THEAUSSIEWORD.COM interview with Montana Sharp.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
Growing up there was always music in our house. My dad was a piano player in the Melbourne scene during the 80s and 90s, and I was a terrible sleeper as a newborn, so he’d hold me with one arm and play piano with the other to get me to sleep – I guess that’s where it really all started! I took piano lessons from the ages of 7 – 18: classical, jazz, compositional – but I knew piano just wasn’t for me. I remember being ten or eleven and watching YouTube videos of these amazing child/teen singers on competition shows like Idol or America’s got talent, and I wanted to be like them. That’s what drew my interest to start singing.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I’m motivated/influenced by epic film soundtracks that get your heart racing, or make you cry, or immerse you in the plot. To me, all music should immerse you into the drama or gravitas of your own life. I always say that I like writing music that makes you feel like the main character in your own movie.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
I’d really love to play to a massive audience, like in an arena, and feel that hum of energy. I’ve just sung for an audience of 1000+ and that already felt like a huge rush, so I’m hoping to see what that would be like with even more people. I actually saw Lorde play at Sidney Meyer bowl last night, and the excitement that came out of that cheer that everyone made before she made her appearance on stage was so palpable. It’s overwhelming to experience it from the audience, so I wonder what it would be like on stage.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I’d love to tour in the future, but for now you’ll see me hopping around Melbourne in venues small and large. Best way to keep up to date is to follow me on instagram and facebook. I’m also continuing to work on my forthcoming EP which should be released later this year!
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
This release is a bit of a departure from my previous EP. I really wanted to go in an edgier and more playful direction and test the limits of what my vocals can do. My last EP was very artful and musically complex, I’d describe this release as fierce and energetic. Nevertheless, my music will probably always be described as epic and cinematic.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
Like most songwriters – my own life experience. It’s therapeutic to turn difficult feelings and/or experiences into something artful and beautiful, but also, I’m not too ashamed to say that there have been way too many songs of mine written in the bathroom!
The best songs I’ve written in my opinion have music and lyrics occurring simultaneously at the piano, it’s more natural that way, but I’m always jotting words down no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Yeah – I think a lot of my earlier work is coded in metaphors or third-person characters. I don’t write so much like that anymore; it might be less academic, but I think it’s more relatable and natural to say it how it is.
Success, what is the secret to it?
When I know I’ll let you know 😉 Maybe the secret to success is to stop worrying about the secret to success. That usually works in my experience.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
The Rolling Stone article was pretty cool, so was the shout out from Katie Noonan for my first release, but I love doing the single launches and shows and connecting with my audience, that makes it all worth it.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
If I’m 100% honest, I’m not inspired by the ‘stars’, I’m more inspired and motivated by my peers in the Melbourne community. Human jealousy aside, I love seeing the people I know, and love succeed, and I look up to and learn a lot from everyone, especially the artists that seem to be only a couple of steps ahead of me. I’m always watching 😉 but I’m always rooting for them.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Yep! More singles and EP to come.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
I feel like if I knew, I would never get there!
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
Least fave: social media/marketing – I really feel like it requires a different kind of intelligence that I just do not have. I hate trying to “sell” myself or my “brand”, it feels forced and phoney.
Fave: connecting with people. Music transcends so much bullshit.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
The Mamas, ACDC, Missy Higgins
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I think it’s changed so much even since Covid, but I think it’s all positive changes. TikTok is a massive change, and it’s cool that artists now have a potentially instantaneous way of connecting with an international audience. There seems to be a generation takeover occurring, and I can’t lie, I like it!
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
My music is much more appealing to the international market, like Europe – Aussie music is very natural and earthy and my music doesn’t quite fit into the landscape. That’s why it’s good for artists like me that a lot of things are done online these days.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I work as a session musician for other artists but none of it is really my intellectual property. I prefer writing alone because it’s so personal to me. That being said if Alanis Morissette gave me a call, I couldn’t possibly decline.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Make your own footsteps.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
Instagram is probably the best way! Thanks for all your support – every little bit of it helps.
Any last words?
That’s all, folks!