"'Adore' has changed my life, without a doubt."
You should forgive Amy Shark if she sounds overconfident talking about her upcoming debut album, Love Monster. It's an album that represents the work of two eras: the first, Shark's years as an emerging singer-songwriter on the Gold Coast labouring away and perfecting her craft behind the scenes; the second, the two years following the release of her single Adore, which changed her life overnight and propelled her into the Australian consciousness, opening doors to the global stage.
"I knew this record was going to be special. And even if it's not for anyone else, it's special to me and I'm very proud of it," she tells. "It's been such a long time coming and I wanted it to be as big as it could be. I think when you listen to all the songs, there's a lot of stories that are really sweet and about passion and love and everything. Then there's a lot of songs about jealousy and insecurity.
"I've put every bit of energy into this record so I'm very protective and attached to it. The second it comes out is going to be a very good feeling."
Shark's journey to her debut album displays a relentless work ethic; writing songs non-stop on the road and building on the confidence and acclaim that Adore and her subsequent EP, Night Thinker, have brought. Tours around the US and a notable appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden also solidified Shark's reputation as a live performer, but it's songwriting that the Gold Coast resident prides herself on. Winning the recent Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition for Adore (ahead of Gang Of Youths' Dave Le'aupepe who was shortlisted for multiple tracks) lined her coffers with a healthy $50,000 prize, but it's arguably the recognition of her craft that Shark has derived more value from.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
"That's a special one, because it is based on songwriting. That's what I am and that's what I really love doing, so to be recognised as a songwriter is very important to me. Obviously, the prize money has made touring a lot more comfortable. The goal is to spread me as an Australian artist as far as possible, and that was a real game changer. It was amazing."
That songwriting spark wasn't just noticed by fans in her own backyard. It's drawn attention worldwide, leading to collaborations with Lorde's producer Joel Little, songwriter/producer and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff, as well as an appearance by blink-182's Mark Hoppus on Love Monster. When the opportunity came to work with these big names, Shark was still unwilling to become complacent.
"That was such an incredible experience. It was all done in one week, which was mentally and physically draining," Shark adds. "I'm not the type to ever be in a room creating songs with people. When it's locked in that I'm going in with Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, I put so much pressure on myself. Even though my whole team was like, 'Just go and have fun and go and do what you do best and work, and if nothing comes out of it, then nothing comes out of it.' But it's like, 'That's bullshit, we all want something to come out of this. These are very big producers that are costing us a lot of money and we all want great songs to come out of it.'
"But Mark - [working with him] was such a crazy experience. When I rocked up at the studio, it was in the [San Fernando] Valley in the Foo Fighters' private studio and about six people came out to the car to greet me - getting my bags, asking what I want for lunch, do I want a coffee - and a guy was ready to give me a tour of the studio.
"It was such a crazy experience being in a studio with Hoppus. He ended up writing a verse on this song I had already written and it's probably one of my favourites on the album.
Despite Adore's release two years ahead of her debut album, Shark admits there were no reservations about including it on Love Monster. "It's the same as when Royals was on Lorde's [album] and Riptide was on Vance Joy's - it's an absolutely idiotic move not to have it on there, I reckon. It's my debut album, people are still learning about it all over the world. So it's a great opportunity for me to have it on a full body of work to keep promoting the song, I think it deserves that.
"Adore is the reason I've been able to do a debut record, which I never thought I'd ever get to do. I guess you can put every cent into it and not get much out of it, but it's really nice knowing I'm going to release this album and people will actually hear it. Adore has changed my life, without a doubt."