Winehouse was born in the Southgate area of North London to a Jewish family, with Russian ancestry on her mother's side, who influenced her interest in jazz. Winehouse was the daughter of Mitchell (Mitch) Winehouse, a taxi driver, and Janis Winehouse (née Seaton), a pharmacist. Her grandmother had once been engaged to Ronnie Scott. Her brother, Alex, is four years older.Mitch often sang Frank Sinatra songs to young Amy, who also took to a constant habit of singing to the point that teachers found it difficult keeping her quiet in class. Winehouse's parents separated when she was nine.
When Winehouse was nine years old, her grandmother, Cynthia, suggested she attend the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School for further training. At age ten, Winehouse founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet 'n' Sour with childhood friend Juliette Ashby. She stayed at the Earnshaw school for four years before seeking full-time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School, but was allegedly expelled at 14 for "not applying herself" and for piercing her nose. (Sylvia Young herself has denied this – "She changed schools at 15 – I've heard it said she was expelled; she wasn't. I'd never have expelled Amy.") With other children from the Sylvia Young School, she appeared in an episode of The Fast Show in 1997. She later attended The Mount School, Mill Hill, the BRIT School in Selhurst, Croydon, Southgate School and Ashmole School.
Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Winehouse was found dead on 23 July 2011, at her home in London, police have said that the cause of her death is "as yet unexplained".However, an inquest regarding Winehouse's death has been opened and delayed (adjourned) until October 26, 2011, per a London coroner. Coroner Sharon Duff from North London's St. Pancras Coroner's Court stated that a "Section 20" postmortem had been done on Winehouse. Section 20 postmortems imply that the coroner believes "there is reasonable cause to suspect that a person has died a violent or unnatural death or in any other way which would require an inquest," according to regulations. The coroner's office also stated that police had determined the death to be "non-suspicious". Winehouse's family and friends attended her funeral on 26 July 2011. She was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.