WaterBear Brighton Hosts a Night of Amy Winehouse

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WaterBear, the College of Music, recently hosted ‘A Night of Amy Winehouse’ at its very own Brighton music venue, a celebration of the beloved London-based jazz singer featuring Amy’s original backing band, who toured globally with her performing her greatest hits.

The highly-anticipated occasion, which occurred ahead of the upcoming biopic of Amy’s life, also featured seventeen WaterBear vocalists who were given the opportunity to perform alongside the band honouring the memory of Amy and her musical legacy. The students gained an unforgettable experience working alongside world class industry professionals.

An immensely talented artist, Amy Winehouse rose to fame due to her seminal debut album ‘Frank’. Three years later, the singer released her second album, ‘Back to Black’, to even greater acclaim. Featuring tracks such as the eponymous ‘Back to Black’, ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’, and ‘Rehab’. Greatly inspired by 60s girl groups such as The Ronnettes and The Shirelles, the album was an incredible display of Winehouse’s talent, delivering an utterly beautiful ode to the soul and jazz sounds of the 60s, whilst dealing with themes of trauma and heartbreak.

The Amy Winehouse Band is led by Dale Davis, Amy’s Music Director and Bass Player, whom Amy described as “my favourite person to go anywhere with”. It is the only completely authentic reimagining of Amy Winehouse’s music. Featuring her original band members and fronted by the talented Bronte Shande, the show is a unique retrospective featuring renditions of Amy’s songs, as well as on-screen visuals.

The band itself features a host of talented veteran musicians, all of whom have vast experience in live performances. Aside from playing with Amy at Glastonbury, members of the band have performed with artists such as Tina Turner, Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, and Primal Scream.

Dale Davis, leader of the band, had this to say: “Amy was amazing. She had such a big heart and gave everything to her music and the people she loved. Hers is such an important musical legacy and with [The Amy Winehouse Band] we aim to keep it alive throughout the world”.

Significantly, WaterBear students also had the opportunity to have a live Q&A session with the band ahead of their gig. This was immensely useful for any student interested in music performance, given the large and varied music career of each member of the band.

WaterBear student Matilda Sharpe who is studying BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) commented: “Amy Winehouse is such a huge inspiration for me that when this opportunity came about, I couldn’t quite believe it! The song I performed means so much to me and on the night, I was so nervous. But it was such a breathtaking experience, especially with a skilled band like them, that it’s one I’ll always hold close to me. I just hope I did Amy proud!”

Tia Gibson, also studying BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) at WaterBear added: “Amy has quite literally been a foundational piece to my artistic puzzle. I remember hearing her tunes blaring at home from as young as 4 and fell in love with her sound. To have been given the opportunity to be so close to her was a dream come true and a moment I’ll NEVER forget.”

Eve Massaad, Director of Marketing at WaterBear commented: “The occasion demonstrates our continuing commitment at WaterBear to furthering our students’ professional development by offering them opportunities to experience all sectors of the music industry. From performance opportunities such as this event, to opportunities working with major UK-based music organisations, the Career and Industry team ensures that WaterBear’s students receive a variety of different options to explore and experience, the music industry.

“Whilst Amy Winehouse’s life ended tragically, we nevertheless should celebrate her magnificent legacy, a testament to the talent the singer had. The upcoming biopic about the singer, named for the artist’s second album ‘Back to Black’, will be released 12th April 2024. The film charts the history of Amy Winehouse’s life, with the singer set to be played by Miresa Abela. Given the likelihood that the film will lead to a re-focus on the incredible discography of Amy Winehouse, a night in celebration of her and her music seemed like a perfect opportunity for fans of her music to rediscover her best songs.”

WaterBear offers BA (Hons) degree and master’s courses made for today’s musicians, artists and industry professionals. Its colleges are based in the heart of Brighton and Sheffield, two amazing UK cities with incredible musical roots and heritage. The college also has a range of online distance learning courses.

WaterBear is a College of Falmouth University, a pioneer in creative industries education, entrepreneurship and innovation. Run by musicians, for musicians WaterBear is about smaller class sizes, flexible course delivery, bespoke one-to-one mentoring and exclusive work experience and career development opportunities.

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