For years, Australian songwriter Amy Shark struggled to get her music heard. But that changed when her 2016 single "Adore" went quadruple platinum in her own country, paving the way for a debut album featuring collaborations with Jack Antonoff and one of her heroes, blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. As she found the confidence to present soul-baring material, that openness formed a sound—and story—that is definitively her own, but relatable to anyone. “Psycho,” her Mark Hoppus collaboration, is an honest, driving pop-punk admission to feeling paranoid and insecure at the start of a new relationship. The theme continues on “Leave Us Alone,” a dark reflection on self-destruction: “I don’t know who I am/I’m not fun anymore,” she sings. The Up Next alumnus tells Apple Music about trusting herself, working with big names, and opening up on her stunning, ARIA Album of the Year-winning debut.
What was the biggest lesson you learned while making this album? To not let anything slide. I worked on “All Loved Up” with Jack Antonoff. He’s such a big producer and it’s hard to give notes to someone like that. The biggest lesson was to be confident, be strong, and voice your opinion. At the end of the day, this is gonna be on my album forever.
What motivated you to keep going during all the difficult moments? Just the pure addiction to songwriting. I would’ve loved for radio to be playing me, but that wasn’t the main thing on my mind. Can I write a good song? That makes my day—I’m a bit of a weirdo like that. I don’t even really care if anyone hears it. I’m just like, “Oh, my god, that sounds great.”
What was it like to work with Jack Antonoff? I’ve heard artists say, “Oh, we were so excited, jumping around the room,” and I’m like, “Man, that must be lovely, but I’m such a loner when I write.” But we were putting together “All Loved Up” and once we reached the chorus, we just sat there and were like, “This is a f**kin’ song, man. This is really cool.”
You can hear that in “Psycho” too. I’ve got a real soft spot for that song. I wasn’t even gonna put it on the album. And when the opportunity came for me to do something with Mark [Hoppus], I thought, Maybe that could be its moment. I sent it to him and he said, “Amy, this is sick. I really wanna be a part of it.” I convinced him to sing on it and it all came together. It’s such a special, special song—such a moment for me as a songwriter.
Was it hard to put those personal thoughts and stories out there, especially on your debut? It’s never a challenge for me to write the songs—it has to be about something I care about. The challenge is the part where I’m like, Am I okay with talking about this?” For so long, I didn’t really have to talk about music, because I didn’t have anyone listening, so I was just using it for therapy. Or I might play it at a party in front of 12 people. Now, people are obsessing over why I’ve written it. But I don’t wanna hold back and start editing my songs because of that. And I think that’s why people like it—they need it.
I Got You
All Loved Up
I Said Hi
Never Coming Back
Leave Us Alone
Psycho (feat. Mark Hoppus)
Don't Turn Around
Middle of the Night
Mess Her Up
The Slow Song
I'm a Liar
You Think I Think I Sound Like God
14 SONGS, 47 MINUTES
JULY 13, 2018
℗ 2018 AMY SHARK UNDER EXCLUSIVE LICENSE TO THE WONDERLICK RECORDING COMPANY/SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD.