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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
Image:
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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Kim Kardashian leaves tag on Balenciaga dress at Paris Fashion Show event

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Kim Kardashian leaves tag on Balenciaga dress at Paris Fashion Show event

Kim Kardashian turned heads at a Paris Fashion Week event on Sunday with a possible fashion faux-pas – or did she mean it?

The reality TV star and businesswoman wore a black dress to a Balenciaga show in the French capital with the tag still hanging from the back.

The word Balenciaga was clearly visible as she walked by and posed for photographers, with the tag appearing to swing slightly and hit her back.

She shared an Instagram story showing the tag still attached to the back of the lace turtleneck outfit, which had long sleeves that covered beyond her hand.

Kardashian captioned the video with text saying: “It’s always Balenciaga for me.”

The tag then appeared to be absent once she was inside the venue.

The models for the Autumn-Winter 2024-2025 season show also walked the runways with clothing that had rectangle labels tied to strings.

Kardashian checked out the new looks alongside tennis legend Serena Williams, who wore a blue fur-style coat and a black dress.

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The reality star, 43, is known for her long association with the brand, and walked her first Paris couture show with Balenciaga in July 2022.

In 2021, she wore a full-length Balenciaga black outfit completely covering her face at the Met Gala.

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Tracy-Ann Oberman: Death threats against Jewish actress see security ramped up at West End theatre

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Tracy-Ann Oberman: Death threats against Jewish actress see security ramped up at West End theatre

Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman is used to her work speaking for itself.

She’s known to many for her roles on Doctor Who, Eastenders and as “Auntie Val” in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner.

But at a time when she’s arguably hitting her creative stride, winning critical acclaim in the West End, the actress has also had to deal with death threats – a response to her challenging antisemitism she sees online.

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The Merchant of Venice in the West End

Pic: Marc Brenner
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On stage. Pic: Marc Brenner

She said: “My identity has never felt a huge part of my creative life, but in recent years, particularly in the arts world, which likes to see itself as progressive and inclusive, I think I’ve ended up becoming a spokesperson for many Jewish people and allies in the arts who have often felt like a lone voice, who have felt intimidated and often felt frightened to talk about their identity. And I don’t think that is right.”

Sky News caught up with Oberman during rehearsals of a new musical based on a BBC radio play she wrote: Bette And Joan And Baby Jane.

It is an imagining of the backstage bitterness between Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the 1960s during the making of the film Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Pic: Marc Brenner
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On stage. Pic: Marc Brenner

She said: “I wanted to write something about women getting to 50 and losing their power in the entertainment industry.

“I don’t think we should hurtle towards our forties thinking ‘Oh, you know, where do we stand in the creative industry and in the world?’

“I think we’re coming into a duchess era, I think it’s possible to do anything and I’d like to think I’m giving hope to people for that.”

At this stage in her career, she’s certainly impressing theatre critics with her role in the West End reinvention of Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice.

Obermann speaks to Sky's Katie Spencer

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Starring as a female Shylock, based, she says, on her own grandmother, the play has been re-set in 1930s London as fascism sweeps across Europe.

In the traditional version, Shylock is a Venetian Jewish moneylender and the play’s principal villain.

“By putting a female shylock at the centre of that it ties in misogyny and racism against all minorities,” she explained.

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Attending rehearsals

But while she’s enjoying a creatively fruitful moment in her career, there’s also the threat to her life.

In response, security at the Criterion Theatre has been ramped up.

Oberman said: “You know, we’re living in very febrile times… I don’t understand how we’re living in a time where a Jewish actress who is putting on a production of The Merchant Of Venice is needing to have all this security, it just feels extraordinary.”

Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, cases of both Islamophobia and antisemitism have spiked.

Oberman thinks her industry hasn’t done enough to challenge it.

She said: “The industry should take note because if it was happening to other minorities, I’d like to think that people would be horrified.”

Bette And Joan And Baby Jane: The Musical is being staged at JW3 on 4 March, with performances at 4pm and 7.30pm.

The Merchant Of Venice 1936 continues its West End run at the Criterion Theatre, London, until 23 March.

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Raye smashes Brits record for most wins in one year as Kylie Minogue closes show after taking global icon gong

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Raye smashes Brits record for most wins in one year as Kylie Minogue closes show after taking global icon gong

Raye has smashed the record for the most Brit awards won in any one year – taking home six prizes including best song, best artist and best album.

The star was visibly emotional as she collected the statuette for best album for her debut, My 21st Century Blues, saying: “You just don’t understand what this means to me.”

She was joined by her grandma, Agatha, on stage, and apologised as she broke down in tears, joking: “I’m ugly crying on national television.”

The star told the crowd that her middle name is also Agatha, and added: “My grandma is awake ’til 3am praying for me and my beautiful sisters.”

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Raye calls success ‘a miracle’

Raye, 26, also won the awards for best R&B act, best new artist, and songwriter of the year – a gong that was announced ahead of the ceremony – and performed a medley of her songs including Ice Cream Man and Escapism during the show.

Before her trophy sweep, the record for most Brits won in a night was four, held jointly by Harry Styles, Adele and Blur – but that has now been smashed.

It marks an incredible journey for the London-born singer, who called out her former label in 2021 and went on to release her debut album on her own terms as an independent star.

She topped the charts at the start of 2023 and was also shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize last year – now she is a Brits record-breaker. Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet ahead of the show, she described everything that has happened to her in the last few years as “a miracle”.

Raye only lost out on one prize – best pop act, which went to Dua Lipa.

Kylie Minogue – truly a global icon

Kylie Minogue performing on stage during the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena. Pic: PA
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Ladies and gentleman, your Brits global icon: Kylie Minogue. Pic: PA

The show was closed by Kylie Minogue, who performed a medley of her hits with an array of costume changes – starting with 2023 smash Padam Padam and including Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Love At First Sight and All The Lovers – after being named this year’s global icon.

Her award was announced with a look back at her five-decade spanning career, taking in her journey from I Should Be So Lucky to Padam Padam, via Can’t Get You Out Of My Heard and an array of her other hits.

Accepting her prize, the Australian star paid tribute to Raye’s achievement, saying: “I’m just going to be sobbing with Raye – Raye you did that.”

Minogue told the audience that there is still “a part of me that’s the 14-year-old girl in the room dreaming of making music”.

Talking to music students in the room, she said: “I just feel your promise and I’m so excited for you.”

“I love you, and I will always love you, you have my heart,” the icon added.

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Dua Lipa on stage after winning the award for Best Pop Act during the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Brits. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire
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Dua Lipa opened the show – and was also named best pop act. Pic: James Manning/PA

Elsewhere, Jungle were named group of the year, while in the other genre categories, which are voted for by the public, Bring Me The Horizon took home the best alternative/rock act award, Casisdead won best hip-hop/grime/rap act, and Calvin Harris was this year’s dance act winner.

In the international categories, Miley Cyrus’s Flowers was named best song, boygenius were named best group, and SZA was named best artist.

The full list of awards won by Raye (and some by other stars)

Album of the year – Raye, My 21st Century Blues
Artist of the year – Raye
Song of the year – Raye ft 070 Shake, Escapism
Best new artist – Raye
R&B act – Raye
Songwriter of the year – Raye
Group of the year – Jungle
International artist of the year – SZA
International group of the year – boygenius
International song of the year – Miley Cyrus, Flowers
Alternative/ rock act – Bring Me The Horizon
Hip-hop/ grime/ rap act – Casisdead
Dance act – Calvin Harris
Pop act – Dua Lipa
Producer of the year – Chase & Status
Brits global icon – Kylie Minogue
Brits rising star – The Last Dinner Party

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