Interview: Amy Shark

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By Poppy Tohill

The last time we caught up with Australian singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Amy Shark, her hit single Adore had just surpassed 24 million streams on Spotify. Fast forward four months later to Auckland's Laneway Festival which took place at Albert Park on Anniversary Day and she's walking off the stage to find out that the hit single has now just surpassed 30 million streams - A feat that would take one person 171 years to accomplish on their own (#quickmaths as Big Shaq would say). 

While Adore has been raking in the streams, Amy has been keeping herself particularly busy ticking off a lot of impressive firsts from her career list. From playing her first American Festival (Austin City Limits) to her first stadium shows in support of fellow Aussie superstar Sia and American heavyweights Bleachers, she also won herself two ARIA awards for Best Pop Release and Breakthrough Artist Of The Year. Not forgetting her time recently spent working alongside Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 in the studio.

“I love festivals because they’re pretty informal, everyone is really hyped and I’m generally less stressed than I would be at my own show,” Amy confessed as we sat down for a chat, following her incredible performance at Laneway. “I’m so invested in my songs and am so passionate about everyone feeling great when they come to my own show which is definitely a lot more draining, mentally. That’s not to say I don’t give everything during a festival set though, it actually means I can give even more energy. I absolutely love both experiences, especially in New Zealand - I feel like you all really get me and understand me.”

With Singapore being the first stop on the Laneway Festival circuit, two days before the Auckland date, Amy couldn’t sing her praises for the country enough. “Singapore is stunning, it’s so beautiful and clean, the food is amazing and I definitely want to go back there again! You get fined if you swear in front of a public audience there and I’m such a potty mouth as it is, so I had to concentrate really hard on not letting anything slip out!” she laughed. “Even my songs on their own have some swear words in them, so I had to focus on making other words and noises in their place so it wasn’t too obvious. It was really hard but great at the same time.” 

“I’m always writing, but everything is feeling really good right now and the next step is definitely an album,” she let slip. “Really my job is to be a musician, so if I’m not writing an album, then what the hell am I actually doing? There’s going to be a date for these songs to be cut because everyone’s heard them and will get sick of them, so there’s definitely new music coming I promise you..” 

As for working alongside Mark Hopppus, Amy revealed it came about in a ‘totally random and ridiculous way.’ “He sent me a message on Twitter saying that we’ve got some friends in common and his son listens to my music, so if I’m in LA anytime soon we should get coffee. As it happened I was in LA two days later, so you could catch me getting all emotional and choked up as we talked, because it was just so crazy!” she laughed. “Obviously I had met Tom [Delonge] earlier, but Mark is a different person. He’s super wise, so lovely and interested in what I was doing and the music that I wanted to make. I said if he was ever interested in producing again that I’d love to work with him and that’s how it happened!”

Ending 2017 on a high touring with Bleachers, Amy confessed that she can’t think of another show that is as entertaining as theirs. “When you tour with someone you’ll usually watch them once or twice and then bounce because you get a bit over their set, but with Bleachers I think I watched them every night apart from one when I had an early flight the next morning. They are honestly incredible!”

“I’m so frickin’ self-deprecating and think I’m just so shit so I’m always watching professionals and going, ‘Oh that’s how you do it, that’s sick!” she added with a laugh. “So watching Bleachers was great in that respect because Jack is such a great showman. I don’t think I necessarily watch a performance and think about doing exactly what they’re doing, but I will remember certain parts and then think about all of the visual aspects to the show.” 

All in all it was a big year for the rising star who dubs her proudest moment as winning those two ARIA’s. “For longer than I’ve been listening to Triple J or anything, I remember watching the ARIA’s as a toddler and just loving them,” she confessed. “I’ve seen people be nominated for so many awards and not win them for years, so to win two on my first go was just unreal. It was such a big night and I couldn’t believe it was my life, I felt like I was in another world completely.”

With 2018 shaping up to be just as big, if not bigger, Amy admit that the biggest thing she’s learnt is to ‘keep being herself.’ “I just want to keep writing the music that I always have. I I think a lot of people get to a stage where they think they’re too good and they try to change up their style, but I’m really comfortable with my style. I just want to keep writing - bigger and better beats, riffs and guitar parts. I want to keep it real.”