Popular singer Amy Jade Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment today. The troubled artist struggled with drug addiction and alcohol abuse, but the cause of her death is still unknown. She was only 27-years-old.
While her stardom surged in 2003, her drug addiction caused many setbacks and stalled her short-lived career. Her tragic and sudden death has rocked the music industry, as once again, another promising and talented artist, loses their life to addiction.
Winehouse broke into the music industry back in 2003, with her critically acclaimed debut album, Frank. It was so successful in the UK, that is was nominated for the Mercury Prize. But her follow-up album in 2006, Back to Black put her on the map in the U.S. and around the world. Back to Black was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning five of the six. This was a huge accomplishment for a British singer; during that year she tied the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night and also made her the first British singer to win five Grammy’s. She was awarded top honors for Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Sadly enough, her song “Rehab” was what propelled her into the spotlight, but it was somewhere she failed to find success.
It is sad to hear of another death of a talented singer, especially considering it is probably due to heavy drug use. While the record industry pushes their artists hard, they should follow the same guidelines as most other employers. When will they start mandatory drug and addiction rehab programs to help these troubled stars. Most other employers require worker’s with addiction to check into a rehab center when in need, why are the record labels exempt? With so many people around them helping with their careers, why can’t they assist artists when they clearly need help with addiction? Don’t the record executives see, if they die they cannot make more hits?
Betty Ford opened a treatment clinic, but maybe some other star in the music industry needs to join in and establish a center for singers? How many more talented artists need to die before they find a solution?
Many are now calling her death “the curse of 27”, since many other young artists and music industry favorites, also died at that same age. They include Brian Jones (founder of the Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. Does death at this age have some sort of meaning?
Update 7/25/11: Amy Winehouse will be buried tomorrow.