Fresh from debut performances at 18 UK & European summer festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk, Electric Picnic and Black Deer, Northern Irish artist Amy Montgomery has riveted crowds this summer with her powerful voice and captivating live show. Amys latest single 'Season of the Witch' is released today and tonight's show in Belfast was upgraded to the Limelight 2 after selling out in less than 48 hours after her acclaimed Stendhal festival performance. Mark Millar caught up with Amy to talk about her music, influences and upcoming shows.
Hi, Amy can you remember when you first discovered your love of music?
AM: I have loved music for as long as I can remember and have always been surrounded by it thanks to my dad, who plays the guitar and has great musical taste! When I was in primary 2, I was on a Northern Irish TV show called 'School Around The Corner'. One of the questions the presenter had asked me was 'So Amy, who are your favourite singers?' and if I remember correctly, I told him 'Well of course Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton!!' Ha!
Who were your musical influences growing up?
AM: ACDC, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Eagles, Suzi Quatro, Dolly Parton, Bob Marley, Queen, Doris Day, Donna Summer...ah the list could go on. These are all influences that came from my parents. As I got older, I found interest in a lot of other music too.
You honed your amazing voice from relentless busking across Ireland. What experiences good and bad can you remember from those days?
AM: Ah, so many things happen when you're busking! People will buy you cups of tea to keep warm, others food so you don't lose your spot. One of the best things though is just the sheer audacity that somebody has to come over and tell you how much they're enjoying the music. I started busking to build my confidence, and to earn some cash, so these comments from others are what filled me up each day with determination and belief in myself as a musician.
You don't just have good experiences though, for that would be getting away far too lightly! I've had multiple elderly people walk past and shout at me that I need to be checked out by a doctor! I'm not sure if they meant my voice or my head! I am giggling to myself even thinking about this... They clearly didn't like the husky rock voice!
Over the summer you played 18 UK & European summer festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk, Electric Picnic and Black Deer. What were your highlights?
AM: One major highlight for me was after the Cambridge show. We sold out of CD'S twice, and the queue at the signing tent was mahoosive! I was more grateful than I can ever explain, that my music was touching so many different hearts.
Your first-ever headline Belfast show this Friday had to be upgraded to the Limelight 2 after selling out in less than 48 hours after your acclaimed Stendhal festival performance. How does that feel?
AM: It feels truly amazing. It's nice to feel like you're progressing, and I definitely feel like I am doing that. I think that myself and the band are completely ready, and have chosen the right time for headline shows. I can't wait to feel the energy in the Limelight 2 on Friday, it's giving me excited butterflies!
You will be heading to Australia in early October to perform at the coveted Dashville Skyline festival as well as support shows in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney with folk-punk balladeer William Crighton. Are you looking forward to the shows?
AM: Of course! This will be my first time in Australia and no better way than combining travelling with playing some shows. It feels completely surreal. I can't wait to meet everybody.
Your new single is a cover of Donavon’s 'Season of the Witch' - It’s a great track. Why did you decide to record that song?
AM: There was an opportunity to pitch this track to Sky Atlantic for their series 'Britannia'. So this was recorded for a pitch, and we decided to release it.
Your previous single ‘Tree Song (Branch Out And Nourish My Veins)’ has also just been nominated in the Single Of The Year category for the Northern Irish (NI) 2019 Music Prize Awards and you are also on the shortlist for the ‘Oh Yeah Contender’, a prestigious award supported by BBC Introducing Live for the best new NI act 2019. To say things are going well for you is an understatement.
AM: Thanks! I try my best to keep a neutral mindset throughout, but I, of course, am very grateful and excited for what lies ahead. I put my trust in the powers that be for things to fall into place.
You have released a string of singles and EP’s – when will you be putting an album out?
AM: Let's say 2020 at some point. There is no scheduled release date yet. I co-produce my music with Michael Mormecha, so everything is at our fingertips in that department and we already have lots recorded, it's just a matter of time and planning.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
AM: Fewer suits, more smiles!
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
AM: I enjoy sharing my energy with other people. Connecting, and touching hearts with my music. What I hate? Nothing really. Maybe some people's inability to understand the importance of music in life.
Do you have a favourite record that you always return to?
AM: Maybe Norah Jones 'Come Away With Me'. It's awesome.
What have you been listening to recently that you could recommend?
AM: Sharon Van Etten. Sharon Van Etten. Sharon Van Etten. Check out her latest album 'Remind Me Tomorrow'. It's a work of art.
Sept 27th – Limelight 2, Belfast UK (Headline) *Venue Upgrade*
Oct 2nd – Howler, Melbourne (support w/ William Crighton)
Oct 3rd – The Zoo, Brisbane (support w/ William Crighton)
Oct 4th – Dashville Skyline Festival 2019
Oct 6th – The Vanguard, Sydney (support w/ William Crighton)
Oct 11th – Vintage Car Club, Langenau, DE
Oct 12th – Gerlsh Festival, Filderstadt, DE
Oct 13th – Strandgut, Schorndof, DE
Nov 8th – Rolling Stone Park, DE
Nov 15th – Rolling Stone Beach, DE
Nov 22nd – Old Mollies, Drogheda, Eire
Nov 23rd – Cleeres, Kilkenny, Eire