this craziness. I would meet him in different [cities]. I’d fly out to see him. It was great. We had so much fun together.”
Star also spoke about the moment she first met Mark Ronson, who produced the more famous cover version by Amy Winehouse.
Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse - Valerie (Official Video)
“I remember meeting Mark [Ronson] when he was doing a radio interview alongside Dave. Mark said [to me], ‘I feel like I should open up my wallet and just hand you money.’
"It was really funny. It’s also kind of surreal. I can’t keep the song on my shuffle playlist. Not that it’s narcissistic, but I feel like it would come up at the most awkward times. Like, hey, just listening to a song about myself – don’t mind me.”