Amy Shark, the newly unveiled cover star of Rolling Stone AU/NZ, knows a thing or two about writing a successful song. So, it’s probably wise to trust her when she says she can’t fathom why a singer-songwriter like Adam Newling doesn’t have a massive hit to his name yet.
The Australian Idol judge was revealed to be the next cover star of Rolling Stone AU/NZ, and she granted the magazine unprecedented access to her life, opening the doors to her Gold Coast home and studio as she put the finishing touches on her next album.
During her in-depth cover story, Shark considered what it takes for an artist to create a huge hit today. “The avenues to do that now are so minimal,” she insisted. “You know, we saw it with (Tones and I’s 2019 song) ‘Dance Monkey’.”
According to Shark, Newling’s ‘Singing Blackbird’, the singer-songwriter’s wistful indie-folk song released last year, deserved to attain the level of Tones and I’s inescapable anthem.
“I hear songs like that… And I’m like huge,” she said about Newling’s song. “Everything works in that song for me. Like everything. That is a great folk song. It’s a different sound, it’s great. There’s no part in that song that falls flat.”
As for why exactly ‘Singing Blackbird’ didn’t fly as high as ‘Dance Monkey’, Shark is unsure. “It just feels different these days,” she rued. “Like, I feel if that was a few years ago, that would have just… maybe that’s where the machine comes in… the universe decides when it’s your time, you know.”
Shark also felt the same way about one of her own songs: ‘Adore’ dominated her home country in 2016 – placing second on triple j’s Hottest 100 and earning her a nomination for Song of the Year at the ARIAs – but it didn’t perform as well in the US.
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“If I had already signed to a major and everyone already knew me, and ‘Adore’ was in that moment, in that time, I feel like it would have done so much more,” she pondered. “But I didn’t have anyone. I was worse off than Adam. I had nothing.”
As Shark’s success has proved, patience is key in modern music, with ‘Adore’ being quickly followed by two chart-topping albums.
Newling also has time on his side to find that “lightning bolt moment” song, as Shark puts it. The singer-songwriter started 2023 with a huge East Coast tour in support of his barnstorming single ‘Barmy’. That followed last year’s well-received, Half Cut and Dangerous EP, which featured key contributions from Ruby Fields and Skegss‘ Benny Reed.
He also appeared on the Laneway circuit this year, and endearingly made headlines when his bandmate, Tasman Wilson, got engaged onstage during his set to his girlfriend (and G Flip’s sister) Sammy Flipo.
You can read Shark’s full conversation in the March-May issue of Rolling Stone AU/NZ, which hit newsstands yesterday. The cover story chronicles the musician’s transformation from video editor for the Gold Coast Titans rugby league team to multi-platinum and ARIA Award-winning Australian Idol judge. Shark details the change in mindset from the guilt that accompanied her early rise to a new, unapologetic mindset where she now refuses to mute her successes.
The special Women In Music edition of the magazine also features The Veronicas and Kita Alexander in a stunning photo essay detailing their hopes for the music industry following the #MeToo movement, as well as a guest Editor’s Letter by music icon Tina Arena.
If you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe to Rolling Stone AU/NZ here.
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