When the news came in yesterday that soul singer Amy Winehouse had passed away I shed a tear. She was just 27 years old and so talented that it seemed an immense waste to a life, albeit a life that had been troubled in recent years.
I first met Amy in 2005 when I was Associate Editor of the celebrity weekly magazine Now - I was a hosting a charity party in a London nightclub for them and we had lots of musicians, including Amy, appear that night to support the charity. Franz Ferdinand and Jamie Cullum were there too. It was also by coincidence the night my husband first set eyes on me (long story...).
She was charming although a little nervy, childlike and sweet but also there was a vulnerability about her even then. She walked like a newborn lamb does when it is trying to find its feet after birth. As she arrived I gently led her away from all the paparazzi gathered outside the nightclub (I am not sure how anyone survives that onslaught of flashbulbs every day of their life) and then she asked me: 'Put me somewhere quiet where I can have a drink.'
Sums it up really.
I then met Amy again a couple more times at industry events and each time she seemed to visibly shrink in size before my eyes but oddly her voice got huskier. By 2009, the last time I saw her, the sparkle in her eyes had gone and so had the charming skittishness. She looked ill. Simple as that.
I am not going to join all the other voices out there attributing blame to people in her life: from her ex-husband to her father to her manager. Addiction is an illness and a complicated one at that. Amy is now gone, hopefully to a better place and I would just like us all to remember her unique talent as a singer and performer.