Amy Shark Opens Up About Her Future Ahead of Third Annual The Aussie BBQ [Q&A]

Photo: Jess Gleeson

Sounds Australia has been providing the cultural service of introducing the world to Australia's best new music for more than a decade. The Aussie BBQ SummerStage debuted in 2019 and saw almost 5000 New Yorkers turn up to see acts like Tkay Maidza, A.B Original, Hermitude, The Teskey Brothers, WAAX, and San Cisco perform. 

Last year's festivities brought Australian artists like Baker Boy, G Flip, and Haiku Hands back to the US for the first time since the strict lockdowns. This year's lineup stays the course of bringing the best of Australia's flourishing, diverse music scene over to the States.

This year's The Aussie BBQ, which will take place June 17 in New York City’s Central Park, will feature artists covering a wide range of musical tastes. They are brought together by their cultural relevance, including multiple ARIA Award-winner Amy Shark, whose gorgeous songwriting abilities have led to her working with Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Blink-182's Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus, Jack Antonoff, and more. She will be joined on this year's lineup by artists like the Paris Hilton-endorsed queer fairy icon Peach PRC, Korean-Australian bilingual rap group 1300, and the first Australian band to top triple j's top 100 Spiderbait.

Ones To Watch had the chance to talk with Shark about their upcoming performance at the annual festival, her creative process, and what the future has in store for her and her art.

Ones To Watch: We last spoke when you had just released your 2019 "Mess Her Up" music video, and since then, you've grown and evolved into such an international powerhouse in the singer-songwriter sphere, earning multiple ARIA Awards and working with Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Blink-182's Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus, Jack Antonoff and more. What's been your biggest music highlight since we last checked in?

Amy Shark: Oh wow, 2019! Yeah, I mean all those people you have mentioned are incredible and all career highlights for me. During the pandemic, when the borders were closed, we managed to get a big Australian regional tour up and running, which was huge. It was something crazy, like 60 shows across Australia, visiting some of the most remote parts of the country. It was really special to be able to take the time to do those shows and see fans from all over the country. 

How do you feel ahead of performing at this year's The Aussie BBQ in New York City?

I feel great! New York City is one of my favourite places in the world, and it's really cool to be playing with some great Australian musicians, celebrating Australian music. I'm really excited to be back.

How do you prepare yourself before performing in front of large crowds? Do you have a routine or ritual you like to do to get yourself ready?

I'm actually pretty chill backstage. I normally just have a beer with my band to calm any nerves; I play a little guitar. We usually play some hardcore rap/hip hop to pump us up, and then we go out and do our thing.

What is your favorite thing about Australia's music scene?

Festivals in Australia are pretty awesome. There is a real community vibe with the artists, and when you're traveling around the country playing festival shows, everyone gets to hang out, it's like a big summer camp.

Who is an Aussie musician that people should definitely be listening to right now? Other than yourself, of course!

I just saw Teenage Dads play, and they were awesome. Such good energy and a great live show. Another artist, if you're into pop music, is Peach PRC. Highly recommend checking her out!

You just released a single, "High On You," with Sam Fischer. Can you tell me what it was like working with them and how your creative partnership came to be?

Sam is such a sweetie! My manager was actually playing a song in his office, and I heard it from the studio and was like, who the hell is that, and he said, "It's a Sam Fischer" demo that he wants you on. I didn't even think, I just said yes. The song is epic, and I was proud to add some Shark to it. 

So much of your music is so heartfelt and relatable to so many people because of how honest you are in your lyricism. At least that's what I think! Where do you feel your inspiration comes from these days?

Songwriting is still my favourite thing to do, it doesn't feel like a job even though it is now. I've had a very colourful life filled with big up and hard downs, so I always have things to write about. I never plan what I write and I think that's the key to my songwriting, I just let my subconscious tell me what I wanna write about. It's hard to explain, but there are always unresolved issues that I didn't even know I had until I start writing.

Do you feel your songwriting process has changed at all since you began your artistic journey in 2014? Or is it still a very tried and true process that still consistently works for you?

I'd be lying if I said it hadn't changed a little bit... when you see behind the curtains of the music industry, it's hard not to be poisoned by it. I try and stay as unfiltered as possible and write the same as I always have. I try to be smart about it and take what I know now about music and songwriting and mix it in with what I've always done, and I usually get a good result. But it's a very hard balance to master as music brings out the opinions of everyone!

If you could say anything to the version of you from the beginning journey, what would you say to them?

I would say, "Amy, CHILL OUT! You're a good songwriter, and you deserve to be here! Stop beating yourself up, and remember to take some time to celebrate what you have managed to achieve!" 

At this time, can you share anything about the future of Amy Shark? Are there any release or tour dates we should be on the lookout for?

The future of Amy Shark ay! Many things are coming.. it's exciting cause I feel like, for the first time in a long time, I'm doing things completely my way.

"The future is unknown only because it has not been created yet. Create your own path, even in this troubled world, for we will not succeed in life if we follow another's footsteps." ~ The Shadow Dragon.

I've got a new track dropping on June 23 called "Can I Shower At Yours," that people should check out!

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