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It Turns Out Not All Amy Winehouse Demos Were Destroyed

In 2015, four years after singer Amy Winehouse's death, Universal Music U.K. CEO David Joseph announced that he'd destroyed all of her demo recordings in an attempt to prevent anyone from releasing them posthumously. Despite that, composer Gil Cang, who wrote songs for Winehouse early in her career, has posted a Winehouse track called "My Own Way" to YouTube.

Cang, who co-wrote the scratch track with James McMillan, announced on the YouTube post that the song is one "we love and want the world to be able to hear." He says he recently rediscovered the recording, made when Winehouse was in her late teens, and decided to share it.

In an interview with the Camden New Journal, a newspaper outside of London, Cang says he and McMillan "had been writing quite a lot of pop tunes, doing a lot of pop promos with various artists who would come in, many of various, dubious talent. 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. Amy came in to see us, opened her mouth and just blew us all away."

In 2011, Island Records, a division of Universal, released a compilation album of Amy Winehouse B-sides and demos selected by producer Mark Ronson called Lioness: Hidden Treasures. A second compilation was released in 2015 as the soundtrack for Amy,a documentary about the singer's ultimately tragic life.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.