For singer, songwriter and guitarist Amy Shark, the experience of writing her new single Love Songs Ain’t For Us with Ed Sheeran was not only the opportunity of a lifetime, but the chance to write music in a different way.
“We were kind of wrestling with the verses and usually in that situation if it was just me by myself, the way I work is that I would switch it up if it didn’t come out straight away. I’m a bit of a brat where, if it’s taking me time, I just switch it up and I try something else,” Shark told The Latch.
She continued, “Ed grinds and keeps going until he’s got something for that chord progression because he knows that chord progression is great. And he knows the hook is strong so he just keeps climbing until we have a finished song. I’m so glad that we did because it’s such a great song.”
Not only is Love Songs Ain’t For Us a great song — and, according to Shark “about as loved up as she gets” — but it features none other than Australian legend Keith Urban. The track appears on Shark’s forthcoming album Cry Forever, the follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Love Monster.
It’s an album Shark is excited to tour, so long as COVID-19 allows, after the events of 2020 saw her (and everyone else) confined to her home. For Shark, however, the restrictions brought on by the ongoing pandemic proved to have a silver lining, especially for her new collection of music.
“If it was my normal life, I would have been on a single promo tour and I would have been bouncing from the States to the UK setting up Everybody Rise. But because that couldn’t happen, I was forced to just be there and actually give every song on the album my love and attention,” said Shark.
“I couldn’t really do that on Love Monster because when I released I Said Hi it was going quite well, so I was focused on that and getting videos done and just on that single promo trail. I still did the best I could have with the album, and I’m so proud of it still, but with this one, I got to really design it on every single song and give it so much attention.”
Reflecting on her career, which has seen her find global success, collaborate with music industry heavyweights and win eight ARIAS, the 34-year-old reveals that she has not been immune to the misogyny of the music industry.
“I definitely went through 10 years of being told, mainly by men, what I should do and how I should go about it and what I should write about and how I should look when I’m playing,” said Shark.
“The best thing that I tell other artists is the second I stopped listening to that, I started breaking through.”
Musing on the feedback she received for Love Monster, Shark revealed that oftentimes, people defaulted to attributing her success to the work of her male collaborators.
“I read a lot of comments, as you do with your debut album. You will obsess over it and read every review and read every comment. Because it’s your precious baby. And what I saw a lot of female artists and even male fans in general, were writing underneath stuff was; ‘Amy’s only good because she gets to work with this producer, Amy’s only good because of this reason or his songs, and her songs only get added because of this’”, she said.
“And I just got the sh—ts with it. And I was just like, I need to show people that I write the songs, myself and I write the melody, I write it on guitar, I produce them with producers, I’m there the whole time, everything is me. I just wanted to kind of show people that you can go and work with whoever you want, but I’m the main ingredient for my music.”
Fans can now see just how deeply involved Shark is with everything she releases in her six-part YouTube docu-series; Forever, Amy Shark, which details how Cry Forever — which drops in April — came to life.
“I can’t have people out there thinking that I am only out here for other reasons,” Shark confessed. “It was really important to me that every girl and guy knows that if you want to make it, you really need to hone your craft. You really need to show up and work hard because there is so much music being made.”
It hasn’t always been easy but Shark finally feels that she has the authority and experience to share these anecdotes with other artists, or other women in general, and to truly step into her power.
“It took me a really long time to have that confidence — confidence in a studio because a lot of the time they’re run by men,” Shark said. “I’m lucky that the guys I’ve worked with have been so great to work with, but I’ve also had to prove myself over time. There were definitely times in studios where I wasn’t taken seriously and I wasn’t even listened to. I was told ‘just sing the song and I’ll do the rest.’ That’s not how it is anymore for me, and it never will be like that again.”