Amy Winehouse Tribute tells tragedy of songwriting icon for Fort Collins Fringe Festival

Elena Waldman

The tragic icon Amy Winehouse left behind a legacy of deeply emotional, soul-inspired hits when she died at the young age of 27. This past Friday, the talented Katy Iengo and Jennifer Lauren-Bowers revisited some of her classic hits for the Fort Collins Fringe Festival. 

The Fort Collins Fringe Festival cultivates a lineup of musicians, artists, comedians, magicians and performers for locals to get a more eclectic taste of live performance art. The Amy Winehouse Tribute is one of the many shows the festival has to offer, and the two musicians make it a performance to remember. 

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Along with performing some of Winehouse’s most iconic numbers, Lauren-Bowers and Iengo incorporated interviews into the show to tell the tragic story of Amy Winehouse, from her rise to fame to her struggle with drug addiction and depression. Iengo, who was in character as Amy Winehouse, answered interview questions from Lauren-Bowers, which were taken from real footage of Winehouse interviews. Through this, they were able to portray the tragic figure that was Amy Winehouse, while seamlessly transitioning into song. 

“I did a deep dive into Amy Winehouse,” Iengo said. “I watched documentaries, interviews, … probably like 12, 13 hours of footage of her. I tried to get to know her motives, her reasoning behind things, how it affected her art. …The answers were all Amy Winehouse’s actual words.” 

She wanted help, and she kept asking for it. … In her interviews, she made levity out of her addiction, but she also kept saying she had a problem.”-Katy Iengo, singer for Fancy Bits

The storytelling aspect of the show provided an entertaining riff, as well as meaningful context for some of Winehouse’s classics. “Rehab” was introduced by the duo conversing about Winehouse’s reluctance to seek treatment, and “Back to Black” was similarly transitioned into by Winehouse lamenting about a failed relationship. 

“It was sad to dive into her story and know how many times people missed helping her,” Iengo said. “She wanted help, and she kept asking for it. And whether it was her father, or the record label, or her boyfriend, they just kept missing the chance to essentially save her life. I wanted to tell that in a way that’s almost lighthearted because that’s what it is. … In her interviews, she made levity out of her addiction, but she also kept saying she had a problem.” 

The show fittingly closed with a call to action for audiences to reach out to friends or family members who struggle with drug or alcohol addictions, noting the nonprofit organization Turning Point as a resource for those who are seeking help. 

Though the script was added into the routine as a special edition for the Fringe Festival, Lauren-Bowers has been performing this routine with her band, Soul Revival. 

“We’ve done this show before,” Lauren-Bowers said. “I invited her (Iengo) to come and sing on the last Amy Winehouse tribute show, and I loved her voice and singing with her, so then she invited us to come and put this together.” 

The two also perform separately with their bands, Soul Revival and Fancy Bits. While Iengo has several local upcoming shows with Fancy Bits, Lauren-Bowers will be promoting her new venue, Chamber 155, in downtown Fort Collins. 

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter, @WaldmanElena. 

 

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