Music

Amy’s Yard – ‘I can push through and find a way’.

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As part of our fifth birthday celebrations, the NME spoke with two graduates from our Amy’s Yard programme.

Over a 12 week period, our programme provides vulnerable 18 to 25-year-old artists with the skills to become self-sustaining musicians, and the participants – who can be dealing with a variety of issues such as homelessness, mental health, unemployment or substance misuse – leave the course as self-sufficient artists.

You can find out just what an opportunity that was for graduates Shamus and Kenan, over at the NME’s website.

A gift for musical children

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AMY WINEHOUSE’S MUSICAL LEGACY ENABLES CHILDREN TO FIND A ‘NEW VOICE’ Children at The London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy are all set to make sweet music this year thanks to a £7,450 grant from the Amy Winehouse Foundation for music therapy sessions. Amy’s parents, Mitch Winehouse and Janis Winehouse-Collins, came with other Trustees from the Foundation to the Centre on Wednesday 20 April to present their grant cheque. Mitch and Janis also brought a new keyboard and stand as a personal gift to the children.

Children at The London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy are finding a ‘new voice’ with music thanks to a new therapy programme set up in Amy’s name.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation is proud to have given a £7,450 grant to the centre, which is based in Muswell Hill in North London. This grant will pay for music therapy sessions which help to improve wellbeing and communication among the children who take part.

Jo Honigmann, LCCCP chief executive, said:

“This is our third year of providing music therapy to pupils at our school, thanks to the Foundation’s generosity. In January we also introduced sessions for toddlers and young children who attend our Early Intervention Services because music therapy at an early age can make a positive impact on children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development. ”

Guided by music therapist Ruth Hunston, the children improvise on instruments and take part in structured musical activities, including singing and song-writing.

Jane Winehouse, Managing Trustee at the Amy Winehouse Foundation, said:

“The Foundation is very proud to be continuing Amy’s legacy through the music therapy at LCCCP. Some of the children are unable to communicate verbally due to their disability, but music helps them connect to the world around them. We have seen the joy on the children’s faces when they engage through music and we have heard from both parents and teachers just how important this is to the children’s development.

We are particularly please to have been able to extend the programme further this year by also providing sessions for toddlers and younger children’.

Amy’s Yard Vocal Coaching Master Class

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During week four of the latest Amy’s Yard cohort the group had a vocal coaching master class with singer & Songwriter, Klara Kjellen. Here the young singers, rappers and producers learnt various vocal techniques and breathing exercises which they can now put into practice every time they perform!

Lioness: Hidden Treasures

Music

Today it’s been announced that on the 5th December, “Lioness: Hidden Treasures”, the third album from Amy Winehouse, without question one of the most talented, original, and best loved artists to emerge in popular music for decades, will be released through Island Records.

Following her tragic passing in July, some of the producers and musicians who worked closely with Amy Winehouse, among them Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, spent time listening over the many recordings that Amy had made, before, during, and after the release of “Frank” and “Back To Black”. It was said by all who worked with Amy that she never sang or played a song the same way twice. It quickly became apparent to Salaam and Mark that they had a collection of songs that deserved to be heard, a collection of songs that were a fitting testament to Amy the artist and, as importantly, Amy their friend.

The 12 track collection features previously unreleased tracks, alternate versions of existing classics as well as a couple of brand new Amy compositions, and has been compiled by long-time musical partners Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson in close association with Amy’s family, management and record label Island Records. “Lioness : Hidden Treasures” proves a fitting tribute to the artist, the talent and the woman and serves as a reminder of Amy’s extraordinary powers as a songwriter, a singer and an interpreter of classics.

The full tracklisting is as follows:

  • “Our Day Will Come (Reggae Version)” – reggae re-working of classic 60’s doo wop song produced by Salaam Remi. Recorded May 2002.
  • “Between The Cheats” – new Amy composition recorded in London in May 2008 for potential inclusion on album three produced by Salaam Remi.
  • “Tears Dry” – originally written by Amy as a ballad, this is the original version she recorded in November 2005 in Miami with Salaam. The later uptempo version appears on “Back To Black”.
  • “Wake Up Alone” – the first song recorded for the “Back To Black” sessions. This is the one-take demo recorded in March 2006 by Paul O’Duffy.
  • “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” – Amy’s beautiful reading of the Carole King written Shirelles classic. Produced by Mark Ronson and featuring the Dap Kings with string arrangements by Chris Elliott who did all the strings for Mark’s tracks on “Back To Black”. Recorded in September 2004.
  • “Valerie” – one of Amy’s jukebox favourites. This is the original slower tempo version of the Mark Ronson produced post “Back To Black” single. Recorded in December 2006.
  • “Like Smoke” featuring NAS – Amy and Nas became really good friends after Amy name checked the New York rapper on “Back To Black’s” “Me & Mr Jones”. “Like Smoke” is finally Amy doing a song with one of her favourite artists. Produced by Salaam Remi. Recorded in May 2008.
  • “The Girl From Ipanema” – the first song the 18 year old Amy sang when she first went to Miami to record with Salaam. Salaam remarked that “the way she re-interpreted this bossa nova classic made me realise that I was dealing with a very special talent. Her approach to the song was so young and fresh, it really inspired the rest of our sessions.” Recorded in May 2002.
  • “Halftime” – Amy had talked to Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson of the Roots about working together. “Halftime” is a song that Amy and Salaam had worked on since the Frank sessions. The result is beautiful. Recorded in August 2002.
  • “Best Friends” – “Frank” era live set opener produced by Salaam Remi. Probably the first song that early Amy fans would have heard live. Recorded in February 2003.
  • “Body & Soul” with Tony Bennett – cover of 30’s jazz standard with hero Tony Bennett. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios London in March 2011 and produced by Phil Ramone. Amy’s final studio recording.
  • “A Song For You” – heartbreaking and emotional version of the Leon Russell classic made famous by Donny Hathaway. Hathaway was Amy’s all-time favourite artist and the song was recorded in one take, just Amy and her guitar, at her home in London during the spring of 2009 as she battled her demons. Produced by Salaam Remi.

Body and Soul

Music

Amy’s final recording, a duet with her hero Tony Bennett titled “Body and Soul”, was released by Columbia Records on Wednesday 14th September 2011, on what would have been Amy’s 28th birthday, in aid of the Amy Winehouse Foundation. The song was recorded in March of 2011 at Abbey Road Studios in London for Tony Bennett’s Duets II album.

You can watch clips of the video of Amy and Tony singing ‘Body & Soul’ along with an interview of Amy here.