Amy Winehouse is an enigma. On one hand you have the heavy-drinking Londoner, covered in tatoos and piercings, who admits to "swearing like a bloke".On the other, you have one of the most refreshing, soulful individuals to arrive on the music scene in a long time.
With her biting lyrics and a voice cut from the same rough as Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald, the 23-year-old wouldn't be out of place in a smoky 1940s jazz bar.
Or would she? You see, the wonderful thing about Amy Winehouse is that she has taken just about every style of black music possible and turned it into something that is completely unique to her.
Firstly, she infuses her jazz with the spirit of punk and hip-hop, bringing the sound bang up to date; and secondly, she talks about life in London.That's why really separates her music from anything to come out of America. "I'm young and I'm a city girl. I can only write about what I've gone through," she says.
This she does brilliantly on her recent number one album Back to Black. It starts with her single "Rehab, a semi-autobiographical song written in response to the rumours about her drinking.
"They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no," she sings with defiance. But at times her tough-girl attitude is tempered with real vulnerability, and never more so than on "Wake Up Alone", the album's emotional centre-piece. Quite simply an extraordinary album from a very talented young artist.