What Happened Last Night At The Amy Winehouse Foundation’s After Party At The DL

T.G.I.F…and F.Y.I: with half the known world M.I.A. (missing in action) in MIA (Miami) for the W.M.C. (Winter Music Conference) and the U.M.F. (Ultra Music Festival), there was a great music based party at The DL ( Delancey and Ludlow?, Down Low?, Designed by Lewis?) in the L.E.S. (Was that as good for you as it was for me?). Anyway… the after party for the Amy Winehouse Foundation event that happened earlier at The Waldorf Astoria was one of the most fun parties I have been to in quite some time. A gorgeous, mixed, hip and smart crowd gathered to hear Mark Ronson and a few other DJs (Disc Jockeys) spin. Mark, of course, produced Amy Winehouse’s glorious multi-platinum album Back to Black, and arrived with producer Danger Mouse for his 1am set. I did the opening set, followed by Andy Rourke (ex-Smiths) who is working on a new album. Lucas Walters, Gavin Russom, and Vikas kept the crowd till 4 A.M. (ante meridiem). O.K. (OKAY), I’ll stop.

I chatted with Mark who closed out the set with Amy and his Valerie. It was a sobering reminder of her early departure and why we were all there. It was great seeing him. We worked together at Life and other clubs I directed back in the day. Whenever I see him I am awed at how much he hasn’t changed. Despite being very successful, he remains the same accessible and straight-up guy he always has been. Terry Casey put the whole thing together. I am in the process of redux-ing The DL which has proven to be a wonderful adventure. 

The vibe last night was outstanding. The beautiful Taquana Harris turned to me mid-evening and remarked that the party was very reminiscent of the old days in club life that have seemed so far away and unattainable. I guess if one gathers immense talent for a good cause, people of substance will come out to play. None of the DJs played a set in any way similar to the others. The public, which is much smarter than the pablum-packed sets usually offered at nightclubs, embraced the eclectic mixes from all the genres offered. I must note that Marky Ramone and Paul Sevigny were also wonderfully willing to lend a hand with the event if we needed them. My day today is shot a good sign that my night was grand.

Amy Winehouse’s Dad Gets Candid In Exclusive Interview

Tonight, The Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards and Gala will be held at The Waldorf Astoria. Tony Bennett, Nas, Salaam Remi, and Elhadj "Moe" Kane will be honored. Jennifer Hudson, Wyclef Jean, and others will perform. It’s red carpet. It’s black tie. Celebrities abound.

Here’s what the Amy Winehouse Foundation is all about:
“The mission of the Amy Winehouse Foundation-US is supporting and empowering children and young adults in need through music therapy and music education and works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. Special honorees will receive an Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Award for their work in helping to inspire greatness in others.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation was formally established in the UK in 2011 by Amy’s family in honor of her memory and her passion for helping children in need. To date, the UK Foundation has allocated over £500,000 to various organizations.”

The Amy Winehouse Inspiration Awards and Gala will be the first of what Mitch Winehouse and Janis Winehouse Collins – Amy’s father and mother – plan to be an annual event raising awareness and resources for the Amy Winehouse Foundation in the US. All money raised in the US, including from this event, will go to US programs.

I caught up with Mitch Winehouse yesterday and asked him about the event and Amy. 

What’s going on and why is it going on?
It’s hopefully going to be the first of the annual Amy Winehouse Inspiration Award galas. We’re honoring Tony Bennett, Nas, and a couple of other people, and we have Jennifer Hudson performing.

How did you get from a time of grief and wrapping your mind around it, to the point where you’re devoting your time doing good?
That’s a good question, and I’m really not quite sure. When I think back to 18 months ago, it was a very bad time for me and my family, but we spoke about it, and we decided to turn this very bad thing into something good. It’s been very difficult, but we’ve managed to do it.

What were the last several years of Amy’s life like?
Amy was clean for two years and 10 months. The last six weeks of her life – the last five weeks and five days – were spent without drinking. In the last two days, she drank quite a lot, but she had been moving toward abstinence and never made it. The last two years of Amy’s life was far from being a hopeless situation. We were in a very, very good place, and Amy told me she was moving toward abstinence.

Quite frankly, had she died in 2007, 2008, I would have put my hands up and said “fair enough” because she was very ill, and there was a sense of helplessness then. But she proved that she could deal with her drug addiction, and we felt she was moving in the same way with the alcohol as well, but it just wasn’t.

How about her achievements, the fact that people are still talking about her and will forever? What is her legacy?
Her musical legacy really takes care of itself. She’s a six-time Grammy winner. The five times she won in 2008, I believe was a record, the first time a female artist had won five Grammys in one go. She was a fantastic achiever, a great person, and we’re very, very proud of her. But we feel her musical legacy will really look after itself. What we want to do now is highlight the work that she was doing; she was very philanthropic when she was alive, she was very charitable, and we need to carry on her charity with this foundation. She created the foundation herself, so we’re just carrying on the work she was doing.

What is the one thing that people don’t know about her that you wish the whole world knew? 
The way she was with people. When Back to Black had just come out, we went for a stroll through London, and we popped into shops she frequented, where everyone knew her. But she too knew everything about these people, asking “How’s your mum? Your sister? Did she have the baby?” She was fully engaged with other people. There are a lot of young ladies in her position who wouldn’t be like that. That’s what I want people to understand and realize about her. She didn’t really get that she was a superstar, which was wonderful. She was a normal kid with an astronomical talent. 

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