In covering the overwhelming plethora of talent today, it’s easy to forget about the greats that paved the way for it all to exist as it does. Modern artists have the ability to freely express themselves without a second thought, all thanks to the individuals who were ruthlessly honest, indifferent to societal norms and passionately truthful in their artistry despite pressures to do otherwise. At the core of this sentiment we find a young girl from London with a voice that changed everything. She was unfiltered; she was fiery; she redefined what being an artist means, and she was gone all too soon.
Amy Winehouse, known for her astonishingly soulful vocals and jet black beehive, continues to inspire young singers to break out of the box and discuss real life issues– even when they’re not pretty. With great passion, sometimes great struggles come too, and the loss of Winehouse was a harrowing reminder that fame can be unkind. September 14 marks what would have been her 35th birthday, so we thought it was only right to celebrate. In honor of the Queen of Attitude and the absolute Master of Rasp, we’ve found six modern artists who draw inspiration from Amy and continue to keep the singer alive through their own music. Here are our Ones to Know if you love Amy Winehouse as much as we do.
To say that Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin is multidimensional would be an understatement. The model-turned-artist is a little bit R&B, a touch folk, and a dash electronica. And did we mention she speaks French? Her hybrid blend of musical elements is tied together by her birdlike vocal agility and timeless delivery. “Dirty Dirty” is a great track for anyone who loves Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger Than Me.”
North London duo GeeJay is piping hot. Their 2018 releases will stop you in your tracks with their addicting upbeat R&B sound and powerful melodies. Frontwoman Gina Jane’s vocals paired with Jacob Lobo on sax is a breathtaking combination. The amount of soul packed into to every line is ridiculous, complete with both fluttery vocal cracks and impossibly high belted notes. If you’ve listened through Amy Winehouse’s discography and are hankering for more, GeeJay is for you.
We’re slightly obsessed with Mahalia, and what can we say? She is the breakup playlist MVP. The Birmingham-based singer may only be 20, but she sings about the trenches of relationships with seasoned expertise. Her voice washes over the ear like warm gold, rich and glistening from start to finish. Her song “Sober” is a must for “Rehab” lovers, and touches on the all too relatable realization that you did, in fact, send that drunk text last night.
Clairo is a fresh-faced, dreamy songwriter with lo-fi vocals and a sound destined for heavily postered teen bedrooms. She went viral with her song “Flaming Hot Cheetos,” which has an accompanying video featuring people dancing in Cheeto costumes. Go ahead and take a moment to watch it (because how could you not after reading that?) Amy fans would love Clairo for her candid lyrics and laid-back sound, in addition to the fact that she does things completely her own way.
For those inspired by Amy Winehouse’s musicianship, Tash Sultana is a must. The Australian singer and multi-instrumentalist bases her sound in intricate jazz chords and, much like the late singer, walks the walk when it comes to knowing her music inside and out. Her vocal phrasing is also jazz-based, making her sultry delivery strikingly reminiscent of Winehouse. Sultana’s lyrics often delve into discussions of self-discovery, gathering inner strength and finding her place in the world. Listen to “Cigarettes” for a taste of Tash.
Australian songstress Cloves is open about the immense influence Amy Winehouse, Etta James and Fiona Apple have had on her sound. One listen to her unusual voice is an escape to a different place; the amount of soul behind every word is otherworldly. Her song “California Numb” is a refreshing perspective, as she sings of California’s wormhole effect, sucking people in and leaving them lost in the crowd. Give Cloves a listen when you need a double dose of sultry soul.