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Big fish in bigger pond: Amy Shark announces tour, album

Culture

Weeks after snaring two awards at this year’s ARIAs, Gold Coast singer-songwriter Amy Shark has announced the release date for her highly anticipated second album Cry Forever and a 2021 headline tour playing the biggest venues of her career.

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Due for release on April 30, Cry Forever follows on from her hugely successful debut album Love Monster, which featured singles including breakthrough hit ‘Adore’, ‘I Said Hi’, ‘All Loved Up’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘Mess Her Up’.

Love Monster debuted at No.1 on the Australian charts when it was released in July 2018 and earned Shark a platinum record and ARIA Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Artist and Best Pop Release. But despite the pressure to replicate that success with Cry Forever, Shark said she was feeling more confident this time around.

“I’m going to be honest, the album’s been done for a very long time,” Shark told InQueensland.  “I guess what COVID offered me was the chance to sit with the whole body of work, which I just didn’t have the time to do with Love Monster, because the world was in full swing.

“I put as much effort in as I possibly could [with Love Monster] but I was on the road a lot, so I feel like there were some songs where I was kind of like, ‘yeah, yeah I think that’s good’ but with this one, I got to sit there and hibernate in my studio at home for months and months, and just made sure every song was exactly what I wanted for this album.  This album was probably even more important to me than the first one.”

Shark has just released ‘All the Lies About Me’, the third single from her forthcoming album, and announced a mammoth tour that will kick off at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on June 12 and includes dates at HOTA on the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s Riverstage on June 25 and 26 respectively.

She will also be performing at venues including Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, Wrest Point Lawns in Hobart, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Perth’s RAC Arena and admitted she was “a little nervous about some of the sizes of these places”.

“Obviously someone in my team is super positive and just going for it, which I respect,” she said. “But just having these shows in the calendar and knowing that I’m touring then and the album will be out … I think the most important thing you can do is write an album that you truly love, that you love playing, and you’re proud of – and I really am proud of it and I’m so excited people will get to hear these songs live.”

‘All the Lies About Me’ is a typically revelatory track, that sounds equal parts self-effacing and venom-spitting, with heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics such as “You’re making up shit and you know it / Picking up my heart just to throw it / And I start to believe all the lies”.

“Obviously every song that I write is about something or someone and it’s very personal and direct,” she said of the song. “I’m trying to be a better person this time around and not really air so much dirty laundry.

“I mean, every now and then I feel like getting a bloody milk crate and putting it in a busy part of the city and standing on it and just like telling everyone what I think and what has hurt me but as an artist you can’t really do that.

“You kind of just have to take a bunch of bullets, and you’re expected to be the bigger person and if you’re not, then you must be a crazy artist or you must have a massive ego, or be hard to work with, or all these other things and it’s like, ‘what if it’s not me’.

“A lot of the best songs come out when you’re a little on-edge and unsure and deflated, I guess.  The night I wrote that I was pretty deflated for a number of different reasons but, yeah, it’s just the balance of becoming someone who a lot of people know and there’s a lot of pressure and every now and then and it just builds up and builds up.

“I’m just grateful that I can deal with it through song … It always makes it hard around release time but I guess the night that I write songs or the morning I write a song I feel so much better, it’s like I’ve just talked it through with someone, so this album you’re getting another level of that from Love Monster – there’s so much more real talk on this album.”

Like most musicians, Shark has had her tour plans scuppered this year due to COVID-19 but she has still managed to have a busy and prosperous year, which has included playing alongside the likes of Alice Cooper, kd lang, Tina Arena at Fire Fight Australia in February; presenting Sony chairman Dennis Handlin with a lifetime achievement award at the Queensland Music Awards in February; and a well-received pre-match performance at this year’s NRL grand final in October.

Cry Forever’s first single ‘Everybody Rise’ – which garnered two ARIA Award nominations and picked up the trophy for Best Pop Release last month – was released in June and has received platinum accreditation and been streamed almost 20 million times worldwide.

The album’s second single C’Mon, a collaboration with Travis Barker, drummer with US pop-punk, Blink-182 was released in October and follows her collaboration with the band’s Mark Hoppus on Psycho on Love Monster. Cry Forever will also include a duet with Keith Urban entitled ‘Love Songs Ain’t For Us’.

“From what I recorded with Mark to collaborations with [US electronic duo] the Chainsmokers, to Travis to the song I have with Keith Urban, everything is happening very naturally, nothing’s been forced and everyone has loved the music.

“Travis hit me up ages ago and said ‘if you want to do a collab, we should do it’, and I just always wait for my right moment and the right song. These people are rock stars, they don’t need me – they’re doing me the favour so I have to make sure that I’ve got everything ready and prepared and it looks as professional as I can before I approach them.”

Despite counting herself as “one of the lucky ones” for the opportunities she’s been able to take advantage of despite the challenges 2020 has thrown her way, Shark said has her sights firmly set on continuing to make inroads internationally after successful overseas tours and performances on the Tonight Show and James Corden’s The Late Late Show in the US.

“The second that it’s safe to travel and to go abroad, I’ll be doing that for sure,” she said. “I mean, a lot of my core team is in LA and New York and I know it’s a mess over there but the second that we kind of get the green light and everything’s gotten a little safer, I’ll definitely be hitting the overseas market.

“This year was supposed to be my biggest year away from Australia,” she said. “We have a very strong Shark fan base around the world still happening, so all I can do is put out good music and hope they’re there when I come back.”

Visit Amy Shark’s website for tickets to her 2021 tour and to pre-order Cry Forever.

 

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