The world lost an undeniable talent and a family lost their precious daughter when Amy Winehouse died in 2011 at age 27. Seven years later, the singer's influence remains strong to where us fans are grateful for any unreleased music that surfaces.
A London producer recently shared a previously unheard demo from Winehouse titled "My Own Way" that she recorded when she was just 17. Written by musician Gil Cang and co-composer James McMillan, the song was recorded in 2001 and was pushed in order to attract labels. "We'd been writing quite a lot of pop tunes, doing a lot of pop promos with various artists who would come in, many of various, dubious talent," Cang told the Camden New Journal. "It was at a particularly dire time in the pop world – lots of terrible, terrible girl bands and boy bands and we had to make something for them. Amy came in to see us, opened her mouth and just blew us all away."
Winehouse later signed to Island Records and released her two and only albums under them: 2003's Frank and 2006's Back to Black. Listening to "My Own Way" is a bittersweet moment, as it is yet another example of just how much Winehouse was ahead of her time. Despite being a teenager at the time, her voice is husky, raw and soulful—qualities that would later become her signature. The production itself is also timeless, fusing the singer's jazzy vocals with a laidback R&B groove and rap-inspired drums.
"My Own Way" is a rare insight of what fans could have expected from a posthumous album from Winehouse. But following her death, Universal Music executive David Joseph revealed she was actually in the process of recording a third album, but the recordings were destroyed. He told Billboard, "It was a moral thing. Taking a stem or a vocal is not something that would ever happen on my watch. It now can’t happen on anyone else’s.” Producer and friend Salaam Remi added, “She probably finished the writing process a few weeks before she passed. As far as I could see, we had 14 songs. Whatever needed to happen, it was right there." Now at least we have "My Own Way" as a musical moment we can cherish.
Below, bring it back to 2012 when Nas reflects on meeting Amy Winehouse for the first time: