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Amy Winehouse's Goddaughter Dionne Bromfield Remembers The Moment She Found Out The Singer Had Died

Amy Winehouse's Goddaughter Dionne Bromfield Remembers The Moment She Found Out The Singer Had Died

Dionne Bromfield was only 15 when she found out her godmother, Amy Winehouse, had passed away - and she remembers the moment well.

Dionne Bromfield was just 15 years old when she learned that her godmother, best friend and closest mentor, Amy Winehouse, had died.

She still remembers the way the shock washed over her body, the way she automatically went into "autopilot mode" as she struggled to wrap her head around the gut-wrenching tragedy.

"The best way I can describe it is like a dark cloud kind of hit over the sun," Dionne tells Tyla in a candid interview to mark 10 years since Amy's passing.

Dionne learned of the singer's death in the car on the way to a festival in south Wales where she was set to perform on stage herself as a support act for The Wanted. She sensed something was wrong from in the body language of the people in the car with her, and while they tried to remain composed for her sake, eventually they had to break the news.

MTV/ James Fry
MTV/ James Fry

On that journey Dionne learned what fans from around the world were yet to discover. Amy had passed aged just 27, after suffering from alcohol poisoning. Despite a history of addiction, she wasn't using drugs at the time - in fact, she was healthier than she'd been in years.

Dionne knew this herself, given that the singer had surprised her three days earlier by visiting her on tour.

'We were still on a high," she says. "I was with the same people that were there when I last saw her, and everyone was talking about how amazing that night was.

"So then to receive the news....I was like 'no, that can’t be right, because that’s the best she looked [in ages]'."

Despite Dionne returning to London later that day, it wasn't until some time later that the grief and magnitude of what happened fully set in.

"It's really interesting because you’re really busy around the time someone passes..." Dionne, now 25, reflects. "Around [the time Amy died] it was hectic because she was still being talked about on the radio, her music was still being played, so even though she physically wasn’t here, it still felt like she was here. 

"It's actually a few months later that you have to check in on people because that's when it's the most quiet time.

"I remember one night after she passed that I was watching something [on TV] and I was like 'oh my god Amy would find that funny, I want to call her', and then the realisation that I couldn't do that set me off, and I remember on that day I became very shut down to it," she says.

"If anyone asked me about her I would just be like, 'Why are you asking me?' and I didn't really know what people's intentions were. I became guarded".

Dionne with Amy (
MTV/ Cressida Jade)

Dionne had been Amy's friend long before she was her protégée. In fact, she barely remembers a time she wasn't around. She was close with her mother, Julie Din - also part of north London's Jewish community - and they grew so close that eventually, Amy asked permission to be her godmother.

"She’s got a very maternal side to her, so I think she liked the fact that she could mollycoddle me and stuff like that," she says.

Amy had discovered that Dionne could sing by complete chance. She was belting out a tune one day when Dionne started harmonising with her - at this point she was not even 10, but Amy saw her potential and ran with it.

"She was like, 'How do you know how to harmonise at that age?'," Dionne laughs. "Then, she started giving me records and being like ‘Go play this’ or ‘Go listen to this’. Slowly, slowly it turned into, ‘You should take guitar lessons’ and ‘I wanna put you in touch with this producer that worked on my record, just go in there and start signing covers".

By 2009, 12-year-old Dionne was plummeted into the spotlight after Amy shared a cover of her singing Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You on YouTube. After that, she was signed to Amy's own record label, Lioness Records, crashing onto the scene with her cover of The Shirelles' 1960s classic, Mama Said.

Dionne's career launched when she was just 12 in 2009 (
PA)

In the last chapter of Amy's life, Dionne's career was going from strength to strength. But despite such a big break at a very young age, her godmother's passing forced her to temporarily step back from music altogether.

"I just couldn't do it," she explains. "I’d seen such an amazing side to the industry but I'd also seen such a horrible side. So, I was like 'Is this something I wanna do?' I was kind of like disheartened by it".

While she's since had a change of heart, and has just released a new single, Silly Love, she admits she needed some time to "just be a teenager" first, and process her grief.

We see part of this journey on MTV's new documentary, Amy Winehouse and Me: Dionne’s Story - filmed to coincide with the ten year anniversary of the songstress' death last Saturday (23rd July).

Throughout the doc, she speaks to a grief counsellor, visits a support group and reconnects with Amy's PA, to help her work through everything that happened. The end of the film features an emotional moment where Dionne returns to the Roundhouse in Camden for the first time - the last place she and Amy performed together, and the final place she saw her alive.

"I went into the documentary knowing that I wanting to address these things, but having to actually do it was another step," she says. "Towards the end of it, I felt so much lighter and so much more centred in myself. I look at that whole time now with such positive thoughts and so many amazing memories that I can take on for the rest of my life."

While Dionne will never forget the opportunities Amy afforded her, she says her fondest memories aren't of her fame and fortune, but of the person behind it all.

Dionne remembers the every day things with Amy most fondly (
Twitter/ Dionne Bromfield)

"Amy was incredibly smart. I don’t think people realise that," she says. "She was a massive lover of Countdown - she was always watching and trying to work out the numbers - or she’d fool you because she’d [pretend to] read a Joan Collins autobiography when really she’d just be reading the Encyclopedia.

"She would like to use me as a dolly and pluck my eyebrows and stuff like that, she was very into that girly stuff."

Dionne reflects: "To have someone that just gets you...constantly understands what you’re thinking, on a music level and just as a teenage girl...I really do feel like I haven't ever come into contact with someone like Amy since."

Amy Winehouse & Me: Dionne's Story is available to watch on MTVPlay now.

Featured Image Credit: MTV/ Dionne Bromfield