amy: the legacy lives on
With the release of Amy, the documentary dedicated to the Back To Black singer, we visited Amy’s Yard, one of the projects run by the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up posthumously by the Winehouse family, which nurtures and encourages the talents of...
Amy Winehouse's sudden death at the age of 27 was a huge loss to music, to contemporary culture and most of all of course to those family and friends who loved her so dearly. While there has been much focus on Amy's life and death, little has been said about the legacy created by Amy's family after her death; the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up in 2011. Based in Amy's own studio, Amy's Yard has been an opportunity for countless young people previously unable to realise their talents because of a lack of access to opportunities and professional studio time.
In 2013, they founded a 12 week programme, Amy's Yard, an opportunity for young people to not only make music, but to develop transferable skills - confidence, team-work and employability. Working with partners like Key Changes, New Horizon, Raw Sounds, the Princes Trust and the Roundhouse, the studio now hosts vulnerable young people facing a variety of complex needs such as homelessness, mental health problems, unemployment or a history of offending. i-D has taken part in the programme, working with young people to develop their digital voices and create press biographies - and found a group of motivated, engaged, ambitious young people who have been waiting for an opportunity like Amy's Yard to finally make their voices heard.
We spoke to several participants and budding musicians from Amy's Yard to see how her legacy is helping to change their lives….
"To me personally, the Amy's Yard project means a whole lot more than just an opportunity for my music. To me, it's a chance to keep on keeping on and to continue to have an active lifestyle through music and otherwise.
I continue to be a big fan of Amy's. I was a fan of her as an artist, but also I have always been fond of how she carried herself and to be honest it just felt nice to relate to another dark horse. Someone else shared my feelings of being an under dog or even of people saying, "You can't" or "You won't". Amy DID!!
It is this that I will take everywhere with me from Amy, as a constant reminder that you can! No matter what, where, when or how big your dreams are, you CAN achieve them. It was Amy that I first learned this from.
Now however, Amy has been a big part of my inspiration in wanting to help others. It is my number one goal to help people that have been in situations like the ones I had to suffer when I was younger, and on the whole, my future is looking towards helping young people get off the streets and into music. Amy did this!
The Amy Winehouse Foundation then, has put me into a position where I can continue to progress as an artist and a writer, continue to work with others in my musical situation and continue to gain the knowledge and experience needed to further my position in the Worldwide Music Industry. This to me, although being free to learn, is PRICELESS!!
Thank You to The Amy Winehouse Foundation!! I will be forever grateful to yourselves and the late, great Amy Winehouse!!"
Listen to MisteR LeeS here
"I will always be in love with Amy's voice, and I will always feel heartbroken too. I can't express how much she helped me with her music, and now how the Foundation is helping me too. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to really turn things around for myself and I feel very connected to Amy and the Foundation, from having similar struggles in my life and sharing similar influences in my music."
See more from Posey here
"I love Amy because the galaxy told me she was a Virgo and I always get on with women who are from that Zodiac sign. I also loved her vibes, energy and what can I say about her amazing musical talent.
I think me and her would of had a lot of fun.
'Sweet Dreams Super Star, I Wish I Met You. I Am Privileged To Be Working In Your Studio's and being a part of the Amy's Yard Programme. May Your Sprit Run Free Now But Please Do Say Hello To Me When You Can.
Listen to Jhordan here
"Being part of the Amy Winehouse Foundation has been really useful for me and the development of my passion for music. I have been given an incredible opportunity to gain more experience from some of the UK's music industry greats, which if it wasn't for the Foundation I wouldn't have. I am also very grateful to be surrounded by a great group who support and encourage me to do my very best, be more professional and make it into the music business.
Through the Foundation, Amy lives on for sure."
"Amy Winehouse has been an inspiration to me, as her unique style and originality, as well as her endearing character, will always be loved by so many of us. She is a credit to music and will be remembered for her talent. Amy's Yard has been a great way for me to become more knowledgeable with music business and to develop myself as a music artist. I am currently working on a Ska/ Reggae track, with producer Urban Monk, where I will showcase my talent, as a passionate singer/rapper songwriter."
"I discovered Amy Winehouse quite late, despite singing along to Stronger Than Me and F*** Me Pumps from her debut album [Frank]. It wasn't until Back to Black that I was truly mesmerised by Amy's magic. I love every song on the album. Her honesty, timeless voice and raw soul set her aside from other artists. At a time where music was starting to sound all the same, Amy shined, she wasn't afraid to do things differently, strip the music back and truly tell a story. I really admired that. I grew up listening to a lot of American artists (Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Lauyrn Hill, Justin Timberlake and P!nk to name a few) and when aspiring to be an artist myself I didn't really have any British female artists to look up to. Amy Winehouse will always be an inspiration, she put Britain back on the musical map and paved the way for many British female artists such as Adele, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé and myself. It's so amazing to be a part of the Amy's Yard Programme, meeting current industry professionals from companies such as Island Records, Metropolis Music and MTV, making music in Amy's very own studio and gaining confidence in myself and my craft. I will never get to meet Amy but I feel so blessed to be around her team and loved ones, and be a small part of her legacy. Thank you Amy, rest in peace you classic, game-changing, precious lioness."
"The Amy Winehouse Foundation has been an eye-opening venture into the music industry.
Meeting professionals and experienced artists has been so helpful in giving me perspective into a world that I want to be a part of. It has created something that any aspiring artist would be proud to experience and I feel such gratitude for being able to take part."
Listen to Josh's music here
"The Amy Winehouse Foundation has helped me in so many different ways, it has taught me the importance of teamwork and in some ways, family. It has also been a place for me to conjure up my creativity inside and make music like never before due to the vibe and the atmosphere. Since I've been at Amys Yard I personally think my confidence has grown, I have also progressed as an artist because they encourage you to come out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn't normally do, and the fact that they actually care about you as an individual makes it 100 times better. Amy's Yard has given me drive and enthusiasm and has helped to network with other peers, I have also learned a great deal within a few master classes and I can't wait to see my progress at the end of the 12 week programme."
Listen to Lemario over on Soundcloud
"Amy Winehouse was a wonderful soul, I love her music, my favourite songs from her is Love Is A Losing Game, Put it In the Box and Stronger Than Me (especially the version she sang on Jools Holland). There's a lot I'm getting from the course, I have learnt about how to create an electronic press kit, which I had no idea about before. I was surprised and happy to be added to the course. It's really positive what the Amy Winehouse foundation does, and is a lovely way to honour Amy's legacy."
Listen to Maliek's music here
"Being the emotional being I am, I have to say the Foundation has actually helped me a lot. I suffered from depression all through my teenage years and it continued throughout the reminder of my time being alive but ever since I've been on this course - "AWF - my mind and attitude has been on a clear and vibrant path and I'm so much happier!
Music is my passion and without it, I don't know where I'd be!
Thank you Amy XX"
Donate £3 to the Amy Winehouse Foundation by texting AMY to 70007. Find out more about the Foundation here
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Bryan Adams and George Harvey