AMY SHARK: “YOU MUST BE ADDICTED TO SONGWRITING, NOT FAME AND FORTUNE”

Amy Shark has had quite the year. From doing pub gigs to coming second in Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year with her song “Adore” (which has 25 million streams on Spotify), we chatted with the Gold Coast-raised indie singer-songwriter and producer, who’s up for six ARIA awards (NBD) including Best Female Artist. By Mia Abrahams.

When was the first time you remember thinking, “I want to be a musician”? 
First little show I ever played, I remember I got the same rush I used to get when I did theatre and I thought, “how cool is it writing your own stories and singing them to random people”. I used to watch all my parents’ music DVDs of Oasis, INXS, [and] The Cure and fell even more in love with the art of songwriting.

You’ve said in an interview, “I don’t sit down and say I’m going to write about love tonight, or I’m going to write about this incident. It’s shit that’s in your subconscious that you don’t even know you’re going to write about it.” What is your songwriting process like?  
I find some time to pick up the guitar, find a chord progression or a riff that I think is different and exciting, and then I just let it all out like a free therapy session.

Since your crazy successful year, how do you balance the pressure to succeed on a commercial level – tour more/stream more/sell more – with staying true to your own sound and music?  
I made a very smart move in putting together a great team, my label, my management, my booking agent and the close people I surround myself with let me just focus on the music. I don’t care about anything else but writing good songs and playing fun engaging live shows.

Do you have any words of advice to the girls who might be playing shows to empty pubs this weekend around Australia?
After playing your four hours of Dixie Chicks, Cold Chisel, Crowded House covers etc, go home, pick up your guitar or play your piano or whatever you do and write your own story. It’s tiring and draining, but if it was easy everyone would do it. You must be addicted to songwriting! Not fame or fortune. You never know, that shitty gig just might be your last one day.

Amy’s currently touring the US, but her Aussie tour dates are here (she’s playing Melbourne November 30 and Sydney December 2, supporting Sia and Charlie XCX). 

Original image: Instagram. Digital design: Grace Jennings-Edquist.


More from Issue 18:

What You Should Know About the Manus Island Emergency (and How You Can Help) 

Saskia Hampele: Starting a Social Enterprise Down Under

Dear Doorly Doctor: Could I Have BV (And is That an STD?)

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