If you haven’t been following Amy Shark‘s rise to fame because you think she’s just another pop act made for radio, you need to give yourself an uppercut… actually, give yourself two! Amy’s story is not only impressively inspiring, but once you dig deep into her music career and the bands/musicians who inspired it, you’ll find you have A LOT more in common with her than you think.
Shark’s career kicked off on the Gold Coast, loooong before she donned the apex predator pseudonym and dorsal fin and those early beginnings are where I’m going to focus on. Those years ignited that flame that helped her get to where she is now, taking over the world and collaborating with some of the alternative music scene’s biggest names – including blink-182‘s Mark Hoppus on ‘Psycho‘ and now the GOAT himself, Travis Barker. These two icons, along with the missing piece of the collaboration trifecta, Tom DeLonge, not only played a massive part in her career and songwriting skills, but also in getting her voice heard when she used to cover their songs on YouTube way back in the day.
Unfortunately, those videos were taken down as Amy’s career took off, but the OG fans will always remember that’s where it all began… However, for those who missed it, she spoke candidly about the impact that band had on her songwriting:
“That’s how I learnt [to write], that’s how I became addicted to listening to blink songs and the way… Tom [DeLonge] wrote on Box Car [Racer], his care factor was zero. They just write what you feel, and write the story how it went down and not be scared and not filter yourself. And, you know, every now and then who gives a fuck if there’s no chorus or who cares, as long as the motion is there and you’re getting out what you need from the song.
At the end of the day, that’s why I started, [it was] pure therapy! And Tom I know for a fact obviously went through some rough times growing up and that’s what I used it for as well, you know, just used it to get through really crazy times… you know, just growing up!”
“Everything that I write is inspired by those artists like Tom, it’s just having the balls to write the way you want to write and not care about anything else…”
But what happens when you go from that fan, writing music inspired by your heroes, to then – HAVING THEM AS A GUEST ON ONE OF YOUR OWN FUCKING SONGS?? The latest offering is what I’ve dubbed the “lover encouragement support song” titled ‘C’mon‘ and featuring Travis Barker adding his unique drumming beats to give the song a punkier feel, despite it’s slower tempo. That’s the million dollar question we all want to know and Sharky was more than willing to take us inside her mind to try and explain what that feeling was like to live out, revealing:
“It’s so funny ’cause… I go through stages where I’m in work mode and I’m like ‘Ok, cool have we got that vision of Travis? Have we got this, have we got that? Ok cool’ but then I’ll have a moment… and the biggest moment for me was when I saw the video back once it was cut together and I was like ‘I have Travis Barker in a music video, with me’, and I think it’s probably one of my favourite music videos I’ve ever done…”
“I watch it and I’m like ‘I can’t believe it like I can’t actually believe this is happening’ and Travis knows my name, and so does Mark [Hoppus], so does Tom [DeLonge]…”
“You go through so many years going to their shows… just adoring these punks because they helped us through so many weird times of our life, like as struggling teens trying to work it all out… seeing these people and working with them and having them kind of be my friend now, is so bizarre, but you just have to work out how it works for you and I’ve just had to work hard at finding that balance.”
Not gonna lie, if any of those legends asked to be my friend, I’d probably fall to the floor in a pool of my own tears (I lost my shit at Disneyland in 2014 when Travis followed me on Twitter), but hearing Amy hold it together so professionally gives us all hope that one day, meeting our heroes and working with our idols can actually go down well, without the crazed fanboy/girl crying involved.
On the subject of working with the trio, I pressed further about the possibilities of a Tom DeLonge collaboration on her upcoming, yet-to-be-announced album OR the unexpected angle of Amy making an appearance on Angels & Airwaves’ forthcoming release, to which she cheekily laughed and stated:
“[laughs] Oooh, so many questions, so many questions with not many answers that I can really deliver. Obviously, I don’t want to play favourites but Tom’s voice and his lyrics and his music has just really soundtracked some very heavy moments for me, so, nothing is in concrete just yet, but just know, I guess it looks like that’s what I wanna do…”
And when quizzed about a potential return to those “pop punk” roots from earlier in her career/YouTube cover days, the outlook is slim, but not completely off the cards:
“Hmm I mean I’m never gonna say no, I guess secretly deep down I’m waiting for some band to say ‘hey do you want to write a cool record with us and like sing on it?’ I don’t think it’d be Amy Shark… I don’t know, maybe I’d dabble [and] dip my feet into some other project with another band or whatever.
I think deep down what I’d really love to do is I’d love to work and maybe executive produce a band, you know, like a punk band. I think that would be a lot of fun, so we will see!”
“There’s so many cool bands that are around at the moment and Shane [Billings], my partner’s just started a management company called Rage More so he’s looking and we’ve got some exciting artists that he’s looking at and I’m just excited to be involved in the songwriting process and the album creation for just up and coming artists and bands, I think it’s gonna be really fun”
Always thinking about the next breed of upcoming talent is something that makes Amy Shark such a pleasure to follow and be a fan of. As you can see, hear and read, she’s just that girl from the Gold Coast who FINALLY got the big break she deserved and is still continuously having her mind blown with all of the success and opportunities that come her way.
We may not get to talk about her as much as we’d like to here at Wall of Sound, but hopefully after reading this piece and giving the interview below a listen, you can come to see the talent and bright spark she has (in a different light) that I have seen in her since those early years… The blink-182 loving legend who is paving her own way through the music scene!
So stoked for you Amy, never EVER doubt yourself in anything you do… that goes for you reading this right now too!
Words by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Stream via your fav podcast app here
Stream ‘C’mon’ ft. Travis Barker right here