Amy Winehouse: Powerful Contralto Vocal

(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

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Born on September 14, 1983, Amy Jade Winehouse blessed with a powerful contralto voice earned a name for herself as a singer and songwriter with a special talent for mixing different genres of music like jazz, R & B, Soul, etc. Amy Winehouse, born to a  Jewish family in Southgate, North London inherited her love for jazz from her family.

Mitchell, her father was a taxi driver and Janis, her mother was a pharmacist and both of them along with Amy’s elder brother Alex Mitchell loved singing Frank Sinatra songs while doing household chores, a practice which Amy picked up so much that she would sing during class hours at school much to the exasperation of her teachers.

Amy Winehouse’s Journey

With encouragement from her grandmother Cynthia,  Amy attended Susi Earnshaw Theatre School for honing her skills for four years. When she was ten she formed a rap group named Sweet ‘n’ Sour with her childhood mate Juliette Ashby. She received her first guitar when she was thirteen years of age and soon started penning songs. Later she went for advanced training at Sylvia YoungTheater School and was turned out of the school at the age of fourteen for lack of commitment. She also attended BRIT School,  Southgate School, and Ashmole School. Amy Winehouse’s debut album Frank in the year 2003 was acclaimed in UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

This success was unfortunately followed by a phase of psychological problems such as drug abuse, heavy drinking, mood swings and weight loss. However, she turned around and her next album Back to Black in the year 2006 was nominated for six Grammy awards of which it received five. With that, she tied the record for maximum awards for a female artist and was the first British singer to receive five Grammy awards. This included three major categories in the “Big-four” namely Record of the Year, Song of the Year and the Best New Artist of the year.

The success ride continued with the BRIT award for the Best British Female Artist in February 2007 and was also nominated for Best British Album. Amy has the distinction of winning the Ivor Novello Award three times for Best Contemporary Song in 2004 for “Stronger Than Me”, for “Rehab” in 2007  as Best Contemporary Song and in 2008 for Best song musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game” and it secured the third prize for best-seller albums in the 2000s in the UK.  Amy Winehouse has influenced in a major way the rise of female artists in the field of music and giving character to soul music and British music.

Psychological issues with drinking and substance abuse, violent and self-destructive behavior and marital problems with husband Blake Fielder-Civil pursued this young and talented singer leading to her husband serving time in jail and Amy tottering between her career and her life in 2007 -08.

Once again she turned around and performed at the jazz festival in St. Lucia in May 2009  overcoming technical problems and inclement weather.  July 2010 saw Amy performing with Mark Ronson at the premiere of a movie. October 2010 saw her singing a four-song set for promoting her fashion line and December 2010 saw Amy playing a 40 minutes concert at a Russian oligarch’s party. Her commitment to music is reiterated with her five dates performance in Brazil in January 2011 and Amy Winehouse is now all set to play in Dubai with other artists in February 2011.


Among the honors and acknowledgment for her first album Frank, Winehouse earned an Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters for Best Contemporary Song (“Stronger Than Me”), incorporation in Robert Dimery’s 2006 book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and a Brit Award selection for Best British Female Solo Artist.

Back to Black, was her second studio album which was selected in many nominations, including six Grammy Awards (counting five wins), three MTV Video Music Awards, two Brit Awards (Best British Album, and won her Best British Female Solo Artist), three World Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards, and it was designated for a MOBO Awards (Best UK Female) and the Mercury Prize (Album of the Year). In her entire professional career, Winehouse got 23 awards out of 60 nominations.

Amy Winehouse’s Vocal Range & Singing Voice

Amy Winehouse possesses a vocal Range of 3 Octaves and one semitone D3-Eb6. Typically, she is a contralto.

She has a unique and so easily recognizable voice. Naturally proficient vocalist with an extraordinary technique and splendidly individual phrasing. Her voice is associated well through the registers and keeps up its character all through. Likewise has an emotive voice that imparts the tunes subject exceptionally.

It may make it difficult to adjust to various genres of music due to her unique style.

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