Amy Shark: "The best thing I ever did was not care about the game."
Image: Amy Shark at the ARIAs. Photo by by Alex Carlyle
Words: Julie Kerr
Amy Shark has tapped into something. Her songs are extremely emotive, and her lyrics unpack dark and heavy themes, yet when they land, weigh no more than a dandelion. This is her appeal. Light, shade, heart-warming, super cool. In her 2014 song Spits on Girls, she gently sings, "Don't be the boy that spits on girls, everybody hates that guy." You wouldn't want to be the boy that that was directed to. It's an anthem that mobilises the sisterhood like the women dancing in the film clip. And two years on, in another music video, the group dancer vibe is back from the 2014 song that asked, "Why would I buy a new dress just to impress?" But this time as Amy and her crew return with more carefree hair, sneakers and sass for days, it's to sing a love song - the chart topping, nation stopping hit Adore. "I want the entire street out of town, just so I can be alone with you." And that's the thing with Amy Shark. She's feminine, sassy, sensitive, fiercely defensive, (now famously a right hand slugger), carefree, careful, loving, but also, don't mess with her. Amy Shark's song Adore reached number two in this year's Hottest 100, but she has been a triple j favourite since the beginning. Her cover of Miss You Love by Silverchair is compelling, thoughtful and passionate. Amy has also released a song called Golden Fleece. Haunting, spine-tingling, honest, and gentle. The Gold Coast local - Amy resides with her husband in Broadbeach - is a keen fisherwoman, recently telling triple j's Matt and Alex, proudly. "Her name was Helen and she was a thirty pound snapper... I pulled it in myself." She posted a photo of Helen and herself on Instagram and naturally everyone wanted to be Amy's best friend. Amy Shark is a quality person and a quality musician who sold out her tour in a day or two, and her single Adore has so far peaked at number 3 on the ARIA charts, and number 1 on iTunes, even beating Ed Sheeran. She took some time out of her crazy, jam packed days to answer some questions, sharing about how special the moment was when she realised she was number two on triple j's Hottest 100, her songwriting approach, some Gold Coast local tips, and how her Adore music video cost just $700.
What does music mean to you?
That's a hard one. It means I can be relaxed, be sad, be happy, be inspired, be creative everyday of my life.
Tell us about your life in music so far….
I honestly only write for myself, its an emotional release. Every lyric you hear is extremely autobiographical so the songs cut deep. The best thing I ever did, was not care about the game, I just write songs about how I feel - the magical thing is now people get to hear them.
You’ve been writing and performing, but got a little jaded before last year, right?
Yeah, I gave up trying to show people my music, and decided to write solely for myself. I believe this is when I started writing my best music. My team and I worked incredibly hard, we never gave up, and one day it all just clicked. Music was something I did everyday but I never expected to become a full time working musician. I am grateful every morning I wake up, now.
What a great start to the year for you. Have you chilled out since 26 January?
Still definitely buzzin'. I have had a couple of days off but I've been recording and getting ready for tour so not much chill. I am not sure I will ever get over the feeling of that day, it's with me for life.
Tell us about your music video direction, and your work in film?
Basically I had ZERO money to shoot this video so I sent out one of my usual desperate texts to my friends with talents. I've shot and cut videos since I could ride a bike. The Adore music video was made for seven hundred dollars, and a few cartons of beer. The destinations were all around my old primary school, and also in my house. So even though it's quite a low budget video, I personally think its really cool and the vibe is exactly what I pictured.
How do you even relax with all this adrenaline?
I try and go for a swim in the surf most mornings. Avocado relaxes me, and an afternoon beer as the sun goes down.
Who are your favourite Australian women in music?
Sia, Missy Higgins, Alex Lahey, Tash Sultana, The Veronicas and OMG Zan Rowe is the business.
How has the industry changed since you first got started?
Well I tried to stay as far away from the industry as possible for a long time. I thought it was just a tiny circle of people promoting the same bands and artists year in year out. But in the last six months I realised how wrong I was. It's competitive, but it's also the most caring supportive big family that you could ever dream of.
While listening to this year’s Hottest 100, did you feel more hopeless, or hopeful as you hit the top 10?
I was questioning whether or not I made it in the 100 for maybe three minutes, and then I just came to terms with the fact that the track was just going to do really well. I'm a very self deprecating person so it's big deal for me to hit that confidence level. I had so many people supporting the track and I will never forget that feeling. To this day that is still the best day of my life.
Does this achievement inspire you to have bigger goals, or intimidate you?
I don't really get intimidated. I never expect anything from music, I believe you need to work hard for what you achieve. I'm very excited to release more new music. I have so many songs I just wish I could drop a new song every week!
What is the best lyric that you have written – the one you love singing, perhaps one the crowd sings with you?
There a few I like... "Don't be the boy who spits on girls... everybody hates that guy", "I only want you 'cause I can't have you", "I'm know as a right hand slugger" and, "Just to adore you"
How do you look after your voice?
...A whiskey every night.
When can we hear new music?
Very soon, be patient young padawan
Favourite place in Australia?
I love fishing at Brunswick Heads and I love where I live in Broady (Broadbeach) on the Gold Coast
Favourite Gold Coast destination tip for non-locals?
Society of Florida or Nook for coffee, Madison's for cheesecake, Bam Bam for breakie, Hideaway or Romanas for dinner, Darcy Arms for a beer and Broady, Burleigh or the Spit for beach hangs.
For all things Amy Shark, head to www.amyshark.com. Her single Adore is out now