Amy Winehouse.

by Tim Soter

May 9, 2007   Highline Ballroom, NYC

I got a call a few years ago from Courtenay Kendall at Time Out New York. “Hey, we want you to go shoot this singer, she’s kind of becoming big… ” (I hadn’t heard of her) “… and we want it to be shot from the audience’s perspective.”  I think the gist was, Cool Venues to Go To! or something like that.  Fine with me, I love more environment, what does a cropped head and a microphone tell you anyway?  Ambient light, a fast fixed 28mm lens – perfect.

Winehouse came out and took over.  I’ve had this experience so many times in New York; I’m seeing someone perform who is adored by many (or on their way there) and I’m being introduced to their sound by way of seeing them play it all live.  And not just play it live but kill it.  She drank a half a pint in between songs but that night I clearly remember it seeming like it was effortless for her.  None of that fake warbling American Idol bullshit, she had talent and again no word sums it up better than… effortless.  This was a great time to hear her, on her first US tour doing a handful of dates, backed by the Dap-Kings and before any meltdowns or real drama.  One more treat thanks to photography.

And friendly photo editors.