Archives For amy winehouse

The next time you hear “Uptown Funk,” the infectious anthem birthed by DJ/producer Mark Ronson and recording artist Bruno Mars, think about this: it almost never was.

“I remember Bruno once saying like, ‘Man it just breaks my heart but maybe this song is just not supposed to be,’” Ronson recalled to me early last year. “From that initial creative point of it, it was so exciting. That’s why I was hanging on to it like, ‘We gotta make this work.’”

Good thing he did. A billion-view music video, Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, double-GRAMMY nomination and 9-times RIAA platinum certification later, “Uptown Funk” has gone on to top the 2015 year-end charts in seven different countries. Additionally, it sits as 12 on Billboard’s all-time Hot 100 chart here in the U.S.

“Now when I hear it and I just see people like go wild or dance or light up, it’s great,” Ronson told me, noting that he forgets about the long, stressful nights that went in to the record’s creation.
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Coming off last weekend’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, Ronson and Mars now look to take home hardware on music’s biggest night. The GRAMMYs air Monday on CBS from Los Angeles, and “Uptown Funk” is up for Best Pop Song Duo/Group Performance and one of the evening’s biggest awards: Record of the Year.

“I’ve had a few (successes) but none of my own records have… you know, they’ve always been cult hits or ‘DJ records’ and stuff,” reflected the English-born, New York-raised producer on the success of “Uptown Funk” in 2015. “This is beyond anything I ever really thought would happen.”

This is Ronson’s third nomination for Record of the Year and if he wins, he’ll add it to the mantle alongside the award he scored thanks to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” Coincidentally, Mars and Ronson also were up for the category in 2014 thanks to “Locked Out Of Heaven.”

“You know, I had always heard about (Mars) even when he just started out and everyone around LA was like, ‘Oh yeah, this super-talented kid Bruno; he plays all these instruments (and) he’s a great songwriter,’” Ronson said. “I never met him and I got a call just to go in and we met and we talked about music…and I just really liked him so we started working on his second album.”

The DJ/producer has three GRAMMYs in-all, also nabbing Producer of the Year, Non-Classical and Best Pop Vocal Album in 2008 – a year that belonged to the late Winehouse.

“No one’s ever going to live up to Amy, you know in the way she was such a singular, incredible artist,” Ronson said of her. But while the two are never compared (and rightfully so), when MTV wanted to pay homage to Winehouse on the 2011 Video Music Awards, they called on one artist.

Bruno Mars.

As chronicled in the new documentary Amy, almost anyone who came in contact with the late Amy Winehouse experienced some type of very intense, dark time with her, especially later part of her 27 years alive. Yet it takes almost no effort for her first manager Nick Shymansky to recollect brighter moments he spent with the gifted singer.

“Because we were flown out by the label, we decided to make the most of it,” Shymansky, the nephew of Universal Music Group’s Lucian Grainge and current Senior A&R at Island Records was telling me on “Ralphie Tonight” during a story about how he and Winehouse were in New York City. They had a meeting with her label that didn’t go as planned; due to the lack of “heat” around the artist at that particular moment, label execs were pumping the breaks on releasing Winehouse’s first album Frank in the States.

“Amy just made her first bit of money. She wasn’t really famous but she was getting a lot of acclaim. We ended up going to Tower Records and she got a massive trolley. She was like a kid in a candy store.”

Winehouse went to town in the once-booming store (Shymansky believes they were at the former Upper West Side location), not taking in to account anything – whether it be the price of the records nor the tax and shipping cost to send them all back to the UK.

“I remember she bought all this music and we paid a huge fine for taking it back (overseas),” he recalled with a smile. “It was amazing seeing her just realize, ‘I can have whatever music I want. I’ve got money.’”
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Shymansky contributed over 12 hours of footage he taped to the piece, which was directed by Asif Kapadia. He, along with rapper Mos Def, producer Mark Ronson and many other friends and family of Winehouse’s, sat down with Kapadia for audio-only interviews that are woven throughout the two-hour-plus film. The singer’s former manager cooperated with the filmmaker in part to help show different sides to Winehouse’s personality and artistry; perhaps those neglected and/or ignored by the media that maligned her until she died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011.

But the film is honest and comes with its share of cringe-worthy moments: watching Winehouse stumble in front of tens-of-thousands on stage, the singer’s mother admitting that she missed early signs of bulimia and Winehouse’s father Mitch showing up to Sr. Lucia, where his daughter was supposed to be recovering on while avoiding the media… with a reality-show camera crew in tow.

“I think one of the most powerful things about this film is that you’re not really told what to think of people,” Shymansky explained. “Opinions aren’t flying. You can’t ignore there were certain decisions, certain things that were handled badly. But I think you come away from this film… it’s two hours and 10 minutes of you being close to the artist.”

From that proximity, it is hard not to see why after viewing Kapadia’s final cut, Winehouse’s father decided to disassociate the family from its release. In addition to the aforementioned incident on the island, Mr. Winehouse also plays an integral role in the creation of his daughter’s breakout hit, “Rehab.” Shymansky actually tried to admit Winehouse; the singer responded by deferring the decision of whether she should go or not to her father.

Despite working out a plan ahead of time with her manager, Mr. Winehouse told his daughter that she didn’t need rehab. Of course, you know this by simply listening to the song, which is almost a verbatim play-by-play of the entire situation.
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“Popular music, up-tempo music, hit music, whatever you want to call it… is very often, when you really look in to the context of what that song’s saying, it can be quite deep,” Shymansky noted, citing hits from Motown as an example. “For me, I can never listen to ‘Rehab.’ Although, I appreciate why a lot of people get it, dance to it, love it… but I knew what was behind it, and I always found it a bit of a ridicule in to my belief that Amy needed help.”

Shymansky could have easily forgotten about Winehouse altogether after his refusal to leave the company he worked for, 19 Entertainment, led to the singer switching managers prior to the release of Back To Black. But Shymansky still cares very much about the singer and her lasting legacy, knowing full well that his discovery of Winehouse helped cement his own credibility in the industry.

Lioness record came out, and I always felt very strange about that record coming out because it wasn’t a record that Amy said, ‘This is my body of work. I’ve finished it. I’ve done it,” he responded when I inquired about the possibility of any unreleased demos seeing the light of day. Keep in mind who Shymansky’s uncle is and what label he now works for, and this is an obvious example of the former point regarding his interest in the singer’s legacy. “Amy took her music very seriously…I hope that if music does emerge, it’s not put out there.”

Mark Ronson, tall on knowledge but short on sleep, stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to chat about his number one hit that almost never was. Ronson also talked about the media comparing new artists to others that have come before them and what it’s like to perform alongside the likes of Bruno Mars and Mystikal.


The DJ and producer recalled growing up in New York City, and opined how Manhattan has changed since he was a kid on the Upper West Side. Ronson’s album, Uptown Special, is on Rdio now.

Our girl Lady GaGa does indeed dye her hair and with good reason. Turns out a reporter once had mistaken her for Amy Winehouse.  Crazy, right?

I don’t know about you but I’m not really seeing a comparision. GaGa did call Winehouse “badass” and simply wants to be her own person and known for her own style. Well, I don’t blame her.

last week news broke of blake fielder-civil suffering from a heroin overdose in prison. it poses the question – how does one go about obtaining illegal drugs while incarcerated?

for starters, a famous wife helps.

apparently, blake swapped signed winehouse photos with his fellow inmates in exchange for the goods. read more about the alleged transactions here.

last week news broke of blake fielder-civil suffering from a heroin overdose in prison. it poses the question – how does one go about obtaining illegal drugs while incarcerated?

for starters, a famous wife helps.

apparently, blake swapped signed winehouse photos with his fellow inmates in exchange for the goods. read more about the alleged transactions here.

catch this in the weekender on wednesday…

On Sunday night, Amy Winehouse reaffirmed her position as an artist that can perform, inspire, and revolutionize what we know as contemporary music. The British singer won 5 of the 6 Grammy awards the Academy nominated her for, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the track that may define Wino’s career – Rehab.

Due to problems with renewing her Visa, as well as the ongoing rehab stint, Winehouse performed and accepted one of the five awards via satellite in London’s Riverside Studios.

Here on WYOU, we watched the Amy Winehouse that America fell in love with over the summer. The Amy Winehouse with swagger and confidence. The one that appeared to scoff at you while belting out the memorable, authentic, “No, No, No!” when they asked her to go to rehab.

The intervention of her father, Mitch, led her to a different response when they proposed another stint in rehab last month, just after video surfaced of the bee-hived singer as a blond, smoking what appeared to be a crack pipe.

“I’m useless to you anyway now, I just took about six valium,” slurred Winehouse in the grainy footage.

With a Grammy debut that ended with five pieces of hardware and one brilliant performance, it’s doubtful that people will regard Winehouse in such a dreadful light for the time being.

Now the blogs and vlogs have new material – like her reaction on live TV to winning Record of the Year. Overcome with shock, Winehouse embraced band members and her parents, thanking them while also offering up her second shout-out of the night to locked-up husband Blake Fielder-Civil .

“For my Blake incarcerated, and for London! This is for London!” Winehouse emotionally proclaimed.

This success may be for her home city, but by all means, you can’t deny the British vocalist’s All-American comeback story.

DON’T WORRY – OTHER ARTISTS WON TOO

– Prior to the show’s start, Kanye West already coroneted himself a Grammy winner. Yet, for the third time, the Album of the Year Grammy escaped him, awarded to jazz musician Herbie Hancock.

Despite this, West still stole and extended the spotlight. While accepting his Grammy for Best Rap Album, producers began to play the “wrap-up” music right before the Chicago-rapper entered into a tribute to his mother. West politely asked the Academy to kill the music, and they obliged.

Kanye also paid homage to his late mother, Dr. Donda West, earlier in the night with his performance of Hey Mama. West won four Grammys.

– Vince Gill earned himself a little street-cred Sunday night. After receiving the Best Country Album Grammy from Beatle-legend Ringo Starr, Gill offered up the following on stage:

“I just got an award given to me by a Beatle,” gleamed Gill. “Have you had that happen yet Kanye?”

West smiled it off. After all, no egos would be injured in the production of this awards show.

– Reading’s Taylor Swift appeared in her first Grammy’s, presenting an award and losing Best New Artist to Winehouse.

amy winehouse kills it!

catch this in the weekender on wednesday…

On Sunday night, Amy Winehouse reaffirmed her position as an artist that can perform, inspire, and revolutionize what we know as contemporary music. The British singer won 5 of the 6 Grammy awards the Academy nominated her for, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the track that may define Wino’s career – Rehab.

Due to problems with renewing her Visa, as well as the ongoing rehab stint, Winehouse performed and accepted one of the five awards via satellite in London’s Riverside Studios.

Here on WYOU, we watched the Amy Winehouse that America fell in love with over the summer. The Amy Winehouse with swagger and confidence. The one that appeared to scoff at you while belting out the memorable, authentic, “No, No, No!” when they asked her to go to rehab.

The intervention of her father, Mitch, led her to a different response when they proposed another stint in rehab last month, just after video surfaced of the bee-hived singer as a blond, smoking what appeared to be a crack pipe.

“I’m useless to you anyway now, I just took about six valium,” slurred Winehouse in the grainy footage.

With a Grammy debut that ended with five pieces of hardware and one brilliant performance, it’s doubtful that people will regard Winehouse in such a dreadful light for the time being.

Now the blogs and vlogs have new material – like her reaction on live TV to winning Record of the Year. Overcome with shock, Winehouse embraced band members and her parents, thanking them while also offering up her second shout-out of the night to locked-up husband Blake Fielder-Civil .

“For my Blake incarcerated, and for London! This is for London!” Winehouse emotionally proclaimed.

This success may be for her home city, but by all means, you can’t deny the British vocalist’s All-American comeback story.

DON’T WORRY – OTHER ARTISTS WON TOO

– Prior to the show’s start, Kanye West already coroneted himself a Grammy winner. Yet, for the third time, the Album of the Year Grammy escaped him, awarded to jazz musician Herbie Hancock.

Despite this, West still stole and extended the spotlight. While accepting his Grammy for Best Rap Album, producers began to play the “wrap-up” music right before the Chicago-rapper entered into a tribute to his mother. West politely asked the Academy to kill the music, and they obliged.

Kanye also paid homage to his late mother, Dr. Donda West, earlier in the night with his performance of Hey Mama. West won four Grammys.

– Vince Gill earned himself a little street-cred Sunday night. After receiving the Best Country Album Grammy from Beatle-legend Ringo Starr, Gill offered up the following on stage:

“I just got an award given to me by a Beatle,” gleamed Gill. “Have you had that happen yet Kanye?”

West smiled it off. After all, no egos would be injured in the production of this awards show.

– Reading’s Taylor Swift appeared in her first Grammy’s, presenting an award and losing Best New Artist to Winehouse.

amy winehouse kills it!