By Nehru Odeh
Amy Winehouse, British singer and multiple Grammy award winner did not just die of alcohol addiction at 27 as many erroneously believe. There is more to it than meets the eye.
This is what Tyler James, the singer’s best friend from the age of 13 has pointed out in his new book, My Amy, billed to be released by Pan Macmillan on 10 June, 10 years after Amy died. And he has many probing questions for the music industry in the UK.
James has come out to say with searing honesty that while Amy’s addiction to alcohol may have been the immediate cause of her death, what really led to her death was the pressure under which her management and the music industry put her
According to James, Amy’s management team forced her to undertake a 12- day tour of Europe, even “when barely conscious”. Not only was the tour a disaster, that was the beginning of her journey to death because barely after a month after she died.
James said, in a prose style that is as clear as crystal that Amy was so delirious and weak that she had to be helped on to the plane to embark on the tour. And not only that, they also helped her up the steel steps behind the stage so that she could sing her hit song, Rehab. But it was a flop, as Amy later cancelled the tour and flew back to London, where she died of alcohol poisoning the following month.
“A sick girl was thrown in at the deep end and everyone watched her drown in front of their eyes. That footage went all over the world and made Amy look like nothing but a mess. I hated everyone for it. Six days before, she had been perfectly normal,” James wrote.
In that book, Amy cuts a picture of a girl who wanted to live a normal life, devoid of fame, marry and raise a family even though she was struggling with alcohol addiction. But many things conspired to stampede her to death: fame, the alcohol she must consume in order to sing, the social pressure that fame brought and, above all, her management team’s insidious plans to make capital out of her, even when she was barely conscious. Amy wanted to live but fame and her management didn’t help her. And James believe her management team has some questions to answer.