Today marks the one-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s passing. Like many of her friends, family and fans, her sudden death was surprising to producer Salaam Remi. Remi, who has worked with Winehouse closely since her 2003 debut Frank, shared some good memories of her in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
In it, Remi tells the story of how Nas' “Cherry Wine” – the second posthumous collaboration between Winehouse – came together, explaining that she was influenced and inspired by him. He also touches on Winehouse’s inspiration to other aspiring singers and her impact in music today.
On producing "Cherry Wine" and its recording with Winehouse:
"It was all very fluid I had the drums up, was playing guitar and she's singing, it was just another day in the office for us. We'd done different versions of it over the last couple years when we kind of messed around with it, playing with it in different types of arrangements, but this version was always what felt right at the heart of our original inception.
"It was just clockwork. I was in London or Miami at the time, [Nas] wrote it and sent it back. But he understood it, just from getting at that chemistry… He could just listen to it and fall right into it in a way how that he explained the scenario totally matched what she was saying. It was chemistry, it all fell together, and it's a stand apart song. I'm a big believer in not tagging records by saying what it's supposed to be, but letting it be what it is and letting that magic happen because that's the magic that we can't explain."
On Winehouse's impact in music and how she inspires others:
"Over this last year of looking at Amy Winehouse and what's going on there, what I felt was that it wasn't even songs that she left behind. She left behind inspiration. She will inspire another generation and another set of people. She might have collectively 20 or 30 songs that she's released for her actual recording career but I feel that she inspired many other artists to now dig back into her artistry. She was inspired by Ms. Dynamite, by Ella Fitzgerald, by Donna Washington, by Lauren Hill, all these other things and people that she'd never met, and mashed it to make who she was. So now she will continue in that same idea of inspiring other people.
"I miss her. At the end of the day that's what it really comes down to. I'm shocked that it's already a year. I can also look back and say it was a long year since then. I just miss her. As far as her as a person, she just always had something smart to say. And you'd want to be like, 'You shouldn't have said that.' But then you've got to laugh because it was so funny. I miss her actually as a person. And musically, she still stands up there as one of the best to ever do what she's done."
[via The Hollywood Reporter]