Amy Shark has experienced many career highs over the past couple of years — winning eight ARIA Awards, for example.
The singer-songwriter-guitarist from Queensland, who experienced global success with the release of her 2016 single Adore, has been on a steady upward trajectory that has seen her perform on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, collaborate with Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker and appear on a single with The Chainsmokers.
Yet, despite all of these milestones (and many more) when Ed Sheeran contacted Shark to set up a writing session, she thought that one of her friends was playing a joke on her.
“I thought someone was screwing with me for a minute,” Shark told POPSUGAR Australia. “I just remember it took me so long to construct a reply back that didn’t sound so gushy.”
It’s symbolic of Shark’s humility that she seems apprehensive about divulging how Sheeran, ostensibly one of the world’s biggest recording artists, came to be emailing her in the first place.
“I sound like a total idiot when I keep telling these names, but Russell Crowe was kind of an avid supporter from the start when Adore was released,” Shark said. “And he just started tweeting and retweeting me. So I just reached out to him and said, ‘Thank you, thanks for supporting me, I’m also a huge fan of yours’. And then as the friendship kind of grew, he really enjoyed my album and he just ended up sending my albums to Ed.”
In January of 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic saw the world come screeching to a halt, Shark traveled to London to commence the writing process with Sheeran — an exercise that yielded Shark’s latest single Love Songs Ain’t For Us featuring fellow Aussie artist, Keith Urban.
The track was born after Sheeran asked Shark if she ever wrote love songs about her husband, Shane Billings, to which she replied she did but they weren’t the typical romantic ballads because they just aren’t that type of couple.
“Love songs aren’t really for us,” Shark told the Shape of You singer to which he said “ok, that’s what we’ll do then.”
Love Songs Ain’t For Us appears on Shark’s upcoming album Cry Forever which was written and recorded between the US, UK, New Zealand and Shark’s home studio on the Gold Coast. According to Shark, the entire album benefited from the wisdom of Sheeran and the lessons she learnt from him during their session.
“I can’t even explain the lessons I learnt that day I learned so much,” Shark said. “But I think probably the biggest lesson, or the biggest thing he ever said to me — that I’ll use forever until I die — is before I left the house, we were listening to the song back from the day and he said ‘Don’t overcook this. It’s so strong on its own. Just give it what it wants, not what you think it needs.”
She continued, “I went back to my studio at home and I went through my album with a fine tooth comb. I was making sure that everything was supposed to be there and what the sound wanted. And if anything sounded like it was grinding against the side, I took it out. And I just said ‘I’m gonna do that for the rest of my life.’ Just really kind of surrender to the song.”
The end result is a collection of songs that Shark is looking forward to sharing with her fan base, along with fan favourites from 2018’s Love Monster, on tour — COVID-19 restrictions permitting.
“Fingers crossed, it can all go ahead. I’m definitely looking forward to doing the Australian tour,” Shark said.
“They’re very big places — Rod Laver Arena is somewhere I never thought I’d ever get to play. So I’m looking forward to that and just praying that it can go ahead. I’ve got this album that I’ve had for so long, I’ve started working on more things and more songs. So, I think I’m just gonna keep plodding along and keep trying to put good music out and see what this album does.”