Amy Winehouse had written all the songs that were to appear on her third album. She even picked out song titles. But music producer Salaam Remi said the soul singer, who died over the summer, was not rushing to release that new material, instead planning to drop a jazz album first with a “supergroup” including ?uestlove of the Roots. “She had written down everything she wanted to do,” Remi said Tuesday.
Only two of the tracks Winehouse wrote were recorded and appear on her compilation album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, out Dec. 5 in the United Kingdom, and a day later in America.
Winehouse died from accidental alcohol poisoning at age 27. Her body was found at her London home July 23.
Remi, who worked on the singer’s two albums, Frank and Back to Black, produced most of the upcoming CD, saying Winehouse was a perfectionist when it came to composing music. “She was taking her time with it, and at the end of the day all of her songs are somewhat autobiographical, so she had to live through something, then get out of it and then look back at it to be able to write about it,” he said.
“Who knows what will happen in the future with that,” he said of the songs she penned.
Remi held a press listening for Lioness on Tuesday. The 12-track set features covers and stripped-sounding versions of released Winehouse songs, with some completed in one take.
Before her third album would come out, Remi said, Winehouse wanted to record with Roots drummer ?uestlove and saxophone player Soweta Kinch. “There were a bunch of other names bouncing around,” Remi said.
?uestlove did make the new album, though. He appears on the track “Half Time.” There’s also a song by an 18-year-old Winehouse, another about her ex-husband’s infidelity and “Best Friend,” which opens with the line: “I can’t wait to get away from you.”
Remi has produced for the Fuguees, Nas, Jazmine Sullivan and Nelly Furtado. He produced the song “Block Party” from TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and Winehouse sought him out after hearing the track. Remi says that Winehouse usually wrote songs while playing the guitar and that the new album sounds just as good as her critically acclaimed predecessors. He also said he wanted to release new material from the late singer before others did so. “Before somebody comes up with some weird song …. this is what it really is,” he said. “This is the quality.”