Back in 2016, I found myself watching television commercials. For some reason, I wasn’t hitting the fast forward button like I usually do with every other show I watch on DVR. Maybe I was distracted by Twitter. Maybe my kids were pulling my attention away. Whatever the reason, corporate marketing executives caught me slipping. As the advertisements scrolled, I heard a voice coming from the TV that caught my attention. So I whipped out my phone and pulled up my Shazam app to find out just who was singing so soulfully in that 15 second clip. This began my journey into the pop/soul stylings of the Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra.
After learning of Snoh and her sultry yet powerful voice, I had to hear more. Needless to say, I’ve been a fan since that chance encounter during the commercial break. Since 2014, she’s appeared on collaborations with numerous Hip-Hop artists such as Common, Vince Staples, and RZA, and has dropped 2 EPs as well as an album of her own titled “Feels” in 2017. While listening to every song of hers, I can’t help but feel that her voice is a sharper version of Amy Winehouse. Nowhere is this more evident than in her 2019 single, “I Want You Around”.
While Amy Winehouse’s career took off with her Doo-wop influenced sophomore album “Back to Black”, her debut album “Frank” showcased more of a hip hop/pop sound. If Amy sang Snoh’s “I Want You Around” and placed it on “Frank” it would absolutely fit right in. Although Snoh’s vocal clarity fits perfectly with the laid back yet pulsing vibe of the track, Amy Winehouse’s vocal grit would give the song an urgency and desire that only she could deliver. Both singers have/had the ability to signal passion in their delivery, but Amy Winehouse’s cadence would make this song uniquely hers in a way no other artist could rival. The way she held words longer than they should have been held, only to turn around and hurry the pace of the following lyrics was an effect that would have been on perfect display on this song.
Maybe I’m just looking for someone to fill the void of Amy’s absence, but I would love to have heard what she could have done with “I Want You Around”. Although I don’t believe Snoh set out to do an Amy Winehouse impression, I can’t help but hear similarities in every note. While myself and much of the listening public hold out hope for the next potential posthumous release, we’ll never get to hear the greatest Amy Winehouse song Amy Winehouse never sang.