Amy Winehouse: the spiteful way she was treated still fills me with rage

It’s hard to say whether Amy’s death shocked the music industry into better protecting artists experiencing mental ill health but I’m hopeful things are changing for the better

Released when I was 14, Amy Winehouse’s debut album offered a bridge from the tween-pop I grew up on to an intriguing adult world rich with sophistication. Back then, I didn’t understand all the lyrics – who was “Badu”? What was a “Moschino bra”? – but that only added to the alluring sense that I was instantly cooler for listening. I spent many evenings in my bedroom trying to mimic Amy’s unfathomably syllable-packed rendition of Moody’s Mood for Love, or singing her ballads or fantastically cutting insults in the imagined direction of whoever was my romance of that week, depending on the drama.

By the time Back to Black arrived, I was 16 and a fully fledged Amy fan, sporting backcombed hair and thick black eyeliner. The album soundtracked my first proper heartbreak, comforting me during the brushing-teeth-while-crying phase with Love Is a Losing Game. It later uplifted me as I sauntered down the street with my head held high to Tears Dry on Their Own, wondering why on earth I did, indeed, “stress the man”.

Related: Why the best album of the 21st century is Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black

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Category: Mental Health