Written By: Rob Kenner
Lioness: Hidden Treasures is the third album from the late Amy Winehouse, scheduled to be released on December 6—less than six months after her tragic death at age 27. The album’s title refers to the name Amy had written on her guitar, befitting her regal ferocity.
Last night at Quad Studios in Times Square, Amy’s long-time producer and close friend Salaam Remi previewed all 12 tracks of the album, a trove of unreleased tracks as well as alternate versions of songs recorded for her previous two albums Frank and Back To Black.
Compiled in close cooperation with Amy’s family and musical confidantes, The Lioness was clearly a labor of love for Remi, who worked with the late singer from the time she was just 18, and acted as her “musical treasurer.”
For those who may be unfamiliar with Salaam Remi, his name is not pronounced “Remy” like the cognac; it’s “Ray-Me” like the second and third notes of the musical scale. Salaam is the man behind hits by The Fugees, Super Cat, Nas, Ini Kamoze, Spragga Benz, and Miguel, to name but a few. But he’s always had a special creative chemistry with Winehouse, who he refers to as his sister. They had kept in touch right to the end, and were still working on her third studio album by the time she died in her sleep of what was recently found to be alcohol poisoning.
Just before the listening, Salaam told me that he has yet to really take a break since his friend’s passing, and that the process of working on this album has been helpful for him, as he hopes it will be helpful to Amy’s fans, friends, and family. Most of all he is fiercely protective of her artistic legacy amidst all the sensationalism that surrounded her in recent years. In that spirit, he presented The Lioness with a heartfelt wish that Amy Winehouse will ultimately be remembered for her musical gifts above all else.
As told to Rob Kenner (@boomshots)