Years before Amy Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, Amy Winehouse first went into a recurring studio as part of a hip hop group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour. The group consisted of Amy and a fellow singer Juliette Ashby. The duo started the group at age 10 creating their own vocal melodies and verses.
Years down the road Ashby’s stepfather producer Alan Glass brought them into the studio to record three songs: “Glam Chicks,” “Spinderella” (a homage to the DJ for Salt-N-Pepa, the model for Sweet ‘n’ Sour) and a track called “Boys…Who Needs Them.” The pair never released a project together, but the studio experience and training gave Winehouse early knowledge of the industry and ins and outs. Amy had the drive and passion needed to make music, including the recording and songwriting process.
In Amy, Asif Kapadia’s documentary on the singer, the movie is focused alot on Winehouse’s early musical career and childhood. But in this exclusive, unseen extra footage from the DVD/Blu-ray and iTunes Extras, Winehouse’s first days recording can be seen for the first time.
The footage starts with a 10-year-old Winehouse running around the house with Ashby. Ashby remembers:
“Primary school, from day one, me and Amy were drawn to each other and we both loved singing. We were beside ourselves [when Sweet ‘n’ Sour got the chance to record]. That was our first experience in the studio. It was an amazing experience.”
Chapati told Rolling Stone that:
“Juliette and Amy were like husband and wife, as they call it. So much of the power of the film is really about their relationship. Amy’s a kid with a kid’s voice, but she could do it. She had talent even back then. Later in life, they were pulled apart and everything changes [for Amy]. Her friends are still there, but they’re distant. They’re in another world, but they couldn’t stand being around while she was harming herself. Sweet ‘n’ Sour is nice because it’s them doing their version of Salt-N-Pepa. Amy’s obviously sour [laughs], but they take it really seriously.”
Kapadia says she got a hold of the clip came when interviewing Ashby and hearing about her long friendship with Winehouse. All the way back to when the two met at age four. The director was unable to clear “Boys…Who Needs Them” for official release, citing “complications of publishing and who has the rights,” but hopes it will see release one day. The two-and-a-half minute track, however, is a clear product of the Nineties, its New Jack Swing beat under the duo’s amazing vocals. In the track Ashby and Winehouse alternate between trading lines and harmonizing.
The extra footage of Amy, is available on iTunes Extras today and DVD/Blu-ray on December 1st. The footage contains 17 previously unseen scenes, including Winehouse’s first U.S. show at New York’s Joe’s Pub, details of an aborted collaboration with Massive Attack and a press briefing from State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey explaining why Winehouse’s visa to attend the 2008 Grammys was rejected. Also includes interviews with Yasiin Bey, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, among others, and clips of Winehouse performing “Rehab,” “Love Is a Losing Game” and “You Know I’m No Good” at London’s Metropolis Studio.