LargeUp Exclusive: Salaam Remi Speaks On Amy Winehouse & Reggae
For the one-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s passing yesterday, the 45 scholars at LargeUp buss out this super-exclusive interview with super-producer (and Winehouse mentor) Salaam Remi, diving deep on some of the unanswered questions that have kept Amy fanatics awake at night; is there really an unreleased album of reggae-inspired material in the vaults? How did Remi and the Winehouse family select tracks for inclusion on the posthumous LP Lioness? And just generally speaks on the nature of their working chemistry and the vibe at her last recording sessions in St. Lucia. Read one of the more tantalizing excerpts below and hit the link at bottom to get the full Q&A.
Salaam Remi (On Amy’s love for reggae & how it fit into their collaborations):
On her first album I introduced her to “Moody’s Mood for Love,” which was a jazz record I knew because Frankie Crocker on WBLS would close every show with it. She learned it in a couple days and I was like you know what, let’s do a reggae version just to have a different swing of it. So that became the reggae version on that album. Then“Just Friends,” was really a jazz type song when we originally did and she said let’s make this the reggae song, like we did with the other one. So I flipped the arrangement, and we had that on the second album. And of course she had other songs that she was starting to record where we would flip reggae versions. We just knew we could do that with songs, like turn it on it’s head, let’s just do it that way with the same music. With the musicians we were working with, it was just easy. I’d change the bassline and flip the drums around and next thing you know it starts feeling like the reggae version. And that’s just something that she liked. She was into that type of music. She was into West Indian culture in general. All of her security were Jamaicans. Most of the people she had around her had some type of core West Indian element to it.