SHOCKED Tramlines music festival stars today spoke of their sadness as they paid tribute to singer Amy Winehouse, who has died - aged 27.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report and tributes backstage at the music festival Main Stage in Devonshire Green.
Amongst the names paying tribute were Grammy award-winning producer Eliot Kennedy, Hallam FM’s Breakfast show presenter Big John, American singer Josh Radin and former Fame Academy star Alistair Griffin.
Back To Black singer Winehouse was found dead at her flat and news flashed around the Tramlines event late afternoon.
Sources said initial signs suggested her death could be related to drink or drugs. She had been troubled by such problems throughout her career.
The tragic star was discovered at the property in Camden, north London, by emergency services just before 4pm on Saturday.
Song king Eliot, who has produced hits for everyone from Take That to The Spice Girls, knew Winehouse as a mutual friend of his song-writing pal Bryan Adams - who had tried to help repair her damaged lifestyle, he revealed.
He said: “Bryan really looked out for her at one point. He invited her down to his house in the Caribbean to try to help her remember just how great life is. Bryan is very much like that. So I had a couple of occasions when I was able to say hello to her and introduce myself as a friend of Bryan’s. She was charming and had great life in her. But unfortunately a lot of people thought it would end in tears. It’s just dreadful news.
“It’s absolutely tragic. It’s easy to use that word when you hear a life like that being extinguished so young, but I had the fortune of meeting her a couple of times and we had a mutual friend in Bryan Adams.
“I hope she’s going to be remembered for her voice. She changed a lot of what people considered to be a soul singer. She was a contemporary artiste who brought soul music back onto the radio again. And a lot of vocalists, young girls, owe a lot to her right now for paving the way for them. I think one of them is here. I think Pixie Lott would have to say that as well.
“To get on the radio as a young girl, with that kind of soul voice - I’d like to think she’s going to be remembered for that. Unfortunately the papers will remember her for the shocking stuff and all the rest of it.
“She was recording again and I think a lot of people were dying to hear the next record and where she was going to go, what they were going to do with her and song wise. So many great songs in such a short amount of time that influenced radio, it changed radio. They weren’t playing soul music and Amy’s voice changed all that. So it’s beyond tragic. She’s so young, talented and had so much more to give us.”
Big John, Hallam FM’s Breakfast Show presenter and Tramlines Main Stage presenter on Saturday, recalled how he interviewed her when she did a live lounge set at Hallam FM a few years ago.
“She was just an incredible talent., Everybody from the radio station came down to see her do an acoustic set. It was just her and a guitar. She was playing the guitar, completely on her own and stopped everyone dead in the room. It’s shocking news that she’s gone,’’ he said.
“And gone before she even got a chance to do possibly her greatest work.
“The honest truth of it, she is going to be remembered for the trouble she has had - that has made the news.
“But if you think back to the amazing albums she’s had and the songs she’s put out, plus her performance - just incredible. I hope people can forgive her for the life she’s led in the last few years and just remember her as an incredible artiste.
Joshua Radin, the American singer songwriter, said: “I hope everyone remembers her for her music and not her personal life because she was such a talent. It’s a tragic loss today, for sure.”
TV’s Fame Academy runner up Alistair Griffin added: “Most people will remember her for her music but there is unfortunately a darker side and sometimes the darker side feeds the music. If you look at some of her greatest songs there is certainly a dark side in them. I look at it on a human level. It’s just a 27-year-old girl who is no longer here and that’s sad.”
Troubled artist Winehouse cancelled all tour dates and engagements last month after a series of erratic public appearances.On Wednesday night, she joined her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, on stage at The Roundhouse in Camden.
London Ambulance Service said it was called to Winehouse’s home in Camden Square at 3.54pm on Saturday.Two ambulance crews arrived at the scene within five minutes and a cycle responder also attended, according to a spokeswoman. She added:”Sadly the patient had died.”
A section of the road where the singer lived remained cordoned off on Saturday, while journalists, local residents and fans gathered at the police tapes. Forensic officers were seen going in and out of the building andfans began to lay flowers at the edge of the police cordon.
A black private ambulance pulled up outside the house at around 8.45pm. Officials bearing a red body bag emerged from the building minutes later.
Winehouse’s father, Mitch, is understood to be returning to the UK from New York. A spokesman for the late singer said: “Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The family will issue a statement when ready.”
One of the singer’s immediate neighbours said he is convinced she died in the early hours of Friday because he heard screaming. He said:”I think something happened that night. It sounded like some weird sexual game. There was screaming and howling.”
The man, who would not be named, said he was woken by the sound at around 2am that night. He added: “It just sounded really weird and my son said he heard some kind of drum beating.”