On July 23, 2011, the world lost one of the greatest singer-lyricist of our time, Amy Winehouse.
Soul, jazz, R&B and hip hop, Winehouse infused it all with her own unique sound. But who influenced Winehouse’s music? Over the next few days TWM will look at the artists whose influence can be seen in her life and work. Chaka V.
The name Mahalia Jackson has taken on a near mythical status amongst singers, music lovers and within the gospel genre.
She was called, “The Queen of Gospel.” Her powerful soul stirring vocals could shake people ─ and the church itself ─ from its roots. And somehow her black Southern spirituals transcended racial, political and social barriers of the time to reach deeply into the hearts and consciences of those who heard it.
She was the first African-American (man or woman) to sing in many venues once designated as “whites only.” And the civil rights movement was profoundly aided by her resolute faith and ability/gift to motivate, uplift and bring peace to a crucial, and at times hopeless, political and social struggle.
Amy Winehouse said it beautifully when she described the impact Jackson (and Aretha Franklin – another legend) had on her as an artist.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin,” explained Winehouse in Amy Winehouse -The Day She Came to Dingle. “I love gospel, because gospel is so truthful. You know, I’m not religious, but there is nothing more pure than the relationship you have with your God – there is nothing stronger than that apart from your love of music.”
Jackson once said, “That spotlight doesn’t stay on forever.” Thankfully, music created from the soul does.