The Slow Blackout of Amy Winehouse

How a troubled r&b mega-talent's breakout hit turned against her

A few hours before that L.A. show, I interviewed Amy in the lobby of West Hollywood's fabled Château Marmont, best known as the spot where John Belushi died. Her beehive and the omnipresent eyeliner looked slept-in. She was sweet and friendly, smiled broadly, and had downed two amaretto sours by 3 p.m. It didn't do much to put her at ease. She occasionally stuttered and rarely met my eyes. Girl didn't have stage fright—she had life fright. "I'm not too good about talking about myself," she admitted. She was only fully engaged when talking about music, especially jazz.

Amy in slightly more stable times
Amy in slightly more stable times

Toward the end of our conversation, she mentioned that she'd just broken up with a boyfriend. "I'm sorry," I said. "He got out of it easy," Amy muttered. "Trust me." She knew she was no good. I wanted to hug her. At Joe's Pub, I'd seen the future of r&b. Now I just hope Amy has a future, too.

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