Image: Jonothan Van Der Knaap (Supplied)

Love Letter To A Record: Stellie On Amy Winehouse’s ‘Frank’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter To A Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share stories about how the music they love has influenced their lives.

Adelaide based singer-songwriter Stellie released the new single, ‘Violet Girl’, in May 2022. Stellie will perform ‘Violet Girl’ and previous singles, ‘How Do We Look So Good’, ‘22 Pieces’ and ‘Bullet Through The Heart’, on her national headline tour this August. Stellie pens a love letter to one of her favourite albums, Frank by Amy Winehouse.

Stellie on ‘Frank’ by Amy Winehouse

I was introduced to Amy Winehouse pretty late in the game, I think. I obviously knew of her big hits like ‘Valerie’ or ‘Back To Black’, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of her. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I discovered Frank and instantly fell in love.

I studied quite a bit of jazz in high school and for a long time I really didn’t enjoy it, until this album changed my mind. Frank is unapologetically a jazz album and Amy Winehouse hands down made jazz more accessible to such a wider audience through this record.

I have such vivid memories walking through the school halls with my headphones in listening to ‘Fuck Me Pumps’ or ‘Take The Box’, thinking or wishing I was in a smoky jazz club on the Upper West Side. Her lyrics are so pure and raw – it’s literally like you’ve opened up her diary and started reading it aloud to yourself – and her voice is just one in a million.

Jazz gives you the power to be so emotive not only through your lyrics, but through the way you sing. You can close your eyes and feel the emotion leaking through the speakers. It was also thanks to this record that I discovered a love for powerful females such as Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, who were the ultimate storytellers right from the very start.

I tried to mimic the Amy way of writing with my own songwriting quite early on in my music journey, and it made such a difference. It just felt more real and authentic. I still to this day when I’m writing tell myself, “What would Amy Do?”

For me, the standout track from this record is ‘I Heard Love is Blind’. It’s the perfect combination of bitter love and sadness, but it’s also just so witty and playful. The score is so simple too; pretty much just a guitar, trumpet and some drums. But that’s all it needed. The vocal delivery and lyrics are powerful enough to stand alone, and that’s what Amy did best.

Long live Amy Winehouse,

Love Stellie x

Get tickets to Stellie’s ‘Violet Girl’ national tour here.

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