Mon­ster maker’s mo­ment

Af­ter early ca­reer set­backs, pop girl Amy Shark be­lieves her hugely pop­u­lar al­bum is worth ev­ery ARIA nom­i­na­tion, she tells James Wigney

Herald Sun - Hit - - COVER STORY - WATCH ARIA AWARDS, Chan­nel 9, tonight, 7.30pm. HEAR BEATS 1 with ZANE LOWE and AMY SHARK airs to­day at noon and 7pm at Ap­ple Mu­sic and then On De­mand. SEE AMY SHARK, Mar­garet Court Arena, May 11. On sale Mon­day, 11am. live­na­tion.com.au

AMY Shark’s top-ten, dou­ble-plat­inum hit I Said Hi is fa­mously a big, old “screw you” to all the peo­ple in the mu­sic in­dus­try who ig­nored or re­jected her early in her ca­reer, when she was strug­gling to get her mu­sic heard.

And there is a good chance that more than a few of those very same peo­ple will be in the room at tonight’s ARIA Awards in Syd­ney, where I Said Hi is nom­i­nated for Song Of the Year.

“I get to sing it to all of them too,” says Shark with a mis­chievous smile. “I was con­sid­er­ing go­ing off the stage and find­ing cer­tain peo­ple.”

Shark is up for six awards at tonight’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the best of Aus­tralian mu­sic, in­clud­ing Best Fe­male Artist, Best Pop Re­lease and the cov­eted Al­bum Of the Year for her No. 1 de­but al­bum, Love Mon­ster.

The Gold Coast pop star is ex­cited for the big night — “I like scrub­bing up when I get the op­por­tu­nity” — and is mak­ing the most of her place in the sun af­ter toil­ing away for years in ob­scu­rity and play­ing cov­ers to am­biva­lent crowds to fund her deeply per­sonal, orig­i­nal record­ings. She’s proud too — par­tic­u­larly to be nom­i­nated along­side Court­ney Bar­nett, Gur­ru­mul, Pnau and Troye Si­van for the Al­bum Of the Year — and has worked too damn hard for false mod­esty.

“This al­bum means the world to me — I have been wait­ing for so long to make an al­bum like Love Mon­ster and I think it’s worth all th­ese nom­i­na­tions,” she says of the pop gem that was nom­i­nated for a fur­ther three ar­ti­san ARIAs, win­ning pro­ducer of the year for M. Phazes and Dann Hume.

“I truly be­lieve it’s the best thing I have ever done and I am so proud of it. Whether it wins or not I am so proud that it got to the level of the Court­ney Bar­netts and ev­ery­one who is in this elite cat­e­gory.”

In fact she’s so en­joy­ing her mo­ment — hav­ing just an­nounced her big­gest home tour yet — that she’s even for­given those peo­ple who in­spired I Said Hi.

“That was me be­ing re­ally hard on my­self and re­ally bit­ter and kind of be­ing a sore loser,” she says. “I wasn’t on their radar be­cause my songs weren’t at the level that they prob­a­bly should have been. And I wouldn’t be sit­ting here with all th­ese amaz­ing nom­i­na­tions if I had maybe worked with one of those peo­ple. It all worked the way it should have gone and I am grate­ful for that.”

It’s been a ban­ner year for the 32-year-old Shark. She picked up Best Pop Re­lease and New­comer Of the Year for her EP Night Thinker at last year’s ARIAs but has taken her ca­reer to an­other level in Aus­tralia and around the world, with ap­pear­ances on US talk shows and at some of the big­gest fes­ti­vals in the world.

One of the peo­ple who helped her get there is Zane Lowe, who presents Ap­ple Mu­sic’s in­flu­en­tial Beats 1 ra­dio show/ pod­cast. This time last year the in­flu­en­tial Kiwi DJ made Shark Aus­tralia’s first artist to fea­ture on the Up Next se­ries, which has also helped the boost the ca­reers of artists such as Billy Eil­ish.

Sit­ting next to Shark af­ter the pair recorded an episode of

Beats 1 that will be avail­able to the tech gi­ant’s 50 mil­lion sub­scribers in 115 coun­tries around the world from this morn­ing, Lowe says he’s watched with sat­is­fac­tion as her ca­reer has gone from strength to strength and grat­i­fi­ca­tion that he was able to help her tell her story and bring her mu­sic to the wider world.

“When you hear some­one like Amy’s mu­sic and then see how it has res­onated and is find­ing its au­di­ence, you re­alise there is such a bright fu­ture there,” he says.

“I know Amy’s story. I know there were des­per­ate times as an artist where she thought peo­ple weren’t pay­ing her enough at­ten­tion and weren’t lis­ten­ing to the songs. So for Beats or Ap­ple or any of us to play a small part know­ing that she’s healthy and she’s record­ing and she has a ca­reer and she is mov­ing into are­nas — she has prob­a­bly bought a f---king house — then that’s a great thing isn’t it?”

Lowe has been in Syd­ney this week to present mas­ter­classes, re­con­nect with lo­cal tal­ent, present an award tonight and is host­ing shows with Gang Of Youths (to­mor­row) and Dean Lewis (Fri­day). He has also put to­gether a playlist called The New Aus­tralia, fea­tur­ing lo­cal hip-hop artists in­clud­ing Briggs, Kwame and Sampa the Great — and also namechecks Aussie acts such as Ru­fus Du Sol, Troye Si­van and Flume as ev­i­dence that the mu­sic com­ing up from Down Un­der right now is as strong and di­verse as it’s ever been.

“WHEN YOU HEAR SOME­ONE LIKE AMY’S MU­SIC ... YOU RE­ALISE THERE IS SUCH A BRIGHT FU­TURE”

“I TRULY BE­LIEVE IT’S THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE AND I AM SO PROUD OF IT”

DJ ZANE LOWE AND SINGER AMY SHARK AF­TER RECORD­ING THEIR EPISODE FOR BEATS 1

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