In a previously unseen interview from 2006, Amy Winehouse shared her love for Sarah Vaughan, gospel music and the Shangri-Las – as well as recalling her first big break
Amy Winehouse and her brother Alex
On her musical evolution
When I was younger, I didn't really listen to a lot of soul. But in the last year I got really into Motown girl groups. I liked Otis Redding from 14 or 15, but I listened to hip-hop and jazz for so many years. It goes jazz, soul, Motown, then hip-hop. Obviously, I've gone in the middle.
I've been listening to a lot of gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson andAretha Franklin. I love gospel, because gospel is so truthful. You know, I'm not religious, but there is nothing more pure than the relationship you have with your God – there is nothing stronger than that apart from your love of music. Gospel is very inspirational.
On Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington
Ella Fitzgerald knew how to carry a tune, but to me she's just like a lot of other people. You can hear her and go: that's Ella Fitzgerald, but it's not like she stood out. Sarah Vaughan is one of my favourite singers of all time. She was an instrument. I've heard one record, it's like a humming solo, and she sounds like a reed instrument – like a clarinet. I came to Sarah Vaughan later: I was about 18. And I learned to sing from Dinah Washington, and from stuff like [Thelonious] Monk. It wasn't just the vocal jazz – I learned from everything, really.
On her brother's music collection
My brotherwas listening to stuff like Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam and Therapy, really, like, I-want-to-die bands. I had a really brief flirtation with that, but I must have been nine – and then I discovered Salt-n-Pepaand I was like: I've got my music now. He started listening to jazz when he was about 18 and I was 14. I just remember the first time I ever heard[Monk's] Around Midnight, through the wall. I was just like: what is that? And I remember the first time I heard Ray Charles. It was Unchain My Heart. I remember walking into my brother's room. I always used to knock because he would throw stuff at you if you didn't. But I opened the door and he goes, what? He looked at me as if I was about to go, "Mum's dead" or something (touch wood). He goes what's wrong and I went: "Who is this?" And he went: "It's Ray Charles." Then I just listened to Ray Charles for three months, exclusively.
On her first break
I did one gig as a singer for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which everyone has come through or goes through at some point. That was my first and last gig, because my manager came and said, "We'll give you loads of studio time - just go in and play guitar and write songs." And I was like: thanks, why? And he was like you're going to make an album and then I'm going to get you signed and everything. So it was cool. A couple of months ago, I did a massive opening for a casino. I'd go out with just my piano player and we would do jazz all night. Or sometimes there are these Russian bankers that really like me because I'm a Russian Jew. They always book me if they are in town, and we do jazz for them. We don't do my stuff.
On the Shangri-Las
I love the drama, I love the atmosphere, I love the sound effects. And they wrote the most depressing song ever: I Can Never Go Home Anymore. When me and my boyfriend finished, I used to listen to that song on repeat, just sitting on my kitchen floor with a bottle of Jack Daniel's. I'd pass out, wake up and do it again. My flatmate used to come in, leave bags of KFC and just leave. She'd be like: there's your dinner, I'm going out. It's the saddest song in the world.
This is an edited extract from a previously unbroadcast interview, recorded at the Other Voices festival in Dingle in 2006. Amy Winehouse: The Day She Came to Dingle, an Arena documentary for BBC4, will be broadcast at 10pm tonight.
• This article was amended on 31 July 2012. The original misspelled Thelonious Monk's first name as Thelonius. This has been corrected.