Let me start by giving some perspective on this. I have always felt slightly uncomfortable talking about Amy Winehouse. She was a studio customer from the days before she was famous until the day she died. Shortly before she passed, she’d called about doing some recordings. She wanted to do something stripped back, without the big production, but primarily where she was in control and calling the shots. We were sworn to secrecy about the project (no big deal, many artists do this). The sessions were booked provisionally for September 2011. When Amy passed, I was in France. When I came back, the saddest moment of my professional life was getting the Tippex and erasing the sessions from our diary.
I have never been so genuinely excited as when we took the booking. It’s not often we get a Grammy winning artist wanting to record an album worth of material in our little North West London studio. They normally prefer Abbey Road. Although this was likely to be pre prod demo’s, Amy would most likely have ended up recording the final versions at Abbey Road, she said that she needed a less formal enviroment to create and said that if it came out well enough she’d do it all with us. It was still hugely exciting. She said she wanted to lock herself in the studio with a couple of musicians and simply create.
It is a well known fact that Amy had her troubles. When we last spoke, it was not to a troubled soul. It was to someone who wanted to open a new chapter. She told me she’d been listening to lots of music and was feeling really inspired. This was not inspired in a whacky or drug addled sense. It was in a serious, professional and purposeful manner. She wanted a stripped back, unplugged vibe, more jazz based. She wanted to put out an album that people didn’t expect. Something with a raw depth that maybe she felt the super polished previous albums and the pop tunes hadn’t addressed. I was given the impression that almost no one knew about it. She most certainly didn’t want her label involved until she had what she wanted in the can. She didn’t want someone saying “This is a single, we need XXXXX to produce it now”.
An interesting article i found on twitter regarding some of her plans for the 3rd album.