Since her death in 2011, few have come close to matching Amy Winehouse’s musical genius. She was a prolific artist who recorded a huge catalogue of work - and we certainly feel she was taken long before her time.
However, fans of the icon will be overjoyed to learn that a lost demo recorded before she hit the big time has been released on YouTube by a London producer.
Called ‘My Own Way,’ the three-minute-37-second song is stunningly beautiful, and captures the jazz-funk spirit that would eventually bring her universal critical acclaim and millions of fans around the world.
The song, recorded two years before Amy signed to Island Records in 2003, was found recently by composer and musician Gil Cang. Cang, who runs the Tuff Scout reggae label, co-wrote it with James McMillan. He says Amy recorded the track as part of a demo she was making to try to persuade record companies to sign her.
Cang told the Camden New Journal that Amy, then 17, walked into his studio wearing a pair of jeans with ‘Sinatra Is God’ written in black marker across the bum – and that she recorded the track faultlessly in just three takes.
He said: “We were struck immediately by her talent – it was a real jaw on the floor moment. We were like wow, yes.”
He added: “When we first spoke, she liked the same sort of thing as us – we chatted about reggae, ska, ‘60s female groups. When you record with someone for a day or two you have to get the right sound very quickly and Amy knew what we wanted. I always think how I would have loved to produce more of her music – she was properly amazing to work with.
“I’ve had it knocking about for so long. I found it again last week and thought – I’ll put it out there so people could hear it.”
Cang wrote alongside the video on YouTube: “This is a song demo that I and James McMillan wrote with Amy back in the day that we love and want the world to be able to hear as it was never released.”
Fans immediately fell in love with it.
Eben Watford said: “Amazing to hear her voice again.”
Dumitru Dorian added: “Thank you SO MUCH for posting this!!”
This isn’t the first time uncovered Amy Winehouse music has been released. Universal released a posthumous album of B-sides and covers called Lioness: Hidden Treasures in 2011. However, the album wasn’t well received, so Universal UK CEO David Joseph destroyed the remainder of Winehouse’s unfinished demos.
“It was a moral thing,” Joseph told the Guardian in 2015. “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.”
But this YouTube track proves there might be more hidden Amy Winehouse gems out there. We can dream.
P.S. One little-known clip that always brings me joy is Amy singing ‘Tenderly’ on Jools Holland: