I mostly listen to Christian music, but this weekend I saw the eye-catching headlines that Amy Winehouse recently was found dead in her London home, for unexplained causes (an autopsy is being performed). I’m not a news hound and I’d never even heard of her. She was a British singer-songwriter, who, according to Wikipedia, was known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz. Some find her very offensive because of her film history, her lifestyle, her addictions, and her music’s and videos’ sensual content, but her album Back to Black led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins. She was said to be a big influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and for revitalising British music.
I looked at a few pictures of her on the internet. Amy was beautiful and had coal-black hair; she borrowed her Beehive hairstyle and Cleopatra makeup from The Ronettes, a 1960’s girl group from New York. (Wikipedia) When she died, she was only 27 years old – just three years younger than our daughter Heather. The prime of her life. It is incredibly sad.
While I don’t subscribe to celebrity magazines or even often read news about celebrities, ever since I was little I’ve always had an interest in their lives -I suppose because their lavish lifestyle is intriguing and so far removed from my own ordinary lifestyle. I‘ve especially always had a fascination with famous, successful people whose fate was met suddenly by a premature, tragic death. It’s made me wonder: WHY did they die, especially when they seemed on the pinnacle of their career, the moment of their greatness?
Apparently Amy led a very troubled life, struggling with drug addiction, drinking, self-mutilation, eating disorders, and violent mood swings. This kind of lifestyle isn’t atypical for gifted, very successful musicians and celebrities. Nor are their untimely deaths unusual. We’ve seen it time and again – Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Margaux Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, and most recently Michael Jackson.
We look at their lives from afar, often with blatant curiosity, awe, disgust, and even envy at times. We sometimes think that having millions of dollars like these celebrities have made will solve all of life’s problems and will make us happy. But that isn’t true.
There is nothing wrong with being prosperous or becoming famous. God wants to bless His people financially – to further His kingdom. It takes money to run ministries and to take the gospel to the nations. But without an intimate relationship with God there is no life and there is no fulfillment or true happiness. Without Him there’s a deep, dark hole and void inside of us. We are all searching for something from the time we are born. We try to fill it with many things. But that emptiness and longing is only filled through a relationship with our Creator, and we receive and develop that relationship through a faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you know the God who made you? We will all meet Him one day face to face. Are you ready? I wonder and grieve, did Amy know Him? 27 years old. So young! She’s now gone.
After I read the news of Amy, I googled about her and then went on YouTube to hear her music. Even if you and I don’t agree with her lifestyle or even her style of music, there is no doubt that she had an amazing gift and talent from God for writing and singing. Here is her award-winning song, Back To Black. It is eerily prophetic of her early death with its lyrics, “I died a 100 times.”
My prayers are with Amy’s family and friends.
What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.
DISCLAIMER: You may not want your children or teens to view this video. This video is NOT G-rated (family-friendly) and its lyrics may be offensive to some. The lyrics contain one very sexually-explicit line at the beginning of the song and other lyrics that reference drugs. Amy was not known for dressing modestly, either. But this is the real world we live in today, and that our children and our grandchildren live in. I share the video simply to let you hear the gift which God put inside this woman that, so sadly, could have been used in a great way for God’s glory…and her life was tragically cut short by the enemy.
Video – Amy Winehouse – Back To Black