Forced time out from performing and touring during the pandemic did not open the creative flood gates for singer-songwriter Amy Shark.
Unlike the many artists who wrote prolifically during that time, Shark felt stifled. She reckons she does her best writing when she's in motion.
"A lot of people thought that COVID would be an easy time for artists to write but it was emotionless for me," she said.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm always working ahead, I always have stuff in the bank. When I finished my first album I was already well into my second before anyone really knew about it. By doing this massive tour I think I will go on another writing binge. It's going to be good."
Shark is referring to her 42-date tour of regional Australia that kicks off in Bunbury in Western Australia on May 19 and finishes up at Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns on August 29. As for the capital, she will be at Canberra Theatre on July 7 and 8.
"It's a very tempting time to head overseas again, to get back to North America and Europe and the UK," she said.
"But before that happens, there are just so many parts of this country that have been starved of music - even before the pandemic - so it felt like a really cool thing to do. I've still got that hustle in me, you know, from the last 15 years of trying to get somewhere in the industry, and that doesn't go away.
"I feel that there are people in towns out there who have probably never heard of me and are definitely not fans of mine, and so I get something out of trying to win them over. And to do that I have to go to them."
It's difficult to imagine an Australian who hasn't heard of Shark. She burst onto the music scene in 2016 with debut single Adore followed by the APRA-award-winning I Said Hi.
Her 2018 debut album Love Monster won four ARIA awards and was nominated for another five. On her latest album, Cry Forever, she teamed up with Blink 182's Travis Barker for C'MON and co-wrote Love Song's Ain't For Us with Ed Sheeran featuring Keith Urban.
Her music has more than 798 million combined global streams but you wouldn't know it, speaking to Shark. She is grounded and humble and genuinely thankful for every person who supports her music.
She "had a moment" on stage at the Rod Laver Arena on March 4, she says, while looking out over a sea of people singing along to her songs.
"There were a few reasons I was emotional. One, we were back performing, and two, I allowed myself to think 'Holy shit, we got to Rod Laver Arena. How did this even happen?'. It felt not that long ago I was living this whole other life where no one even knew I existed.
"When you're playing a show you are juggling so many things and thinking so many things - you are remembering lyrics and the chord progression of the par, you try to connect with the audience, you're putting on a show. But this night, I allowed myself to take it all in."
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