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Amy Winehouse was one of the most talented and unique British singer-songwriters of the 21st century. From the discovery of her talent to her tragic passing, here is all the important facts about the 'Back to Black' star.
Amy Winehouse was born in Chase Farm Hospital, in north London, to Jewish parents. Her dad, Mitch Winehouse, was a window panel installer and a taxi driver. Her mother, Janis Winehouse was a pharmacist. Her ancestors were Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish immigrants to London. Amy's older brother, Alex was born in 1979. Her grandmother was once engaged to English saxophonist and jazz club owner, Ronnie Scott.
Aged eight, she attended the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School, and was later was a pupil at the Sylvia Young theatre school in central London. However, she was asked to leave because she was disrupting lessons and "not applying herself." She then had a short spell at the Brit School in Croydon, south London. She attended at the same time as fellow singers Leona Lewis, Jessie J and Adele.
In 1997, she appeared in an episode of BBC sketch comedy series 'The Fast Show', with other children from the Sylvia Young School.
Amy got her first guitar when she was 13, and began writing music a year later. Her break came at 16, when her ex-boyfriend, soul singer Tyler James, sent a tape of her singing with a jazz band to his A&R manager. It eventually led to a contract with the Island/Universal record label, and a publishing deal with EMI.
Winehouse's debut album was the jazz-inspired 'Frank', and was released on October 20, 2003. It received positive reviews from most music critics, and earned her various awards, including an Ivor Novello Award for the first single 'Stronger Than Me'.
'Back To Black' earned Winehouse many awards, including five Grammy. It was the biggest-selling album of 2007 worldwide, with over 5.5 million copies sold that year, and topped the charts in 18 countries. In the UK, it was the third biggest seller of the 2000s. It contained the songs 'Back to Black', 'Rehab', 'Tears Dry on Their Own', 'Love is a Losing Game' and 'You Know I'm No Good'.
Amy Winehouse had 14 known tattoos, including 'Daddy's Girl' on her left arm for her father, and the name 'Cynthia' on her right arm in tribute of her Jewish grandmother.
In 2007, Amy released a cover of The Zutons' song 'Valerie', as a collaboration with producer Mark Ronson. It became an even bigger hit than the original, and is arguably one of her most famous songs.
Most of the songs on 'Back to Black' were inspired by her relationship and split with her on-off boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil. They eventually married at a secret ceremony in Miami in May 2007. The relationship ended when Fielder-Civil was sentenced to 27 months in jail for trying to pervert the course of justice and of grievous bodily harm. Winehouse also dated singer Alex Clare, actor Josh Bowman, and singer Pete Doherty.
Amy Winehouse was found dead on July 23, 2011, at her home in London. She was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. In October, the coroner reported that her death was due to alcohol poisoning, with her blood-alcohol level 5 times over the legal driving limit at the time of her death. For much of her adult life, Winehouse's battles with substance abuse were the subject of much media attention.
In 2015, the film 'Amy' was released. The movie is about the life and death of Winehouse. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the film covers her life and struggles with substance abuse, both before and after her career skyrocketed, and which eventually caused her death. 'Amy' became the highest-grossing British documentary of all time, and won a total of 30 film awards, including an Oscar.