As I came back home after a pleasant afternoon walk all over hot, summery Manhattan I saw a Tweet on my smartphone posted by a friend of mine announcing that Amy Winehouse was found dead at 27… How terribly sad.

Every time I get news like this, delivered instantly via Twitter, Facebook or any other social media outlet within minutes of it being publicly announced, I realize what a different world I now live in.

The world in which I was born and which I lived in until only a few years ago, would have required me to turn on the television or radio, perhaps at a specific scheduled time to find out the news. With the web, perhaps it may have been somewhat faster as I may have been browsing the homepage of a portal after a scheduled news update… Many other people not as “plugged in” as I am still would get the news 24 hours later when they saw it printed on a newspaper.

The death of Amy Winehouse may not be the top headline in a world dealing with economic, political and military conflict among many other important issues… Still it’s big news to me and also to many of the people I follow.

Because of Twitter and my friend network’s act of sharing over the web, I found out about her death faster than any news network could deliver the news to me since my personal social network Tweeted out the info in real time.

On a personal note, Amy Winehouse is one of those artists that I admired and considered a truly unique talent and I am deeply saddened by her death.

One of the things I valued most about her is that even in the middle of all her torment and anguish, she was authentic and found a way to channel her voice and lyrics in a way that was not tainted or distorted by the music industry. Amy’s music was not about fame or fortune – she just created honest music for the sake of it. Unfortunately, apparently the escape she got from the music she created was not enough to keep her alive.

As a musician and songwriter myself, and having spent half of my college years living in New Orleans and studying Jazz, I became very acquainted with the music of Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, two of the greatest Jazz musicians ever… Both also died young because of excesses related to drugs and alcohol, at ages 44 and 34 respectively.

Just as painful is the fact that Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison – all musical legends, also died at the age of 27 – same as Amy Winehouse.

The deaths of all those artists were deeply felt around the world much in the same way as Amy’s death will affect us. The main difference this time around is how quickly the sad news spread after their death.

I dedicate this blog post to Amy Winehouse and all those who have been touched, moved and inspired by her work.

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse (September 1983 – July 2011)

Music video by Amy Winehouse performing Rehab. (C) 2006 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

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