British singer-songwriter Juliette Ashby paid a moving tribute to her best friend Amy Winehouse during a gig at London's Jazz Cafe on Thursday night (19Sep13).
Just days after what would have been the Rehab singer's 30th birthday, Ashby dedicated two of her songs, Not Trying (To Get Over You) and Waiting, to the girl she met at school, aged four, and with whom she shared her childhood, teenage and early adult years.
Ashby, who was launching her EP Take It Over at the fabled Camden venue told the crowd, "I just want to take a moment because it's appropriate, to dedicate these next two songs to my best friend. She passed away two years ago. It was her birthday and it was a horrible, sad day for me.
"We have amazing memories here at the Jazz Cafe, sitting upstairs with my girls - and she's up there now with us too tonight, and it feels amazing."
Winehouse and Ashby were inseparable as kids, forming the rap duo Sweet 'n' Sour, and sharing their first experiences in the recording studio together, aged 10. They lived together as Amy's career took off, following the release of her album Frank in 2003, but when her best friend's drug problems took hold and her behaviour spiralled out of control, Ashby decided the only way she could help her pal was to give her tough love and step away.
Rarely speaking publicly about her late soul sister, Ashby tells Wenn the circumstances surrounding her friend's addictions and untimely death are often too painful to talk about about.
She says, "I've loved Amy since we were four. We grew up together, but when she did the stuff she did I told her I would not tolerate her behaviour.
"It changed the amazing person that she is, which is my best friend. And she knew that. But she knew I would always be there for her and that's why she came to me when she wanted a sense of normality back in her life or when things got really bad and she really needed help. She felt safe knowing that I wouldn't take any s**t from her during those dark times.
"Her 30th birthday, which should have been a joyous occasion, was really miserable for me without her here. I love and miss her more than I can ever put into words."