ALL EYES ON SHARK: Amy Shark is one of the headliners for Mackay's River Sessions Festival in June.
ALL EYES ON SHARK: Amy Shark is one of the headliners for Mackay's River Sessions Festival in June. Richard Dobson

How life has changed a lot for Amy Shark

IT'S 9am and I've woken one of Australia's hottest and most popular musicians from a sleep-in.

It's not long before the star is working at full speed - sassy, witty and ready to tell me exactly what's what.

Singer-songwriter Amy Shark has just been billed as a headline act at Mackay's River Sessions in June.

For the unfamiliar, she shot to fame in 2016 with the release of her song Adore which was instantly added to high rotation on Triple J.

The lucky Mackay audience can expect to see Shark performing her new album, Love Monster.

"Considering I haven't played there before it's probably a good idea to give everyone a taste of my own show out in Mackay," she said.

It's been a stellar few years for the artist, who has gone from strength to strength, finding huge popularity both abroad and in Australia.

"I have a big Australian tour this year. They are big arena type shows, so I have that on my mind at the moment, just getting it (the show) ready for those big performances, and I have just been working in the studio," she said.

The Gold Coast artist said she never expected to find such success in her own country, or internationally.

"I don't think that anyone expects it, even when it's all sort of happening and you can see it all in front of you. It's hard to take it all in and hard to accept that things are going that well... It's been a massive life adjustment just going from having a normal job, there are pros and cons but it's been awesome," she said.

Life has changed a lot for Shark, who is in her twenties and at the start of her career.

"You forget when you're at a cafe why someone might be looking at you a bit different, and it is really weird when you're not used to that," she said.

"Your whole life you go through not having people look at you or come up to you, so when they do it's like 'oh, that's right'.

 

SHARK ON STAGE: Amy Shark plays Falls Festival in Byron Bay.
SHARK ON STAGE: Amy Shark plays Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Shark's number one hit Adore has over 9million views on YouTube, while I Said Hi has over 37 million plays on Spotify.

Reflecting on that, she said the best part about her rise to popularity was how much people valued her contribution to the industry.

"No matter what happens people are going to hear my music when I put it out. I think that was the biggest fear of mine - that no one would hear them and they wouldn't get any traction," she said.

An average day in the life of Amy Shark, real name Amy Billings, looks different than it used to, but the artist said she had worked hard to get to where she is today, so she appreciates it.

"I do a lot of travel, so I'll be here or in LA, or I'll have a tour. It's just different, there is something different every day. Obviously, in between all of that I'm still writing songs, and thinking about the next sort of project," she said.

Shark found success with the help of some Australian industry heavyweights like Triple J and the ARIAs. Without the two organisations she wouldn't be where she was.

"Triple J will always be nearly the creators of Amy Shark because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't have been able to keep going. I wouldn't have been able to do an album, an EP, a tour or anything like that. To get them behind you and to have that sort of support is crucial to a lot of artists actually," she said.

Shark has been interested in music for as long as she can remember.

"It's hard to remember the first song that I wrote. I think I was about 13, and it was more of a funny song bagging out the people in the grade above me ... It was the first time I got a taste of the idea that I can write things that are funny and people laugh," she said.

"I just started to use that ability as therapy and get a little deeper and more serious rather than getting your guitar out at a party and making people laugh," she said.

Her unique sound is a blend of cool indie pop vocals, which she said she got from her parents.

"My parents were young when they had me, they were into cool music like The Cure and Silverchair, I was listening from such a young age, I think I knew Cure songs before I knew the words to Incy Wincy Spider," she said.

Why Amy Shark? Well, she loves sharks. It started as an overwhelming fear after watching Jaws, but Shark said she soon became obsessed.

"After that, I was partly petrified but also intrigued, so it's more of a scar on my brain. I love sharks now. I am obsessed with them. They are terrifying but I can watch them for hours and I do watch them for hours," she said.

River Sessions Mackay

When: June 29, 2019.

Where: JM Mulherin Memorial Park, Mackay Harbour

Who: Amy Shark, The Rubens, Middle Kids, ILLY, LDRU, Skegss and more.

Cost: 2nd release GA - $100.89



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