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10 years after her death, Amy Winehouse is still so important

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

There’s a now-famous clip of acoustic version of Amy Winehouse singing “Love Is a Losing Game.”

Winehouse, in what appears to be a recording booth, rings every emotional nuance from her song as she sings the lyrics: “Over futile odds/And laughed at by the gods/And now the final frame/Love is a losing game.”

As the music fades we hear Winehouse ask quietly, and seemingly sadly, “Is that alright?”

It’s a heartbreaking moment from a tremendously talented star who fell too quickly.

Friday July 23 marks the ten-year anniversary of Winehouse’s tragic passing. The singer was found dead of accidental alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 in her London home.

Winehouse’s music remains resonant a decade later, while her premature death serves as a cautionary tale about the toll of stardom — a conversation at the forefront as Britney Spears fights to regain control over her life and career.

The British singer with the cat-eye makeup and massive bouffant hairstyle was far from the first artist to die too soon.

Her passing, in fact, made her a part of a morbid group of stars known as “The 27 Club,” like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain before her who also died at age 27.

British singer Adele paid tribute to Winehouse at a concert in 2016 on what would have been the late singer’s 33rd birthday, reportedly crediting her success to Winehouse.

“I feel like I owe so much of my career to her,” Adele told the audience. “That first album, ‘Frank,’ it really changed my life.”

Winehouse actually led a wave of stateside success for British female singers like Duffy, Estelle, Lilly Allen and Leona Lewis.

But Winehouse never seemed to realize how inspirational or influential she was, instead mired in highly publicized personal and legal troubles.

Even after both she and her critically acclaimed 2006 “Back to Black” album won Grammys, there was still more media focus on her fights, arrests, rehab stints and tumultuous relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil (the pair would divorce in 2009) than her music.

All that attention was the exact opposite of what Winehouse wanted.

“I don’t write songs because I want my voice to be heard or I want to be famous or any of that stuff,” Winehouse told CNN in a 2007 interview. “I write songs about things I have problems with and I have to get past them and I have to make something good out of something bad.”

Tyler James, her best friend who met her when she 13 and he was 12, confirmed that during a recent interview with the UK show “This Morning” in an appearance to promote his new book “My Amy: The Life We Shared.”

“Amy hated being famous,” he said. “She said ‘Fame is like terminal cancer, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.'”

Her struggle to find herself in the midst of being a star is well documented in the 2015 documentary, “Amy,” which painted her as a pop star with a jazz soul who struggled with substance abuse.

A new documentary, “Reclaiming Amy,” marks the 10th anniversary of her death and is narrated by the singer’s mother, Janis Winehouse-Collins.

“It’s only looking back now that I realise how little we understood,” Winehouse-Collins, who has rarely spoken publicly about her daughter, says in the film. “She was prone to addiction, she could not stop herself. It’s a very cruel beast.”

Today, the Amy Winehouse Foundation provides resources for young people who may be struggling with substance abuse. A streaming concert featuring American artists Chris Daughtry, Ana Cristina Cash with John Carter Cash and Sweet Lizzy Project is set for Friday to raise funds for the foundation.

Founded by her family to both honor and further the singer’s legacy, the organization is just one way those who love her seek to do what Winehouse said she wanted to do with her music — transform tragedy into triumph.

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