Looking back: Amy Winehouse talks with CNN in 2007
July 25th, 2011
12:20 PM ET

Looking back: Amy Winehouse talks with CNN in 2007

In March 2007, as Amy Winehouse's acclaimed album "Back to Black" found its way to U.S. shores, CNN's Doug Hyde spoke with the late singer at length about her music, the reports surrounding her alcohol use and what she had planned for her next album.

As fans, her family and the music industry continues to mourn the talented songstress, who died in London Saturday at the age of 27, we've unearthed the transcript from the candid conversation.

Read on after the jump:

DH: Well, like I was telling you, I really enjoyed this album, and I love '60s music, so I really loved it, but I'm wondering did anybody try to talk you out of doing that sound, [saying] "Oh, that's too old fashioned, or people won't buy it?" What was the initial response?

AW: I don't know. I mean, I made an album before this one. This is my second album. So I guess from being around the block people know I don't really do what I'm told to do. Or that I don't really care enough about what people think of me to conform to anything.

DH: And what is it about that music that touches you and makes you want to do it in that style?

AW: I just really like that '60s girl group thing. Where they're very all or nothing. They're very dramatic and...do you want me tell them to shut up? [Referring to the racket in the background as we're trying to do the interview...someone in the background quiets them down.]

DH: You were saying what it is you loved about the music...

AW: I love the '60s thing just because it's so naive and innocent. And dramatic. It's that mentality of, "I love that boy with dirty hair who rides a motorbike and even if he doesn't love me back, I'll still lie in the road for him 'cause I love him. Ya know what I mean? It's very all or nothing. I like that. I like that mentality.

DH: And did you discover this [music] recently or was this something your parents would play in the house, and you listened to it growing up?

AW: No, I guess around the time just before I was making the record, I would go play pool in bars and stuff and I guess it's all jukebox music really. Yeah.

DH: And what's it like for you coming here to the States? In a sense, you've got a clean slate, you're introducing yourself to a whole bunch of people and there's no history. It's a fresh start. How are you finding it?

AW: It's fun. It's really nice. I love playing gigs. I love playing gigs everywhere. So it's nice to be here.

DH: I suppose back in Britain, you're written about in the tabloids and all this sort of thing but over here in the States, it's mainly, it's all about your music and there's a little paragraph at the end that says, "Oh, by the way, all this stuff has been written about her." What do you make of all this? This coverage about your drinking and that sort of thing?

AW: It's fine. It doesn't bother me.

DH: Do you feel like you're in a calmer phase now? That some of the drama has gone out of your life?

AW: (makes a face) Yes, I guess so. Whatever.

DH: It seems like you can't create good music without some drama in your life, right?

AW: It would seem not. (smiles)

DH: What is the next album going to sound like? Will it be similar to this one?

AW: Yeah, I've still got a bunch of stuff left over from this album. So I guess it'll be that kind of stuff. It'll be more of the same, I guess. More kind of '60s torch songs.

DH: Is that going to come out later this year?

AW: I haven't even started it yet. I don't know when I'll get time to. But hopefully, it won't be too long.

DH: Now I definitely want to ask you about the songs. I was wondering if we could get you to talk a little about each one. There's a song, "Love is a Losing Game," which I like. And I love the lyric, "Over futile odds and laughed at by the Gods and now the final frame, love is a losing game." And I think that's just a very beautiful thought.

AW: Thank you.

DH: What inspired that? And it certainly sounds like a song one of the great torch singers of the past would sing.

AW: Thanks. I was in a relationship. I'd finished a relationship and I just thought even though I'd fallen in love I hadn't really come out of it... (pauses) I don't know, I guess it's a weakness, isn't it? It's a weakness.

DH: And of course, "Rehab" is the first single. And what's the story, and who was trying to get you into rehab and why wouldn't you go, go, go?

AW: I had about a year and a half off and I was drinking a lot. Not anything terrible, I was just trying to forget about the fact that I had finished this relationship and my management at the time thought I was... well, I wasn't working so I didn't see them a lot, they just kind of stepped in and thought they were being the good guys by stepping in and just strong-arming me into a rehabilitation center, but I just didn't really need it. I knew I was in love and you know...

DH: And you're obviously skeptical about rehab. Here in the States we get all these headlines about Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and all these people going into rehab. What do you make of all that? Do you think rehab works?

AW: I've never been. I wouldn't know. I guess to each their own.

DH: Are you skeptical about it in general or just feel it isn't for you?

AW: No, I just...I've never been. I wouldn't know. It must work for some people.

DH: Another song: "Tears Dry on Their Own." [Quoting the lyric] "Even if I stop wanting you, and perspective pushes through, I'll be some next man's other woman soon." That's a woman who knows who she is and there's no changing her.

AW: Yeah. "Tears Dry [on Their Own]" is about being in a relationship that you know can't work out whatever happens. So even though you're upset, you know you'll get over it very quickly.

DH: "Back to Black" - was that inspired by The Supremes? That sort of sound.

AW: Not at all. No not really. "Back to Black" is about being in a relationship, that when it's finished you go back to what you know. Except I wasn't working, so I couldn't throw myself back into work. And the guy I was seeing went back to his ex-girlfriend... I didn't really have anything to go back to. So I guess I went back to a very black few months, doing silly things. As you do, when you're 22 and in love.

DH: I was wondering if Slick Rick has contacted you about being referenced in "Mr. Jones."

AW: No. Not at all.

DH: A lot of these songs sound true to life.

AW: They are.

DH: In "You Know I'm no Good," the scene where you're describing, you're in the bathroom and he sees the rug burns, that's all true?

AW: The whole album is autobiographical. I don't write songs because I want my voice to be heard or I want to be famous or any of that stuff. 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. Ya know what I mean?

DH: So it's kind of a consolation. The music consoles you and helps you get through the...

AW: Yeah, I guess so.

DH: Well, it's funny. This is on the Internet. (hands over paper) Your dressing room requests [food, wine, etc for her dressing room]. I think you're a woman of impeccable taste.

AW: This is for, I mean, there's 12 of us in the band.

DH: I know, I just think it shows you've got good taste. The Rioja [Spanish red wine], some of the other items on there. Isn't it funny that this kind of thing is floating out there around the Internet?

AW:  Yeah. The only thing I'm really that fussed about is the Jack Daniels. Is the Jack Daniels even there?

DH: I think it is. There's like 40 Marlboro Lights and some Courvoiser.

AW: Yeah.

DH: And the band only likes hot pizza.

AW: (laughs) I don't see the Jack Daniels. I guess the Jack Daniels is the only thing that's important. (smiles) It's not even there.

DH: Thank you so much.

AW: Thank you.

DH: I'm looking forward to seeing your show tonight.

AW: Thanks, Doug. I really hope you enjoy it.


soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. MARY

    WHITE GIRL WITH A SOULFUL VOICE....I NEVER KNEW.....RIP AMY

    July 27, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. MARY

    I NEVER PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO HER OR HER MUSIC ,BUT AFTER READING ABOUT HER DEAF AND HOW GOOD EVERYONE SAID SHE WAS I WENT UP ON YOUTUBE TO CHECK HER MUSIC OUT.....WOOOOW..SHE HAS A AMAZING VOICE. RIP AMY

    July 27, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. RC

    In Minneapolis on Saturday night 7/23/11, U2's lead singer dedicated the song Stuck in a Moment to Amy Winehouse. It was originally written for Michael Hutchence after his drug and thrill induced death. Bono discretely said that the song was written as a conversation to try and bring Hutchence back. Now, it is sung for Amy Winehouse too. She was a flash and not the level of star of Hutchence, but Bono's small tribute to her was touching.

    July 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      So Michael Hutchence was that great of a talent? I liked INXS alright, but never thought they were superstars. Where are their (or his, in particular) Grammy awards? Amy got FIVE in one year! I didn't think Amy was the greatest female performer of all time, but I hardly think it's appropriate to flaunt someone else's supposed talent when referring to an online article about another performer who has died. Give her some credit for making millions of listeners happy, Let her have just a few days of admiration from her fans. What you have done is in poor taste.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rock

    ...and we're done here

    July 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. charlie crack

    @ms fernace- left you, @prezpeace, @BV and @mad a note on "ahead of curve blog"...have good day ..be good

    July 26, 2011 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hollyworld

    Soon to be released Any Winehouse's last inteview was on the Stone & Digital Dave show.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1h0zxzNzkc&w=640&h=390]

    July 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Angelique

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO6TTBRkdHc&w=425&h=349]

    July 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    Pathetic jokes! If y'all were on stage, you'd hear this: Booooo, put it on, put it back on! So I'll do the voice-of-reason post! What I get from this interview is that she's not really interested in analyzing her work! She seems tired, a bit apathetic! Also, as she says the JD is the most important! Alcohol kills, ya know!!

    July 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. turtlesnot

    that was some really good trolling. real offensive stuff. seems like it woulda got comments from someone. oh wait. i guess it did get comments from me.

    July 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thedman

    I bet they are all having a big weeenie pull right about now. Poor Satan is laughing and saying nooo noooo nooooo when her hears amys horrible voice.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cartman

    And baby Caylee is dancing around as they sing ! They are having a big time down there !

    July 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. turkleduv

    Maybe michael jackson is joining in with her singing a duet. About molesterrrinng and drruugz.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. turkleduv

    Just think. Right now she is down there in heck singing in that gosh awful voice to Hitler and Princess Diana and Liz Taylor and Satan.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJ Shaw

      You put Princess Dianna in with the likes of Hitler? Did YOU forget your medication today? Perhaps you should hurry into the bathroom and take a double dose.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      . . . and all are just waiting for you to join them. Odd that you put Princess Diana in with that lot . . . someone who did more in a short span of time FOR OTHERS than you'll probably ever do in your pathetic, self-absorbed lifetime.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. @willie

    Paris Hilton or Lilo, are real cebrities ? Bahahahahahahahaha!!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    Sad....

    July 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  16. dogmoo

    she sure couldnt sing. my hamster sings much better.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Bubba

    Now the record company execs make a bundle off her, and she dead.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  18. willie

    We are sorry she is gone but my goodness. She is gone. Its not like Paris Hylton or Lindsay Lohan or a real celebrity went away. I could see all the articles maybe even if it was someone well known like Snooki. But amy winehouse? come on. . . . she is just some lady who sang throgh her nose all whiny like.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nerd

      Who would say something like that...."ts not like Paris Hylton or Lindsay Lohan or a real celebrity went awa" What makes them so special...nothing thats what....Amy spoke to millions of fans through her songs....we look at her music carrer not her life....Think before you make comments like that.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What a stupid, insensitive thing to write! If you're not a fan, why were you looking at this story to begin with? That you would even take the time to condemn surpasses reason . . . maybe just to get a rise from someone like me? Don't be so full of yourself to think that your opinion matters that much in this world.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |

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