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Three days before Amy Winehouse’s death from alcohol poisoning in July 2011, her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, a 15-year-old singer, finished school for the summer and rushed to the Camden Roundhouse to perform.

It was her biggest gig yet, her friends were coming to watch and she was full of excitement. For a young singer dreaming of a career in music, just like her “Aunty Amy”, it was a big day.

Amy Winehouse turned up unexpectedly to support her, their moments together onstage captured by someone in the crowd, filming on a mobile phone.

This would be the superstar’s last public performance.

As I watched the grainy mobile phone footage later, for me this was the stand-out moment of all the news coverage around Winehouse’s death – she’s so evidently falling apart but trying so desperately to be there for her goddaughter.

Dionne Bromfield has shared her story from that night in On Stage With Amy Winehouse, the latest episode of StoryCast ’21 – a Sky News podcast series telling 21 stories from the year 2000 to 2021.

Listen below.

Subscribe to Storycast 21 now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Spreaker

It was 10 years ago, 23 July 2011, when I got the call from a music PR.

It was a sunny day but I was sitting in a windowless newsroom, working a 12-hour shift, and the world was also reacting to the tragedy of the horrific terror attack in Norway the previous day. It was a call I won’t forget.

Winehouse had been found in bed at home by a bodyguard with two empty vodka bottles by her side, bringing to a tragic end her very public struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. She was just 27.

Breaking the news and witnessing the outpouring of grief that followed felt unprecedented at the time, I remember a little girl with beehive hair laying flowers outside her house in Camden Square, alongside crowds in tears, Winehouse’s dad Mitch, and tributes from Mark Ronson and Kelly Osbourne; visibly stunned.

Bromfield performs with Winehouse during the tragic singer's last public appearance
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Bromfield performs with Winehouse during the tragic singer’s last public appearance

Covering celebrity deaths is part of the job as an entertainment journalist, but this was no ordinary pop star; when Winehouse died, everyone had an opinion.

People were devastated, her fragility so profound, and tears turned to anger and blame; tragedies such as this can often turn toxic as grief mixed with the spotlight takes its toll.

We wanted to find out about the real Amy Winehouse.

We spoke to people who knew her, Joe Mott, Kim Dawson, Piers Hernu, her teacher Sylvia Young, former record label bosses, her biographer Chas Newkey-Burden, and countless critics such as Paul Gambaccini.

But I didn’t call the one young woman who knew the singer like no one else. The Amy behind the icon. Behind the headlines. Behind the instantly recognisable beehive, eyeliner and tattoos. The “Aunty Amy”.

Bromfield has offered a refreshed perspective of Winehouse ten years after her death
Image:
Bromfield has offered a fresh perspective of Winehouse 10 years after her death

Dionne Bromfield, now 25, was Amy’s goddaughter and musical protégé. The one who “Amy always put her best self forward to”.

“I kind of looked at her as a mother and a big sister… Aunty Amy, I mean, she loved it when I called her that.”

When Winehouse set up her own record label Lioness, Bromfield was her first signing. She helped her launch her first album, even joining her on Strictly Come Dancing as a backing singer to support her launch.

“She just had a really, really close bond with me from a young age. My mum noticed that, and Amy really wanted to kind of take me under her wing musically and just on a personal level,” she tells me during Onstage With Amy Winehouse.

“Amy was, like, made to be an amazing mum and an amazing wife. That was like her thing and her purpose for life… She loved to cook. She cooked meatballs all the time,” Dionne laughs. “They weren’t the best…

“She was a really simple girl. And it’s just everything around her was amplified and massive and big. So, yeah, the Amy I know is a loving, caring, funny and an extremely talented person. All the other stuff is just noise.”

At the time of Winehouse’s death, it didn’t feel right to approach a 15-year-old to pay tribute. But it seems a decade on, Bromfield is ready to talk about her Aunty Amy. I meet her at the Jazz After Dark club in Soho, a favourite bolthole of Winehouse and now something of a shrine to her, the walls covered in her portraits.

Bromfield notices one painting of the icon, in which she is wearing a pair of earrings she lent her during a shopping trip.

“She was like ‘oh, I don’t have any earrings and I really like your earrings. Can I wear yours… please?’ I never saw them again. God knows where they are now.”

Walking into the dark club from the bright sunshine, Bromfield is incandescent. Like many young women in the music industry now, she seems switched on but refreshingly transparent. In many ways the antithesis of the Amy Winehouse as painted by the paparazzi, but simultaneously somehow strikingly similar.

Winehouse was like a mother, sister and friend to Bromfield
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Winehouse was like a mother, sister and friend to Bromfield

Cast your mind back to the Amy Winehouse who burst on to the scene in 2003, the one I remember first seeing in her music video for Stronger Than Me: fantastically unpolished, sassy and mischievous. The similarities with her goddaughter are obvious.

Bromfield says she remembers the last time she saw her godmother, the time they shared together on stage, “so vividly”.

“She came out for Mama Said, which was one of her favourite songs of mine, and she had a little dance, a little bit of backing vocals and then walked off.”

Bromfield would call the iconic singer 'Aunty Amy'
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Bromfield would call the iconic singer ‘Aunty Amy’

Bromfield says it has taken a long time to process Winehouse’s death. She was performing at a festival in Wales a few days later when the news broke.

“I remember going, okay, and carried on doing what I was doing, it didn’t really make sense in my head. It didn’t register. And I just kept on getting dressed to go and do my gig. It was more like, I literally saw her three days earlier and she was so positive she was glowing and everything. How are we going from this, to this?”

Winehouse had released her first album, Frank, in 2003. In 2005, she met Blake Fielder-Civil, whom she married in 2007. It was a marriage, she would later admit, based on taking drugs.

Amy Winehouse passed away on 23 July 2011
Image:
Amy Winehouse passed away on 23 July 2011

Yet in 2006 she released her critically acclaimed second album Back To Black, which would go on to become one of the UK’s biggest selling albums ever. It was the heartbreak of the record, many of the songs about Fielder-Civil, which resonated.

Her multiple Grammy award wins broke records and brought huge international success.

The contrast between her sultry and striking talent as a singing sensation and the depths of her darkness is perhaps what has come to define her legacy.

Bromfield joined fans who had laid tributes for Winehouse in July 2011
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Bromfield joined fans who had laid tributes for Winehouse in July 2011
Tributes were laid near Amy Winehouse's home after her death
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Tributes were laid near Amy Winehouse’s home after her death

At the time I remember people described a sense of inevitability about the death of Winehouse. In interviews, her father Mitch had said he had feared the worst might happen.

But Bromfield says there was nothing inevitable about it.

“To me, it didn’t feel like something that was on the cards,” she says. “She was really full of life that night. So, yeah, it was not a person who had given up on life.”

The fact she hadn’t given up, and still had so much more to give, is perhaps why Amy Winehouse will continue to be remembered.

And for Bromfield, her godmother, her musical mentor and “Aunty Amy”, will always be a part of her future, as well as her past.

You can listen to On Stage With Amy Winehouse and the rest of StoryCast ’21 by clicking here.

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Sabrina Carpenter: US singer breaks Ariana Grande’s UK chart record

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Sabrina Carpenter: US singer breaks Ariana Grande's UK chart record

Sabrina Carpenter has set a new UK chart record by becoming the youngest female artist to take the top two singles spots in the same week.

The US singer reached number one on the Official Charts Company rundown with Please Please Please, pushing Espresso, which had been at the top for five weeks, down to number two.

Please Please Please totalled 9.8 million combined streams, while Espresso came in second with 8.1 million streams.

Sabrina Carpenter during the BBC Radio1 Big Weekend at Stockwood Park, Luton. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2024.
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Sabrina Carpenter during the BBC Radio1 Big Weekend in May. Pic: PA

At the age of 25 years, one month and 10 days, Carpenter overtakes Ariana Grande, the previous youngest holder of the record, by around six months.

Grande achieved the same two-spot hold in the same week when she was 25 years, seven months and 20 days old in February 2019 with 7 Rings at number one and Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored at number two.

Eminem is at number three this week with Houdini, while Billie Eilish’s Birds Of A Feather is at number four, followed by Shaboozey’s A Bar Song (Tipsy).

Taylor Swift doesn’t make the top five, but sets a new personal best in the albums chart with a seventh week at the top.

The Tortured Poets Department earns a seventh non-consecutive week at number one, surpassing 2022’s Midnights which spent five weeks at the summit.

Swift is in the UK for her Eras Tour, and will take to the stage in London’s Wembley Stadium on Friday evening.

Taylor Swift. Pic: David Fisher/Shutterstock
Image:
Taylor Swift. Pic: David Fisher/Shutterstock

At number two is US singer-songwriter Eilish’s latest record Hit Me Hard And Soft, while British singer Charli XCX’s Brat came in at number three.

In fourth spot is Canadian musician The Weeknd’s greatest hits collection The Highlights.

Read more on Sky News:
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British rock group Sea Girls also celebrate a hat-trick of top five albums as their third studio collection Midnight Butterflies makes its debut at number five.

The group previously saw success with 2020’s Open Up Your Head and 2022 LP Homesick, which both reached number three.

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Taylor Swift Tube map released as Wembley Stadium hosts London Eras Tour shows

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Taylor Swift Tube map released as Wembley Stadium hosts London Eras Tour shows

London’s iconic Tube map has been redrawn to celebrate the arrival of Taylor Swift’s tour in the capital.

As the US megastar’s Eras Tour descends on the city, fans, or Swifties, will be able to navigate their way around using a redesigned London Underground layout, with each line named after a different album and drawn in sequin colours to match – with stations denoted by her songs.

Under the changes, the Central Line has been renamed Red after the singer’s fourth album while the Victoria Line becomes 1989, the Bakerloo Line Evermore and the Northern Line her latest release, The Tortured Poets Department.

The map also highlights a host of places across the capital that are referenced in her music.

Notable locations on the Taylor trail – some of which feature in her song London Boy, include the West End, Soho, Bond Street, Camden Market, Highgate, Hampstead Heath, Vauxhall, Shoreditch, Hackney, Brixton and Kentish Town.

Taylor Swift. Pic: David Fisher/Shutterstock
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Swift has already played sell-out shows in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff. Pic: David Fisher/Shutterstock

Taylor Swift inspired London tube map. Each line is named after a different album and drawn in sequin colours to match, with stations named after songs, and gemstones to reflect key locations with links to Taylor that fans can visit. 
Pic:Mayor of London's Press Office/PA
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Each line is named after a different album and stations denoted by her songs. Mayor of London’s Press Office/PA

Swift-fever even spread to Buckingham Palace earlier on Friday where Shake It Off was played at the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.

The pop star has already played sell-out shows in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff and it is now the turn of fans at Wembley Stadium to get a sprinkling of stardust.

They have waited more than a year for the tour to arrive, after Swift kicked off her marathon string of dates in Glendale, Arizona, in March 2023.

Since then, she has crossed the US, Asia and South America and made stops across Europe, sometimes accompanied by her boyfriend, the American football star Travis Kelce.

She will play three nights at Wembley Stadium on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before taking the tour to Dublin next week.

Swift will return to London for five more shows in August.

Pic: Mayor of London's Press Office/PA
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The map has been redesigned to mark the megastar’s arrival in the capital. Mayor of London’s Press Office/PA

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Her fans are expected to boost the London economy by £300m as the capital hosts more Eras Tour shows than any other city in the world, with nearly 640,000 people expected to attend across the eight dates.

Specially-designed murals have also been created to mark her arrival.

Jen Neal, who crocheted a Taylor Swift blanket over 50 hours, shows off her work outside Wembley
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Jen Neal, who crocheted a Taylor Swift blanket over 50 hours, shows off her work outside Wembley


Fans pose on the Swiftie Steps at Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first concert.
Pic: PA
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Wembley’s Spanish Steps have temporarily been renamed the Swiftie Steps. Pic: PA

Wembley Park is hosting two new public artworks including one on the Spanish Steps, which are being temporarily renamed the Swiftie Steps.

The blockbuster tour takes fans on a journey through the different musical stages of her career.

Fans wait outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024.
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Excited fans have been gathering throughout the day. Pic: PA


Fans display their bracelets as they wait to enter Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour.
Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

Thousands of concert-goers have already arrived at Wembley eager to soak up the atmosphere of what promises to be a memorable performance.

Among those at the stadium were Lauren Robinson, 20, who had travelled from Cheshire, and her friend Grace Arnold, 24, who had travelled from the Wirral.

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Taylor Swift kicks off UK leg of Eras tour

Fans gather outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert
Pic: PA
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Fans gather outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift’s first London concert. Pic: PA

Ms Robinson said: “Coming to the capital has got to be the best place to see the tour.”

She added: “It’s like going to a party with all your best friends.”

Fans wait outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert.
Pic: PA
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Fans wait outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift’s first London concert. Pic: PA

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Ms Arnold said she was most looking forward to the Folklore set (Swift’s eighth studio album), but said the potential surprise songs “actually make me feel sick to think about”.

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Jane Fonda leads tributes to Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland

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Jane Fonda leads tributes to Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland

Tributes have poured in for actor Donald Sutherland after he died following a long illness.

The 88-year-old was best known for his roles in Ordinary People, The Hunger Games franchise and M*A*S*H.

His son, Kiefer Sutherland, confirmed the news “with a heavy heart” as Oscar-winner Jane Fonda and other stars of the big screen led tributes to the Canadian actor.

“With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away.

“I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film.

“Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived,” the son said of his father.

File photo dated 05/11/15 of Donald Sutherland attending the UK Premiere of The Hunger Games:…
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Donald Sutherland attending the UK premiere of The Hunger Games

Among Sutherland’s best-known roles was the detective John Klute, who attempted to protect Fonda’s character Bree Daniels from a killer stalking her.

More on Kiefer Sutherland

US actress Fonda shared a black-and-white image of Sutherland from their 1971 hit where she won her Oscar for best actress, and said: “I am heartbroken,”.

The pair dated for a period in 1971 and staged a travelling anti-war roadshow for US soldiers.

Actor Donald Sutherland answers questions from film critic Leonard Maltin in 1998. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Actor Donald Sutherland answers questions from film critic Leonard Maltin in 1998. Pic: Reuters

Leading politicians like US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also paid tribute after the actor’s passing.

Mr Trudeau called him a “truly great Canadian artist”, after he learned of his death during a news conference relating to a national school food programme.

Mr Biden described Sutherland as a “one-of-a-kind actor who inspired and entertained the world for decades” in a post on X.

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Flowers placed on Sutherland’s star

Dame Helen Mirren was among the British actors and actresses paying tribute.

She appeared alongside Sutherland in 2017’s The Leisure Seeker, following their 1990 drama Bethune: The Making Of A Hero.

“Donald Sutherland was one of the smartest actors I ever worked with,” Dame Helen said in a statement.

“He had a wonderful enquiring brain and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.

“He combined this great intelligence with a deep sensitivity and with a seriousness about his profession as an actor.

“This all made him into the legend of film that he became.”

Most recently, many will know Sutherland from his role in The Hunger Games franchise where he played dictator President Coriolanus Snow.

The official account for The Hunger Games film called him “the kindest man in the world” who portrayed “the most corrupt, ruthless dictator we’ve ever seen”.

Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters
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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters

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Throughout his career, Sutherland is perhaps best known as the womanising Captain Benjamin Franklin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce Junior, from the 1970 film version M*A*S*H.

His co-star Elliott Gould, who played the Captain ‘Trapper’ John Francis Xavier McIntyre, called Sutherland a “giant” who was “enormously kind and generous”.

Gould recalled they were both “young fathers” when they worked together and said his death “really profoundly hurts because Donald was like my brother, and a big part of my own career”.

Rob Lowe, known for his role in The West Wing and a number of other movies, said Sutherland was “one of our greatest actors” and that it had been an “honour” to star alongside him on the miniseries Salem’s Lot, in 2004.

“I will never forget his charisma and ability,” Lowe said.

Others, including Elijah Wood, who rose to fame playing Frodo Baggins, paid tribute as well.

Sutherland is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

His agency said a private celebration of his life will be held by the family.

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