STEPH PAYTON had a chat with Amy Shark yesterday about working through the hype, how her single Adore, runner up in this year’s triple j Hottest 100, has changed things and her upcoming EP this year. Amy Shark also plays a SOLD OUT show at Amplifier on April 2, and Groovin the Moo on May 13.
Even without the pressure of such a fast tracked hype around your latest track Adore, how are you going about balancing people’s external expectations against your own with where to go from here?
It’s been a totally different change of world for me for one, but the good thing is I sort of took my time. When Adore came out it obviously connected very quickly with a lot of people which is awesome, I had a lot of people coming left, right and centre within management and labels and stuff but I made it a priority to really take my time with choosing the right team. I feel very lucky now because I’ve got really great people around me, like I’ve got a new single coming out really soon – I’ve had a lot of songs ready to go because that’s what I’ve been doing the last six years – so it’s not like I needed to do any writing. They sort of let me do my thing [and] keep going with the producers I want to work with.
I think I’m more anxious to get my music out there so people can get a little bit more and understand me a little bit more and I don’t want to be the Adore girl for much longer! I don’t feel much pressure; this is what I love doing and it’s a dream for anyone who is a musician to do this for a living so I’m never going to take that for granted. I’m just going with the motions and when it comes to strategy I’ve got people in place that know that side of it because that’s definitely not my forte, I’d much rather be in the studio or playing music, so I feel like I’ve got the right people to worry about that side of things.
Are you more excited to release the tracks you had developed now you have such an immense fan base or does it give rise to a little anxiety over whether they will respond to it as strongly?
Well, I think because [with] Adore I was so new to everyone. Now I have more of a name in the industry so the hype will never be as big as what Adore is because when Adore came out it was like, “Who the hell is she? What’s going on? We’ve never heard of her before.” There was so much hype and people were really liking the song, but I think also liking the fact that no one knew who the hell I was. Everything that I’ve written is all back catalogue from the same sort of time that I wrote Adore so everything’s got the same angsty – you know, that rawness – the way I love to write; emotive and personal. So hopefully people still connect.
Adore did connect with everyone based on that raw emotion evoking power, did it surprise you that something incredibly personal to you turned out to be so universal?
It definitely did because when I wrote it, I’ve said this to so many people, I didn’t say, “Yes I’ve got this amazing song that everyone’s going to love so I’m going to be able to quit my job!” It wasn’t like that. I’ve written so many songs in my life so this was just another song I was really proud of. I got it back from M-Phazes when he did the first rough mix on it and I was like this is exactly the direction I want to go, which is a pretty weird bipolar sort of genre anyway mixing guitar with hip hop and EDM, so it’s really weird but it all worked. I knew it was a special song but I think people just, I don’t know what sets it aside, you know maybe they can hear the innocence in it I’m not too sure. People are obviously feeling the same sort of feelings that I have felt which is great, it makes us all human again, you know?
You’ve mentioned you’ve collaborated with the likes of M-Phazes, now you’ve essentially become a household name do you feel like the potential for what you can put into your work has just multiplied tenfold?
Most definitely. The biggest thing I regret in my life is not taking my music seriously enough to put the funds in it to go and work with better producers. I’ve done it for years and I’ve always been passionate about it and totally addicted to it but never really tried to work with someone on that level. Of course I’ve got all these songs now that I’m like, “Well shit I wanna work with him and he’s gonna bring out this song and they’re gonna bring out that song and its gonna be great!” I’m so excited and I’ve just finished recording the EP – I’m not too sure of the release date of it yet but its coming – and everyone always thinks their work is fantastic but I’m really proud and really really excited about it.
On this topic too you had Elk Road sending you a little tweet yesterday even! Do you think it raises the potential avenues of where you can take your sound from now?
Yeah I’ve had a few people, when I released the song called Spit On Girls that got a little bit of play on Triple J, a lot of producers started sending me some beats and I really enjoyed that. I love writing to beats and hip hop stuff and EDM so I’m always looking for music to write to; I’ll be exploring those options for sure.
You’ve sold out an entire national tour, and your name has exploded across festivals all over including Hyperfest and Groovin the Moo, are you excited to get out there and play to those kinds of crowds? Does it ever feel weird being on the other side of the stage barrier?
Yeah it does I’ve gone to festivals my whole life, and I’ve never really been one to always be up the front or anything, but I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ve never been to Perth before so I’m just soaking it all up – its as pretty as what my grandparents told me it was going to be so I’m stoked to be here. I’m happy to play to anyone, the more the merrier, tomorrow is going to be great. I’ve played to rooms with like three people so a festival’s gonna be way more fun than that.
Most up and coming musicians look forward to their first headline tour so they can control the room and perform a full set, how excited about that are you?
I’m really excited because I got a little taste by doing some support tours, and I’ve learned a lot as well over the time. I like to talk a little bit in my shows probably because my songs are really really personal, and some songs are kind of deep, and I love explaining where my head was at at the time. A lot of the shows I played you’re on a really strict time limit so I had to really just shut up and play the songs; I don’t really get to know anyone so I’m really looking forward to playing exactly how I wanna play, for as long as I want to play for and a lot more songs.
You’ve previously name checked so many of my favourite artists that you’ve encountered recently, like Cub Sport, Tiger Town and Bec Sandridge. How good is the Aussie music scene in your opinion right now?
Man, I sort of went M.I.A. for a few years and didn’t really listen to much radio and I was kind of half giving up then I had a few songs played a little bit and then Adore obviously happened so I’ve been really heavily listening to the J’s the past couple of years and man we’re on fire. There is so much talent and I’m still in shock how much my stuff has broken through because there is that much talent. I don’t necessarily fear competition because everyone is so beautiful and everyone is so lovely, it’s all just a big gathering. Really every song that comes on the radio I’m loving at the moment, it’s really exciting where we’re gonna go.
There’s always something going on back stage at those big touring festivals like Groovin’ the Moo, are you going to start a new league of tennis with the other musicians?
I’m gonna be the leader of the pack with that shit, we need to get that going like ASAP! I might have a new career ahead of me you never know! (I don’t mean that at all).
Stalking your social media, are you going to include one of those Timezone basketball arcades in your rider requests?
Man if that can happen, that needs to happen. I am addicted to that game, I am heavily, heavily addicted and super competitive when it comes to Timezone games.
You share a lot of similarities with Lorde with that kind of romantic-but-I’ll-poke-you-in-the-eye-if-you-mess-me-around songwriting style. Now she sang about Tennis Courts, you sing about basketball courts, any links to success there you think?
Who knows, I think she’s definitely heading our pop scene in the right direction and if I got to meet her one day I think we’d have a beer and I think we’d get along alright! We’ll see.
Well you’re already catching up with the likes of Tash Sultana for a beer.
Yeah throw Lorde and Taylor Swift into that. We might make our own squad, our own Aussie squad!
Finally you’ve been saying how excited you were to get music played on triple j, how was it doing a cover of Silverchair’s Miss You Love for Like A Version?
That was intense, I was very nervous but as soon as I start playing I relaxed. It was something I never thought I’d ever get to do and something I’ll never forget. It was fantastic and I enjoyed every second of it, I got to do it pretty early on as soon as Adore came out, I felt like it came up very quickly which is great.