Amy Shark is a woman on a mission. After lockdowns decimated the live music industry, the eight-time ARIA award-winning artist spent most of 2022 getting back on the road, playing a record-breaking 68 shows across Australia.
With a new album on the way, her first marie claire Australia cover her belt (including scooping up our Entertainer of the Year award), and an upcoming stint as a guest on the highly anticipated reboot of Australia Idol, it’s clear Amy Shark has no intention of slowing down in 2023.
Marie Claire: You’ve just come back from LA, how was it?
Amy Shark: It was really good. It’s so busy, as you’re here, word spreads. And then there’s people to catch up with and things to do. I’m not used to it, I’ve been at home for a while. Coming back into the LA storm is overwhelming.
MC: And did you pop over to New York as well?
AS: Yeah, I did the torturous flight. From home to New York. So did the LA and then to New York is friggin’ crazy, but it was it was good, we had some really great meetings over there.
MC: And you’re recording at the moment?
AS: Yeah, I’m finishing some songs that I started working with people a while ago, and then I’m also working on some new stuff.
MC: What can you tell me about it?
AS: Well, not too much. But what I can say is the mind frame I’m in is different. I feel more confident in me as a person and what I really want to talk about. I used to let like conversations like this start to dictate how I was writing, because I would think, ‘well I’ve got to talk about it.’ But now I’ve got a good balance of what I will say, and what I won’t say. It’s still me writing from my own experiences, I’m not filtering anything. No topics are off limits, it’s whether I think it sounds good and what will make a good album.
MC: Let’s look back at the that was. You spent most of it on the road touring regional Australia. What was that like after two years of lockdowns?
AS: It was crazy – there’s touring, and then there’s touring regional Australia. It was just such an eye-opening experience. I don’t know what I expected, but it was so strange playing night after night to audiences that aren’t used to shows. There were times where I felt like I really needed to work hard because I felt like all the town is probably just seeing me on that night because they’re wondering what’s going on in their town. And they have got no idea who this Amy Shark is. But then I would get into some towns and waiting at reception and there’d be bouquets of flowers. And I felt like I was frickin’ Justin Bieber coming to the town. I’m so glad I did it because of the look on everyone’s faces every night whether they were shocked at the storytelling that I would say in between songs or the fullness of the band or how many lights I brought in… I think everyone there walked away with something because we gave them such a spectacle.
MC: There were places you played that I’ve never even heard of.
AS: Same! There was one place that no one on my team had ever heard of before – that was kind of alarming. I had seasoned people working on my tour and they didn’t know it. One of my managers said ‘I don’t even know where that is on a map.’ Then we turned up, and there was literally a corner store and a really run-down motel that I stayed in. 500 people came to that show and I said ‘where do you guys live? What do you do for work? Where do you guys shop? I’ve been here all day and haven’t seen a single person!’ It was so wild.
MC: Most people would take a big break after a grueling tour like that. I know you had a very brief vacation in Hawaii, but straight on from that you went into filming the reboot of Australian Idol. No rest for the wicked, huh!
AS: Yeah, I know! Why do I do it to myself? I guess I had so long where nothing was happening, so now I take every opportunity. I also like to keep people guessing. I want to be an exciting artist to watch. I’ve followed other artists that have lost the fire and I never want that to happen, so I always want to keep pushing myself, meeting new people and try new things. Maybe I’ll enjoy doing television, maybe I’ll fucking hate it. I won’t know unless I try. And I like where we’re at right now. I used to think that saying no was the key because I watched Adele‘s manager do this interview and they said the most powerful word is no. But now I think the most powerful thing is knowing when to say yes.
MC: You would have grown up watching Idol back in the day. We didn’t have as many options… everyone in the country bloody watched it.
AS: Yeah, and I remember it was such an exciting show to watch. When that first started, I was at school, and I was really new to alternative music. And it was like, if you don’t sound like Mariah Carey, or Beyoncé, you cannot try out for that show. Because those were the voices that had cut through. It’s changed so much, we’re hearing so many genres and so much talent.
MC: The 2022 ARIA awards are on next week and you’re nominated for best live act. We’ve been friends a while so I know this is the one you always really hope to win because it goes beyond you and represents your entire team.
AS: Absolutely and after doing this tour even more so. Being a solo female artist in the pop world, is a really unique experience. I was out there doing hair and makeup and it’s literally me up on that stage. It was grueling and at times it’s not pretty. But because I have such a tight band and such a great production team, we really had to all be there for each other. They need me to show up and give it my all on the night and I need them to do the same. It really is a team effort. A lot of bands win that award, rather than solo artists, and I feel like, well, they got so many people to lean on. It’s just such a nice thing to be able to win it for the whole for the whole Amy Shark team.
MC: You’re on the December marie claire cover having won Entertainer of the Year at our Women of the Year Awards. What does this mean to you?
AS: It’s amazing because marie claire is such a credible, classic, and high-end magazine. The fact that you guys even know my name, and have supported me and think I’m good enough to take out that award, and even be associated with the magazine is so special. Entertainer of the Year is a really big award and I really try so hard to be a performer that is interesting and captivating. It’s nice to have people respect the work that goes into that and are on board with what I’m doing.
MC: We had a lot of fun shooting the cover with you. How was that experience?
AS: I didn’t start writing songs to be a model. I don’t think I’m a model. I hate most of what goes into photo shoots but people on my team ask me how that shoot went, and I tell them, ‘I’ve never felt so gorgeous.’ I know on the day I was joking with you and the fashion team about it, but seriously, I’ve never looked better than I looked that day. And I never will. I’m always so intimidated on shoots and I’ve never liked them, but it was such an amazing team, and everyone gave me so much confidence.
Amy Shark’s new single, I Only Wanna Be With You is out now; To vote for Amy Shark for Best Live Australian Act at this year’s ARIA awards head here.