Billboard Cover Sneak Peek: 5 Revealing Remembrances From Those Who Knew Amy Winehouse Best

Jake Chessum
Amy Winehouse photographed in London in 2004.

It's been almost four years since Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011 but fans will soon get a glimpse into her private life and personal struggles with the new documentary Amy, which hits theaters July 3.

Billboard's new cover story, out Friday, June 26, reveals new insights, exclusive interviews and unearthed details from those who knew the singer best. Writer Dorian Lynskey spoke with a chorus of voices from around the industry who watched her life unravel amidst the pressures of intrusive tabloids, relationship drama and drug and alcohol addiction. But through it all, those close to Winehouse remember her as a remarkable artist fighting with demons beyond her control, who just wanted to be remembered for her music. 

Here are five personal accounts from the Billboard cover story from confidantes and colleagues who witnessed the greatness of that music first-hand:

1. Mark Ronson Never Worked With Anyone Like Her (And He's Worked With Many)
Mark Ronson, who co-produced Back to Black and watched her compose "Rehab" over a few hours, reserves towering praise for Winehouse. "We have this stereotype of young Mozart," he says. "Lightning strikes his head and then he furiously ­scribbles for two hours and has a ­concerto. She's the only person I saw who was ­actually like that." 

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2. Amy's Inner Circle Watched Her Change Around the Time She Met Blake Fielder-Civil
"Everything started plummeting downhill," says former co-manager Nick Shymansky, speaking about the time Amy met her future husband. "By 2005 she had a stammer. It was awful what was going on with her." One executive calls Civil "that clown she married." But the film, along with its producer James Gay-Rees, paints him in a more forgiving light: "Blake's no angel, but he's not the son of Satan either," he says.

3. Lucian Grainge Tried to Help Winehouse With 'Tough Love'
One day in his office, Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge showed Winehouse a barrage of tabloid photos, depicting her at her worst: bloodied, unkemptly walking down the street. "It was from a position of tough love," he tells Billboard. "She sat on the end of my desk with this tiny miniskirt on and picked up this ­enormous ­acoustic ­guitar. She played me songs that were ­obviously about ­relationships, and I ­remember the tears running down her face, and mascara everywhere." 

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4. Winehouse Had Plans For a Third Album, Including Studio Time Booked With Ronson 
"She probably finished the writing ­process a few weeks before she passed," producer Salaam Remi says. "As far as I could see, we had 14 songs." 

5. Just Before She Died, Winehouse Had a Self-Affirming Realization 
Former bandleader Dale Davis remembered talking with Winehouse on Skype several hours before her death: "She said, 'I've been ­watching videos of myself on YouTube, and I can sing,' " he remembers. "And I said, 'Of course you can sing!' There had been doubts, but for her to realize that was one of the nicest things she could possibly say." 

Read Amy Winehouse's Billboard cover story when it's out Friday, June 26.