A posthumous album by Amy Winehouse is likely to move away from the jazz influence of her two albums and be reggae inspired. Music industry insiders have also hinted it may prove her most autobiographical work.
The singer, who died aged 27 last Saturday, could have as many as seven singles in the top 40 this weekend. Meanwhile, details have been emerging about scores of new tracks she had recorded that are likely to become an as-yet-untitled third album.
Her record company remained tight-lipped over the album's contents but, according to her biographer, many of the new songs have a reggae feel, inspired by the time she spent in St Lucia last year. "In what we can tell from the third album, I think she had been quite influenced by reggae," said Chas Newkey-Burden, who wrote Amy Winehouse: The Biography in 2009. Speaking from his home near Windsor, Mr Newkey-Burden added: "I think Amy would have been quite keen for a slightly indulgent third album. It might have been her way of showing the world what she was really like."
Recording sessions on the album were fraught and Winehouse was said to be unsatisfied with the work. But it is unlikely her record company will try to prevent the songs from seeing the light of day.
"Personally, I think her third album shouldn't be released," said Mr Newkey-Burden. "Obviously, it's up to her family, but, as a fan and her biographer, I would be against it being released because it would muddle the legacy. The only way it would be fair would be to release it as a 'sessions'-type album. But I suspect they will try to whip it into an actual album."
Chris Goodman, Winehouse's publicist, confirmed there was a lot of material available, but wouldn't be drawn on when it would be released. "She wrote all the time," he said. "If it's for a new album, it's difficult to say. I remember sitting down last Christmas and management were talking to me about the new songs and people were excited. [The music] wasn't a completely new direction, however. The tracks were said to have a 'soul sound'. The songs were also very autobiographical. That's the way she always wrote."
Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini says he believes that with Winehouse, whatever will be released "will be of less than peak form". "I'm resigned to the fact that whatever was made will come out," he said. "The fans love the artist and want to hear more; record companies want to recoup their investment. Together, they're a formidable double act. With Amy, we do know that her recordings in St Lucia were a failure. But people will be curious. Just as long as these recordings are not presented as being worthy of Back to Black, or 'a great lost Amy Winehouse album'."
Additional reporting by Tara Mulholland