“When I go onstage and have a guitar, I feel like no-one can touch me”: Why Amy Winehouse's passion for guitar was key to her distinctive songwriting style

Amy Winehouse playing her red Fender Strat on stage
(Image credit: Jo Hale / Getty Images)

Amy Winehouse is praised for her distinctive vocals, and for bringing jazz and blue-eyed soul back into the mainstream. In a 2004 Fender interview, however, she asserted how instrumental her guitar skills were when it came to her songwriting and stage presence at this stage of her career.

"While I'm not even probably an adequate guitarist, I'm still a distinctive guitarist. I sound different," she said. "To me, the guitar is a really warm instrument, that's why I love it, as opposed to the piano. A wicked solo, to me, is not what being a guitarist is about. It's more so I can be all over everything, so I can feel something and just be able to go, 'this is what this feels like.'"

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Janelle Borg

Janelle is a staff writer at GuitarWorld.com. After a long stint in classical music, Janelle discovered the joys of playing guitar in dingy venues at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Janelle has written extensively about the intersection of music and technology, and how this is shaping the future of the music industry. She also had the pleasure of interviewing Dream Wife, K.Flay, Yīn Yīn, and Black Honey, among others. When she's not writing, you'll find her creating layers of delicious audio lasagna with her art-rock/psych-punk band ĠENN.