Fresh off her “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” appearance earlier this week, Australian indie-pop singer-songwriter, Amy Billings who goes by the stage name Amy Shark, performed at her first ever SXSW to much fanfare. Shark told the crowd she was pre-warned about how challenging performing multiple shows per day at SXSW could be. “I’m a professional; I adapt,” she told the crowd before diving into her well received and energetic set.

Clip from Amy shark’s SXSW 18 Live Performance at The Black Heart in Austin, TX

While performing a set curated by The Current from Minnesota Public Radio, Shark was authentically heartfelt. She sang about love while connecting with each person in the audience, most of whom were sweating in the 90-degree heat. Shark remained cool in her black Adidas track jacket, black jeans, black sunglasses and her hair tied in a high, messy bun. She screams cool. But not too cool that she wouldn’t give you the time of day. She would.

During the set Shark’s guitar strap kept falling off to which she powered through, smiling and laughing while not missing a beat. Shark is talented, which can have take her only so far. It’s her brilliantly genuine and good-hearted attitude that makes her an artist that should and will have staying power.

We caught up with Shark after her set to ask her if she feels she has adapted to SXSW. “I think I am doing alright,” she told us.  “I just kind of end up having fun anyway and I like playing my songs. It’s not a job for me. The atmosphere is going to be different everywhere, so it’s fun. It’s good.”

In 1996, when Shark was 10-years old, a mass shooting occurred in her home country, Australia. 35 people were shot and killed while 23 were left injured at a cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia. Immediately following the Port Arthur massacre, Australia passed some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Earlier this week, a study by Annals of Internal Medicine as reported by NBC News published that the Australian program to buy back firearms and tighten rules on gun ownership has prevented an estimated 16 mass shootings over two decades.

We asked Shark, as an Australian who tours in America, what she thinks about America’s youth saying enough is enough. Shark who had just had similar conversations with the members of her team said, “I think it’s incredible. It’s warranted, and it’s necessary. You guys, every time I check the news America’s got some crazy, crazy stuff going on. I feel very sheltered, but I am here a lot. I am trying to be as involved as I can because I am in your country so much.”

So what advice does she have for the hundreds of thousands of students who participated in National Walkout Day, “Just keep going until you make a change.”

The same goes for advice to Amy Shark: keep going until you make a change.


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