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A Billie Holiday for the 21st Century.

Amy Winehouse, a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from Camden, with a voice cut from the same rough silk as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, performed for the first time with her full band at this year’s Big Chill. A fusion of traditional jazz songwriting (think Ray Charles) and a modern hip-hop approach, she’s sure to get tongues wagging when she releases her debut LP in October.

“I really started writing music to challenge myself, to see what I could write,” she says. “There was nothing that I could listen to at the time. Having listened to great songwriters like James Taylor and Carole King, I felt there was nothing new that was coming out that really represented me and the way I felt. So I started writing my own stuff.”

amy winehouse

Amy’s music is a melting pot of what she’s absorbed, from her father’s passion for jazz to modern urban influences: “It’s very jazz-influenced but it’s very much the new as well,” she says. “It’s very hip-hop and beat driven - just everything I’ve listened to over the past 20 years.”

So is there anyone that she admires from the current music scene? “I’m trying to think of English singers at the moment,” she ponders. “Dynamite, I guess. There is no one else.” Matt Walton 08 Aug 03

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