A Conversation With Amy Shark

July 18, 2020

Amy Shark first started gaining traction in 2016 with the release of her single “Adore”, which peaked at number two on the ARIA singles charts and went four times platinum. In 2017 she released her debut EP “Night Thinker.” Followed up with the release of her highly successful 2018 debut album “Love Monster”, which charted at number one on the ARIA charts. 

After an intensive tour schedule of shows all over the globe, Amy Shark is now gearing up for the release of her highly anticipated second album.

We caught up with Amy to discuss her recently released new single “Everybody Rise”, her recording process, as well as celebrity interactions.  

Congratulations on the new single “Everybody Rise” it’s fantastic!

“I appreciate that man thanks.”

Watching the music video it seems as though you created a perfect reflection of the time-period in that everyone is social distancing, was that planned? Or did the timing just kind of work out? 

“No, it wasn’t planned at all, we had all this ready to go. The music video was crazy. I wasn’t going to go at the time and it was in the early stages of figuring out what the Coronavirus was and what’s happening to the world. I was ready to hit go on all of this music because I had just been working towards these dates. It got to the point where my whole record label was like “Amy you can’t go,” because we shot it in Nashville and I was like “well try and stop me.” I thought, “I’m going and I need to get this done” so I went and it turned out to be pretty hectic. I went and got it shot and we were all kind of doing the elbows and it just so happened that that was the music video, everyone was standing sort of that way it was weird how it was kind of meant to be.” 

The song is about worship culture and social media influencers. What sparked the original inspiration behind the song? 

“The initial inspiration – it’s funny because I never really know what I’m going to write about. When I came up with “Everybody, everybody rise for you. Everybody, everybody cries like I do.” I knew there was something special in that. And I kind of re-wrote the verses when I was in New Zealand with Joel (Little) cause he just spun the whole song on its head and it had a whole new direction. You know when you come out with “One day I’m just gonna walk up to you” – for me I’ve felt the experience of unrequited love many times over. It’s one of those feelings you feel weird talking about it and you feel like it shouldn’t get to you as much. The number of times I’ve had to tell myself, “okay Amy you need to work out how you’re going to live your life without that person because you can’t have that person and just get through it, because one day, you’ll get through it and be over it.”

But it still sucks and it’s still a horrible feeling to get through and even though I’m not going through that now it still obviously scars, it has scarred me from feeling it.”

You have a new album coming out later this year as well? How is that coming along? 

“Well, I mean it’s pretty much done. It was done before Corona hit, or it was what I thought was done. And then all this time in lockdown gave me the time that I needed to zone in on it and make it perfect. I didn’t have that time on the last record because it was my first record and I really didn’t understand. I was just getting through it and “I Said Hi” ended up doing quite well as a single. So I was busy with that and I didn’t get to zone in on the notes that I should have. Maybe it’s a good thing. “Love Monster” is a piece of work that I will always be proud of and it’s still got that angsty feeling. Maybe it was all meant to be like that but I’ve definitely tried to up my game a little bit more on this next album.”

 Has your approach to songwriting changed much since the last album?

“Not really, not at all actually which is great. I didn’t stop writing. Probably the best thing I ever did is just not be like, okay I’ve done the “Love Monster” album and now I’m going to not write and I’ll tour that and then I’ll write. That is just so bizarre to me and there are a lot of teams and a lot of management that think that’s how it works, it’s just not. It’s not healthy to put that pressure on you as an artist to be like here is my blocked out time to write, you know, it’s a timeless piece of work and it’s not going to happen. I was going through so much weird stuff getting to know my life now and the people in it, the people leaving it, and the new people coming into it. So there was a lot to write about and I found it quite easy.”

You started gaining popularity when you released “Adore” and the “Night Thinker” EP but, you had been writing songs for quite a long time before that. Are any of those original songs from before you were known, have they made their way onto the album? Or is it a fresh batch of songs? 

“There have been some weird little melodies that have randomly snuck in on songs. It’s funny that you ask that actually because no one has asked me yet. There’s a couple of songs where you forget, like I come out with this middle eight and I’m like I know that melody from somewhere, and I’m like It’s from freaking years ago and it never got released. So little, tiny things come in and out of the songs, but not much. A lot of it is really new and I think that’s why I’m excited about it because you know the first album like they say it takes you your lifetime. You’ve got all this stuff to put in that first debut album, while the second album is the hard one. But, I didn’t have that feeling. I felt excited to write new songs.”

“Love Monster” was a very personal record which I think is why a lot of people resonated with it. Is this new album in a similar vein?

“If you thought “Love Monster” was personal this one this is next level. If anyone wants to know what has been going on in my head over the last two years it’s in this record. The ups and downs of what people think is a perfect life and a really fun life has a lot of downs. So I didn’t filter anything in trying to write about that. I made a good thing out of a shitty situation with some of the songs and relationships and real-life stories turning out to be great songs.” 

I first discovered you when you did a cover of Silverchair’s “I miss you love” on Triple J and you’ve covered Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” how much of an influence was that late 90s early 2000s music an influence on you? 

“Massive, like so massive. It was me realising like oh I don’t have to sound like Mariah Carrey to be a musician. I can just be me because I know how to turn my pain and angst and everything else into a melody and have some nice guitaring behind it, it just felt like I could breathe. I think “Jagged Little Pill” and Nirvana, and Silverchair’s “Frog Stomp” that’s just a lesson that you can’t explain when you learn that. And I feel sorry for kids now, like man you missed out, I mean maybe they’ve turned to other artists this time. I learned so much from that era and those particular bands I guess.”

You’ve worked with the likes of Jack Antonoff, Joel Little and Mark Hoppus, and from your Instagram it seems you’re always bumping into these big names in music. Do you ever get star struck? 

“All the time. I mean I’m getting better at trying to play it cool to some extent. I think when I met Nicole Kidman that was a pretty big moment for me. I love her movies, I love theatre so meeting her was like a, take some deep breaths Amy, kind of moment. Ed Sheeran, as well you know everyone was telling me leading into that session just relax because Ed’s a legend, he’s super nice and I’m like that’s fine but it’s not until the little ginger man walks into the room where you’re like oh my God it’s really him, he exists and he’s standing in front of me It was crazy but within minutes we were like best buds, these people they know how to make you feel comfortable so it’s good.”

I hope you don’t mind me asking but The Smashing Pumpkins are my favourite band ever so I have to know what was working with Billy Corgan like? 

“Okay, so Billy was another moment like that. So, “Ava Adore” is one of my favourite songs and their record “Adore” is probably one of my favourite Smashing Pumpkins albums. So when I was explaining that to Billy Corgan. I was kind of like I think “Adore” was really influenced by “Ava Adore” and it was so weird for me to look at Billy Corgan in the face and tell him all these feelings that I had about Smashing Pumpkins and “Disarm”, there are just so many songs that taught me. They taught me to write differently, taught me poetry, taught me about balancing a really strong melody with real lyrics about real topics and you don’t have to have bubblegum sort of music to make it. It can be as gritty as you want as long as it’s beautiful and sung with conviction.”

So with Corona happening right now and the push to support local businesses and local artists, are there any Australian or New Zealand artists you think that people should check out? 

“We’ve got so many cool artists at the moment I mean Tkay Maidza just dropped a song called “Shook” and I’m addicted to it. MAY-A she’s really great, beautiful voice kind of ballsy, good songs! BENEE is obviously rocking your world over there right?”

 Yeah she is, she’s killing it right now.

“We’re just all waiting for her majesty Lorde to come out with something, everyone is waiting with bated breath I guess.”

What are the plans for after Corona? Are you planning to hit the road again? Maybe come to New Zealand sometime soon? 

“Dude, the second I am allowed to come to New Zealand I will be on the first flight. I miss it so much. I spend so much time in New Zealand and to not be able to go there I think it’s more the fact that I can’t go there it’s like killing me, but yeah it’s in the plans. I can’t say too much about the dates and the months so obviously it’s all tentative, like everyone’s life right now, but it’s in there, it’s a very key part of my touring schedule so I will be there.” 

You can watch the music video for “Everybody Rise” here; 

You can listen to Amy Shark’s music here; 

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