Amy Shark And Her Army Of Broken Hearts
Amy talks about her new single “Everybody Rise”, signature hairstyles and finding herself in the music industry.
Amy Shark is more than just a staple for your breakup playlist.
The 34-year old recording artist from Queensland, Australia rose to subtle yet substantial fame in the indie-pop scene in less than four years, has peaked at the Australian and US charts multiple times now, and can call herself the proud creator of the platinum-certified album “Love Monster”.
Shark’s swift rise was undoubtedly underscored by her ability to authentically capture feelings in her lyrics and describe personal experiences in such a distinctive and precise way that her audience feels heard, developing a deep connection to the woman behind the microphone.
Especially in her new single “Everybody Rise” Shark manages to unite her listeners in their memories of unrequited love and heartbreak, reminding them that they are not alone and that there is “an army of broken hearts” marching with them, as the artist has stated herself.
In Shark’s music, we can recognize something that has last been acknowledged in neo-soul singer Lauryn Hill - a woman who has made it to the upper echelon of female musicians and whose musical legacy is still visible today in artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar.
Both Hill and Amy possess the rare ability to utilize vulnerability and hurt in order to create raw and personal art.
Whether Amy is singing about heartbreak in a way that is almost confessional, is reminiscing about memories of her past, or talking about the love in her presence, her audience is engulfed in the world of her songs. This is why we interviewed this July.
My first question is about something that I noticed after I bulk-watched a lot of your music videos. How did this half up, half down, bun hairdo, become your signature hairstyle? You really branded yourself there in the same way Ariana branded herself with a long ponytail.
Amy: (Haha) It started by accident really. I grew up near the beach and me and my friends would go there a lot. When leaving we would always have soaking wet hair, so we pulled it back in these small buns. Then I wore it for one show, and someone told me they really love my hair, so I stuck with it, and it evolved into this alter ego. I feel like a different person wearing it on stage, and it allows me to fully be myself when I perform.
Wow, this is so cool and way deeper than I expected (haha). Talking about being an artist and performing, in your earlier interviews you talked a lot about how you were struggling with adjusting to being famous, establishing a routine, and finding yourself in that role as a world-famous artist. A couple of years later, has that changed?
Amy: Yes, because I think I know what I’m doing now (haha). With Adore, my first album, I didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing, and then it sort of became this surprise hit.
Music was a big escape for me and also very personal. At first, I never wanted to share it with everyone. I just kept it to myself like a little secret or something. I maybe told my best friend about one song I wrote that I felt really excited about, but it took a while until I was ready to share and perform.
When I started recording and working with production, I went in not knowing what to expect.
So, it took a lot of getting used to for me to become ready for the next album.
But I feel so much more confident now. I really do. I produced these really great strong songs without having to rely on production too much, or anyone else’s but own abilities.
What exactly helped you settle into this new role, aside from your friends and family?
Amy: My husband helped me through the hard times more than everyone else. I got a lot of support from him.
That actually brings me to my next question. You write a lot of songs about heartbreak and reflect on the negative sides of love a lot in your music. “Everybody Rise” is a good example because you are thematizing unrequited love there... All of this although you are happily married. How come?
Amy: (Haha) Some of my experiences [with love and heartbreak] just hit me very hard when I lived through them. There is a lot that I am still struggling with.
I’ve always loved writing lyrics and expressing myself through it, so writing these songs has become some sort of a big therapy session.
A lot obviously happened before I met my husband, but it just gives me the opportunity to work through it now.
I find your messages so interesting by the way. You describe your experiences so clearly and distinctively that it just seems so relatable and it's material that someone can really identify with. It makes people feel reflected and seen in such a special way.
Amy: Yes! I am glad you get it!
With the new album, you wanted to create a body of work that is really different and you really took your time on this one. How exactly is it different though? Has the message you want to convey changed or does it just represent growth as an artist?
Amy: I just grew a lot as an artist. I am way more confident now. The edgy roar and this sort of angsty fire in the lyrics and the stories are still there, but in this album, the melodies are stronger, I think my articulation and my lyrics have become way better, and there is also better production.
The message is still consistent with what I have been saying in the first album, except for the moments that I describe now where I go in the streets and people recognize me. But the message has not changed overall.
In an interview about “Everybody Rise,” you very passionately talked about this “army of broken hearts”. Could you elaborate on that?
Amy: I’ve spoken about unrequited love so much in my past songs, but this one is different. In the story and verses, it’s completely me, but in the chorus, I bring everyone together. “Everybody rise!” Just saying the chorus is very empowering and makes you feel very strong.
That is so amazing! There is this question that I am burning to ask you since I saw a picture of you and a certain Mr. Ed Sheeran on your Instagram. It looked like you guys were songwriting. What was meeting Ed Sheeran like, and are you guys working on something?
Amy: It was amazing. I can now say that I got to work with Ed Sheeran. I can now say that we are friends and that I speak to him all the time. I got a very exciting project coming up that I worked on with him, and I am excited for you to hear it!
Overall, there is way more material to come, and you will like it. I promise (haha).
Lastly, because you have become such a staple in my breakup playlist, what is your advice on getting over heartbreak?
Amy: At first, it feels like you will never be normal again, but someday you will wake up, and all of a sudden you will feel normal, refreshed, and stronger. It sort of just disappears after a while, and will you come out stronger from it.
I see that message reflected in your lyrics. The experience is always portrayed as really intense, and to me, it conveys that you need to live through it and feel it, but afterward, the experience will just fade away, sort of like a song, and you will get better and start anew.
Amy: Thank you so much for interviewing me!
Thank you so much for this interview!
Everybody Rise embodies the message that is at the heart of Amy’s music: You are not alone and there is no shame in feeling lonely and heartbroken.
Whenever we experience any sort of emotional pain, we usually feel like we want to bury ourselves and never come out again, so there is something really powerful about someone exposing their heart in front of millions and openly talking about their past experiences and emotional scars like it’s nothing to hide or harbor.
When we listen to “Everybody Rise” we learn that our personal pain does not have to isolate us from each other, instead, we can show our scars openly, connect over what is an essential part of our human experience, and march together as what Amy Shark perfectly coined as an “army of broken hearts.”
Up next, Introducing Alexina – We Talk New Music, Lockdown And Dating Disasters