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HUMO interview ('06)


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#1 Chloë

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:05 PM

I found a really good Amy interview, it's from a Belgium magazine. Translating it made me realise how shit my English is, so a big sorry for all the mistakes. If you like to point them out to me, I'll edit them. Enjoy!

“I’m a manic-depressive and drinking doesn’t really help me”

A voice like Aretha’s, a
blasphemious vocabulary that doesn’t have to inferior with the one of an average dockworker and an exotic physique that dazzles many men and women. Phenomenon Amy Winehouse was brought in with her debut ‘Frank’ as the indie Joss Stone, with her new record ‘Back To Black’, the 23-year old Jewish diva from Camden crowns herself as a Diana Ross from hell.

Tutorial
Amy Winehouse: she grew up with the pop from Kylie Minogue and Salt ‘N’ Pepa, but she already chose for the record collection of her parents when she was ten years old: Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. On her thirteenth, she enrolled in the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London – in her class also future popstars Billie Piper and the frontman from Busted – she got thrown out two years later due to a lack of commitment ànd a piercing.

She made her debut with ‘Frank, a jazzy record that sorely against her will classified her with Katie Melua Norah Jones & Jamie Cullum (Winehouse about Cullum: ‘Lift Music, mate!’) After three years of silence, she strikes back with ‘Back To Black’: bathing in a fat vintage Motown-sound, Winehouse sings, in real time whiter than white, but qua voice blacker than black, about her daily tasks.


We meet Amy Winehouse in the offices of Universal in London. The rumours are right: the in times of ‘Frank’
voluptuous Winehouse is frightingly skinny. Elegantly wasted too: teased hair, black painted Cleopatra-eyes, skinny jeans and a t-shirt that shows off her full tattooed arms and breast. She’s watching a dvd of Smokey Robinson, ‘The Track of my Tears’ blares through the room. We congratulate Winehouse with her brilliant album, and what’s next is a hyperkinetic chain reaction of distract thoughts.

Amy Winehouse
: ‘There wasn’t a clear direction in my last album: a song sounded like this, the other like that. There wasn’t a consistent style, it was just a jamble, some jazz here, some hip hop there. This record…I haven’t tried anything, the only thing I wanted was that it sounded like the same band playing all the songs, like it was recorded in one go. I wanted it to sound like those albums (points at the telly) were recorded: in two weeks.’

HUMO But that was not how it was done?


‘No, of course not. I cheated. It did take ages and ages, I wasn’t even there when the band came and played it live, I was somewhere between Miami and New York. It wasn’t even the same band, there were two. But I suddenly started to listen to all that Motown music, it’s wicked. I used to listen
to jazz especially, but that’s over now. I know jazz, I don’t have to listen to it all the time any more.

HUMO What made you discover Motown?


‘Pool. I’ve done nothing but playing pool for more than a year. I didn’t feel like making music, I didn’t feel like doing anything really. I needed a break for a while. The original plan was to take three months off but it eventually became a year and a half doing nothing. It was so bad that my record company even came and asked me: ‘do you even want to make a second album’? And I said: ‘yes, but first I have to live my life for a while’. I’m very grateful that they let me do that.’


‘I just played pool. I mean, I still play pool, but for a year, I did almost nothing else but playing pool – every day solidly for like a year. And there just isn’t any jazz in a pub-juke box. I only heard sixties soul, and I loved it immediately. It’s so dramatic and atmospheric. And there’s the heartbreak of course: most of those songs are about how in love you are and how you would die for that person. I immediately thought: this is the shit. This is me, every Sunday of the year.’
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Edited by Chloë, 29 October 2011 - 08:25 PM.

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#2 Chloë

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:07 PM

HUMO The most beautiful song on Back To Black is the ballad ‘Love is a Losing Game’. It’s not the only song on the album which speaks from a broken heart.

I had a really bad break-up. There was someone who I loved so intensely, our love was too intense, and we were simply too much for each other. I got to a point where I had to admit to myself: we can’t be together, it can’t work. One reason was that he already had a girlfriend. But he really did fell for me.’

‘It was such a sad situation… We treated each other like crap, without both of us wanting it. We fell in love and we did everything to prove that we weren’t in love with each other. We were constantly bringing up arguments why we didn’t fit with each other, we were doing nothing but sabotaging our relationship.’

‘But we were very in love with each other. I wrote ‘Love is a Losing Game’ in ten minutes. It just wrote itself, it was such an easy and perfect little song to write. It’s one of my most favourite songs to play live. It’s one of the saddest songs ever. And that’s why I love it so much.’

HUMO Was ‘Wake Up Alone’ also about him?


‘It was a real hell: in the day, I did everything to not think about him, I tried to distract my brains as much as possible. But at night, I couldn’t escape my thoughts. He always chased me in my dreams, night after night. And then you wake up in the morning, you dreamt about him again, and there’s no one beside you…So weird.’

‘But it was even weirder when I woke up next to someone else, my new boyfriend. I used to dream about Blake again, and I woke up next to Alex. God, shit, then I used to feel so bad for Blake, because I was falling in love with somebody else. The first three weeks that I was with Alex, I used to cry constantly. Always crying and crying, because I was missing someone and I was already falling for the next one. I felt so guilty.’

HUMO Did song writing help?


‘Oh yeah. Back then it did. But now with the shows, there’s always that one time when I don’t feel like singing a song like ‘Love is a Losing Game’. Then I gather all my courage and I say to the audience: ‘it’s sad, it’s a sad song.’ And everyone says: ‘oh look, it’s a part of her act’. When I’d rather do nothing else but cry a bit. ‘Back To Black’ is always a hard one: about how he went back to his girlfriend and I started to drink of pure misery.

HUMO You open ‘Rehab’ with: 'They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no'. Really?


‘I had to stay with my dad for a while, when it went very bad with me. I was so ill from alcohol. I really drank myself sick. I could barely stand up and sitting down didn’t work either. One way or another, my legs didn’t worked properly. Because of the booze. It was disgusting, horrible.’
‘One day, my manager came by and he said: ‘We’ll bring you to this place today where they can help you.’ I said: ‘no way!’ He said: ‘All right, then we’ll bring you there tomorrow.’ I asked my dad if he thought that I should go. He said: ‘No, but you can go to prove that you don’t belong there and the record company will be put at ease.’ I took a bath, got dressed and went there. You would think that someone that walks into rehab would look like Pete Doherty, all messed up, but I came in there on high heels, my hair done and full make-up… The first thing I got to hear was: ‘You’re not a wreck.’ And the second thing: ‘Why do you think you’re here?’ I answered: ‘Because I’m in love and I made a mess.’

HUMO Just like that?


‘I also said to the man: ‘I’m a manic depressive and drinking doesn’t really help me but it does block certain emotions that I don’t want to feel.’ I only went there for a few minutes, I walked in and I walked out. My manager said: ‘That went fast!’ I just love alcohol. Especially the flavor, the effect not so much. Gold Lager, yummie, that tastes like Christmas, it has those little pieces of gold in it… Yearning for a shot of vodka to get in a different mood. Drinking for the sake of drinking, that I don’t really get. I’m a depressed drunk, it’s really dangerous for me to feel bad, because then I’ll start drinking

Edited by Chloë, 29 October 2011 - 08:26 PM.

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#3 Chloë

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:08 PM

HUMO So the problem is that you’re manic-depressed?

The problem back then was that I didn’t have anything to do. I took a year off, was without a job, so I just started to drink. Now I don’t have time anymore to drink. Actually, the manic-depressive thing, I just made that up. Although I am someone of extreme mood swings. I saw my boyfriend recently. We’re having a break at the moment, but he did something with another girl, and he thought that it was necessary to tell me that. I had already slept with my ex-boyfriend in the meantime.

‘I think that when you’re young and you’re having a quarrel, you have to let go for a while. But I had to catch my breath when he said that. And right after that I was questioning him. ‘Who is she?’ When I knew who she was, I immediately called the pub: ‘Hey, who was Alex with yesterday? She’s mixed race, find her for me, okay?’

HUMO Do you often watch mafia movies?


If you live in Camden, it’s important to know where all you’re allies are. Everyone knows everyone, it’s such a small rare incestuous community. I don’t sleep around, but most of my friends do, and I think: bah. We both have our spies. We know everything about each other, even if we aren’t with one another. I drink in Camden or East-London. I never go to Camden when I’m going out with my ex, my boyfriend has too many people there.’

HUMO A triangular relationship like that, isn’t that incredibly exhausting?


‘Yeah, I know, I know. But I want to hang around with who I want and I just want to be left alone.’

HUMO Because we simply can’t look next to it: you’re tattoos. How many?


‘A couple of eleven. I’m doing one for Alex now, that one’s only in the initial phase. I did the Blake tattoo after three weeks. Alex had to wait six weeks for his tattoo, the next one gets his after nine weeks. This one here is from Sin City, and that bird was done recently, after an argument with my boyfriend. I want to make clear that you can’t tame me, that you can’t clip my wings. This feather is symbol for courage, ‘Daddy’s Girl’ is for my father, and the fifties pin-up is my grand-mother.’

HUMO Pardon?


My grand-mother, the way she looked when she was twenty-one. I was twenty-one when I did it, that’s why. It is a collage, a composed portrait of three different pin-ups, one of them looked like my grand-mother when she was young. I did this heart here when… I can’t really remember why. I want more hearts, loads more hearts. I’ll stop one day. I have to be careful. I’m twenty-tree now, how will I look when I’m thirty? (points at the pin-up) I like to have tits on my arm though.’


HUMO Last question: why are you looking over our shoulder at the television the whole time?


Preparation for my shows. I have three backing singers with me for this album, the classical setup, they have these cool sixties moves – it’s really Temptations. I have to participate, and I’m not that good of a dancer. I’m in jeans and t-shirt now, but I dress like a slut on stage, I dance better that way. But it can still be better. That’s why I watch this dvd, to steal all these cool moves. And because interview are so dull.’


That’s what we thought!

Edited by Chloë, 29 October 2011 - 08:31 PM.

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#4 Tiny Penny

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:30 PM

Wow! That is one of the most honest and open interviews from Amy I have ever read! Very detailed... she really put herself out there didn't she! Thanks! Xx
I love you in a place where there's no space or time...Forever you will be a true friend of mine:)

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#5 ladyamy

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:43 PM

It's hard to believe there will be no more. Really, really hard.
I’m a firm believer that we all meet up in eternity

#6 JamaicaAndSpain

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:54 PM

Great interview! Thank you so much!
>:-( "These tears won't dry without you, Amy." >:-(

#7 Amyjadeismymermaid

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Posted 30 November 2021 - 05:13 PM

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