I like to be intentional with everything that I do. So when I was asked to “become” Amy Winehouse for a special local tribute show, I asked myself “Why would I choose that?”
As I thought about it, I gave myself reasons:
First, as a professional artist, I’m attracted to collaborating and creating with a new “team” or “band” of artists – so that’s awesome. Check!
Second, as an actor, I’m drawn to the opportunity to Become someone else – a person, a character with distinct thoughts, feelings, mannerisms, personality. Check!
But there’s something more about This particular Artist. This woman in particular.
Not only did she fuse together genres of hip hop and jazz musically, but she was a truly soul-full being who created original pieces and who wanted to (and succeeded in) making music that has a message.
The more I listen to her interviews and learn her music, the more I understand her objective: to create meaning. Whether in her own life or for others, that was her intention and I think that’s something we can all relate to.
For some, when they think of Amy Winehouse, they think of what a tragic character she was. I get that. She didn’t seem to have the most positive influences around her that could offer support when her inner demons showed themselves.
But when I think of her, of Amy, I think about her incredibly poetic lyrics like,
This face in my dreams seizes my guts He floods me with dread Soaked in soul He swims in my eyes by the bed Pour myself over him Moon spilling in And I wake up alone
Or her humor she deadpans in an interview that she knew JayZ “yeah, he gets me sandwiches after gettin me a cup of joe. Really nice guy.”
I think of a gutsy woman who was willing to authentically speak her mind and also put her own story out there through her music in a very vulnerable way. That legend deserves to live on.
And yes, I also think of someone who was suffering mentally, emotionally and from substance abuse and didn’t have the proper tools or support that she needed when she needed them. Yet another topic, worth drawing attention to, especially given our current opioid crisis.
Covering Amy Winehouse is an honor and privilege for these reasons and I sure hope we do her justice!
If you’re local, I hope you’ll join me (Suzy Mac) and my new musical friends/collaborators as we commemorate beautiful stories and music that wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for this talented artist.
As one of our local arts leaders John Cernak said lately, “Artists are the reason we don’t all go jump off a bridge”. Cheers to that!