Amy Winehouse’s unreleased demos were supposed to have been destroyed in 2011 by her label to prevent the creation and selling of a posthumous third album by a party outside of Island Records. (The label released Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a compilation album curated by the Winehouse family, Mark Ronson, and Salaam Remi, in December of that year.) Turns out, not all of the demos were scrapped though.
Camden musician Gil Cang worked with Winehouse before she got signed. Together, he and composer James McMillan wrote “My Own Way,” which Winehouse demoed to shop around to label houses in 2001. Winehouse was 17 at the time.
“It was at a particularly dire time in the pop world—lots of terrible, terrible girl bands and boy bands and we had to make something for them,” Cang tells Camden New Journal. “Amy came in to see us, opened her mouth and just blew us all away.” Winehouse recorded “My Own Way” in three takes, something Cang says was a testament to her “real jaw on the floor” talent.
As for the song itself, “My Own Way” would sit right at home on Winehouse’s debut album, 2003′s Frank. It’s brimming with the retro swag and fiercely independent attitude that turned heads and got people listening to Winehouse in the first place. All that’s really needed is some soulful backing vocals à la Frank’s “Amy Amy Amy.” Regardless, it’s a delight and Cang a godsend for stumbling across it. As he tells the Camden New Journal, “I found it again last week and thought I’ll put it out there so people could hear it.”
You can hear it, below.