Amy Winehouse tribute, from Hornchurch, to perform charity gig on late singer’s birthday
With her teetering black beehive and thick smudge of dark eye liner, Laura Butler, from Hornchurch, can only be one person: tragic soul singer Amy Winehouse.
The impersonator, from Burnway, bears a striking resemblance to her idol and has an uncanny ability to belt out Amy’s songs in the same deep, distinctive contralto.
The combination saw her named one of the top ten tribute acts in the country by entertainment website The Stage.
Like the star, Laura is also a born and bred Jewish girl from a working-class family: her adoptive parents were tailors from the East End; her birth grandparents, hairdressers; and her birth uncle a taxi driver - famously like Amy’s dad Mitch Winehouse.
But Laura, 41, also shares some of darker aspects of the singer - who battled drink and drugs addiction, and died last year from alcohol poisoning.
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She said: “I love her and felt her troubles as I had similar issues as a teenager and in my twenties. As an entertainer you’re in clubs and pubs and there’s a drinking culture. “I also dabbled in drugs, but nowhere near to the same extent as Amy. But thank God I managed to beat any addictions.”
Now Laura, who performs under the stage name My Winehouse, is set to perform a charity gig for the Amy Winehouse Foundation on what would have been the star’s 29th birthday on September 14.
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The event has been approved by the foundation - which seeks to help disadvantaged youngsters, including those suffering addictions – and will be held at The Brickhouse, Brick Lane, in east London.
Laura was a Cher impersonator for ten years before discovering her looks and voice better suited that of Amy’s.
She said: “I was told how much I looked like her as soon as she released Back to Black, so I learnt the album - I just knew she was going to be a huge star.
“At first my agent at that time said it would never take off, four months later I was their busiest performer.
“After doing Cher, I had to retrain my voice to sound more like Amy’s, but it’s naturally more like hers anyway.”
Laura is hoping to raise around �2, 5000 for the charity, set up by Mitch, last year.
She said: “My passion for her is huge and I hope to keep her music and spirit alive.”
Tickets can be bought at the venue for �10. All money will go to the foundation. Doors open at 6.30pm.