The loss of Amy Winehouse left a seismic hole in the music business. However, her presence has continued to live on through those she has inspired most, and Billie Eilish believes the late English singer is responsible for shaping a “whole generation”.
Similarly to Eilish, Winehouse was only a teenager when her career first started to gain traction, with her debut album arriving in 2003. The explosion of her sophomore album, Back To Black, took Winehouse’s fame to another dimension, and she struggled to cope.
Winehouse was never interested in fame or fortune, and the tabloid circus surrounding her wasn’t something she chased. In a dream world, Winehouse would likely have preferred to have performed at venues such as London’s Jazz Cafe and not have the level of success she enjoyed because of the negative things which come with it.
For Eilish, it’s not just the voice and talent of Winehouse that she finds inspiring but also the unflinching spirit of the late singer. She was an anomaly in the pop industry and, single-handedly, Winehouse showed there was another way. The Londoner arrived in the charts during a sanitised time, and she was a refreshing figure who proved to a generation that it was OK to be yourself and not conform.
Speaking to SPIN, Eilish said: “The things that inspire me about Amy are also the kind of things that are sad about it. You knew she wasn’t doing anything that she did for attention or in a weird, fake way because from what I gather, she didn’t really want that shit, you know.”
This aforementioned attitude resonates with Eilish, and similarly to Winehouse, fame is not something she seeks. If there was a way she could enjoy her career without the baggage, then she’d do it. From a musical standpoint, she also learned to be brave from Winehouse, and Eilish believes all her peers feel the same.
Eilish continued: “It kind of actually showed me that she was kind of raw for what she was creating, and she wasn’t trying to be anything she wasn’t because she didn’t even want to be that. I mean, she changed a whole generation of music like everyone when listing off the people that inspired them like people right now, Amy Winehouse is always in that list, and it’s really true. Everything about her, she just mixed a whole bunch of stuff together, and created the most beautiful things.”
Astonishingly, it’s been over a decade since Winehouse departed the world in tragic circumstances, and she still had so much more to give. However, Eilish’s comments reflect the legacy she left behind and demonstrate why Winehouse will never be forgotten.