Music Spotlight: Amy Shark
In case you have been living in obscurity for the last two years I’m here to tell you about an incredibly gifted singer-songwriter, who might just be Australia’s answer to Julia Michael’s.From her poetic storytelling lyrics to her acoustic pop instrumentals, Amy Shark is a musician who’s quickly capturing the attention of the world. Amy Louise Billings better known by her stage name Amy Shark, is an ARIA award-winning Australian indie pop singer-songwriter and producer from the Gold Coast, Queensland. She is best known for her 2016 single “Adore”, which was voted in at number 2 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2016. Her debut album “Love Monster” debuted at number one on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart.
Her parents split when she was still a toddler after which she was raised jointly by her mother, Robyn, and her stepfather, David Cushway. Amy also has a stepbrother named Mitch who is 6 years her junior. As for her biological father, she revealed to smh.com.au that she didn’t speak with him for a very long time until she got famous and they had an interaction on Twitter. Growing up, Amy attended Southport State High School where she began showing an interest in theater. Her stepbrother, however, had an electric guitar which was given to him by their grandparents when he was about 8. One day, Amy saw him playing it and thought to herself that if Mitch could play the guitar, she could as well do well at it.
To add purpose to her music interest, Amy joined a girl band where she played mainly the guitar but didn’t sing because she was shy. Following her graduation from high school, she met New Zealand-born Gold Coast resident Shane Billings (future husband) who also shared a great passion for music like her. When her girl-band days were over, Shane encouraged her to continue her love for music and pursue a career in it. He booked her for performances and wrote severally to people asking them to hear her sing. Amy Shark gained an audience with some performances, others were terrible but in all, she got better, wrote more songs and remained focus on the big picture with Shane.
Amy Shark’s first recorded single came in 2014 and was titled “Spits on Girls”.This was followed by “Golden Fleece” and her APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) award-winning single, “Adore” both in 2016. The song charted favorably in her home country at number 3, 8 in the New Zealand Music Chart, 32 in the US Alternative Songs chart, and 17 in the US Adult Alternative Songs chart. “Adore” received significant airplay on Triple J, which led to a bidding war between the major labels, which was ultimately won by Sony Music Australia, with whom Shark signed in November 2016. She said “After meeting with the Wonderlick team and Denis Handlin at Sony, I felt right at home. I am so excited to now focus all my energy on my music.”
In early November 2017, She was named Apple’s next Apple Music Up Next artist, and on 15 November 2017 she was featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden performing her song “Adore” which she performed again on 13 March 2018 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In March 2018, She contributed the song “Sink In” to the Love, Simon soundtrack. In 2017, she recorded the singles: “Weekends”, and “Drive You Mad” which were then added to her album “Night Thinker”.
Then in 2018 came “Love Monster”, Amy Shark’s debut record. Shark said “I think I want to start explaining it like the first two seasons of a great series you’ve just found. It’s full of so much drama. There’s first loves, there’s rejection and lies and beautiful moments and nasty moments and there’s a death. It’s a great series.”
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2018, “Love Monster” won Album of the Year, Best Female Artist and Best Pop Release. “I Said Hi” was the album’s lead single, released on 13 April 2018. It reached the top 10 and peaked at #6 in Australia. The song is about overcoming adversity and a nod to perseverance. Shark explains: “It’s about the struggle of the ups and downs of the industry. It hasn’t been a complete Cinderella story for me from day one. It’s taken a while.” “Don’t Turn Around” was originally released on 8 June 2018 as an album pre-order track, and was later confirmed as the album’s second single. In a statement, Shark said: “It’s a song that talks about the desire to run into someone you have feelings for, a history with who knows you too well.”
“Psycho” was released on 22 June 2018 as the album’s third single. The song tells the emotional, relatable saga of vulnerability and the complications that often come with falling in love. The track features vocals from Blink-182 front man and bassist, Mark Hoppus. “All Loved Up” was released to radio on 3 August 2018 as the album’s fourth single. The following week, it was the most added song on radio. “Mess Her Up” was released digitally on 1 March 2019 as the album’s fifth single.
As sad as the songs are, the lyrics and the music makes for a beautiful orchestra of sound. As captivating as her hit single “Adore” was, it is easy to get lost in the beautiful world of this record, as each song holds it’s own. My favourite song on “Love Monster” has to be the breath taking “I’m A Liar”. From start to finish this song embodies a story that you can envision as you listen to the soulful sound of Shark’s vocals.
The album has an impressive 14 track listing, “Love Monster” will have listeners reacting emotionally from the tales on it, and the stories they can relate too.