Amy Winehouse: The Q interview

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Amy Winehouse, 20, is the feisty young musician who turned heads last year with her debut album, Frank. After being expelled from the Sylvia Young stage school for "not applying herself", Winehouse attended an institution in south London where the lack of boys forced her to immerse herself in her music. She has just been nominated for two Brit awards, in the Best British Female Solo Artist and Best Urban Act categories.

Things have taken off quite quickly for you - how are you finding your new-found fame?

It's cool. My life isn't really different to how it used to be. It's better in that I'm working more now. You know how when you don't go to work, you don't always feel 100 per cent? Well, because I'm working a lot, I feel like I'm doing good things now.

Would you have considered going down the Fame Academy/Pop Idol route?

I never wanted any of this and that's the truth. I would have been happy to sing in a covers band for the rest of my life. And I wouldn't have gone on one of those shows in a million, billion years, because I think that musicality is not something other people should judge you on. Music's a thing you have with yourself. Even though the people who go on those shows are shit, it's really damaging to be told that you are.

Your lyrics are quite angry...

They're very personal and very intense, in a way. But I think there's a lot of humour in there as well. I've always wanted to present a point with a twist. You know, like "I'm really angry about this, you're a bastard and you can't even get a boner!" I just want to say things I would find funny if I heard them.

There's a line in "F-Me Pumps" I don't understand: "Don't be upset if they call you a sket." What's a sket?

Aren't you from London? A sket is like a dirty, pikey girl. Say you're with your little brother who's 13 and you see a ratty little girl who you know. He'll go "I really like that girl", and you'll go "Please don't go anywhere near her, she's a right sket". She's a girl who's manky. Manky inside.

Are you allowed to style yourself?

Well, for a while it was looking like they were going to style me. Recently, when things started getting busy, they started trussing me up. The thing about me is I'm edgier than that - if you make me up too much I end up looking like someone's auntie. I've had to reclaim my own look.

So you've had quite a lot of control over it ...

I've given them a lot of control - I made the music because I know how to do that, but then for the promotional side I stepped back and thought "I've got to trust this lot, because I've never done this before". That was the wrongest thing I could have done. All they know how to do is what's already been done and I don't want to do anything that's already been done. I don't ever want to do anything mediocre. I hear the music in the charts and I don't mean to be rude, but those people have no soul. Learning from music is like eating a meal - you have to pace yourself. You can't take everything from it all at once. I want to be different, definitely. I'm not a one trick pony. I'm at least a five-trick pony.

Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

Well, I'll have at least three beautiful kids. I want to do at least four or five albums and I want to get them out of the way now. And then I want to take 10 years out to go and have kids, definitely. I never used to be broody, but then I realised that I'm turning into a soppy bitch. Goodness in life comes from a sense of achievement and you'd get that from having a child and putting it before yourself.

Would you say you're a seducer or a seductee?

I think you have to be both, man. You have to be good at both - there's no point in doing one if you can't do the other. You've got to give and receive. What's that thing the advert says? The best gift you can give someone is knowing how to receive.

Are you religious?

I'm not religious at all. I think faith is something that gives you strength. I believe in fate and I believe that things happen for a reason but I don't think that there's a high power, necessarily. I believe in karma very much though. There are so many rude people around and they're the people that don't have any real friends. And relationships with people - with your mum, your nan, your dog - are what you get the most happiness in life from. Apart from shoes and bags.

Are you going to turn into a diva?

I'm probably already one, if that means that you don't give a shit about people's opinions. I don't suffer fools gladly. I'm not here to make friends. I've learnt that the hard way - I used to not say things like "I really want to hold a guitar in my video", because I was trying to make everyone like me. But I don't give a shit now. At the end of the day I'm there to do my job, I'm not there to have picnics. So, if that's being a diva then yeah, I will be one.

The single "Take the Box" is on Island