- 22 Mar 22
With her debut EP, is that all there is?, set to establish her as one of the country’s most captivating emerging talents, Amy Michelle discusses signing to Method Records, how social media is impacting our consumption of music, and her ultimate goals as an artist.
With the rise of bedroom pop, and the accessibility of self-release platforms like SoundCloud, a defiant new DIY ethos continues to seep into every aspect of the global music industry. Trailblazing artists are dominating the charts and festival stages alike – all while retaining creative control over their own independent sound and vision. And Ireland is no exception, with Mullingar’s Amy Michelle emerging as a thrilling new force.
Combining the devastatingly raw introspection of Phoebe Bridgers with the dark pop edge of Billie Eilish, Amy has already released a string of singles, and is set to release her debut EP, is that all there is?, on March 25 – having signed to UK label Method Records.
Like many other artists currently making their mark on the Irish scene, the pandemic, despite its challenges, provided the backdrop to Amy’s rise to success.
“During the second lockdown, I moved to my uncle’s house to get away from my family,” she laughs. “I was just going insane, and I needed some space. So I ran away there, and basically just isolated myself in a room.
“The first thing I did was learn how to produce myself,” she continues. “I spent all of my time doing that. I’ve always been interested in learning how to record my songs, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to dedicate that much time to it, if it wasn’t for everything that happened.”
Prior to the pandemic, she was a second-year student at BIMM – though now, she tells me, she’s “a music school drop-out.” A drop-out who’s not doing too badly, obviously, with Mercury Prize-nominated rapper Slowthai among her new labelmates.
“Method just proved that they value my art above anything else,” she resumes. “They support my vision, and they give me creative control, which I really appreciate, when it comes to my art.
“I’m such a huge fan of Slowthai, and his freedom of expression,” she adds. “And his visuals, and everything that’s got to do with what he creates. So it was a great family to become a part of. I feel like I can just be myself.”
Her musical influences are clearly wide-ranging – having shared a reimagining of Fontaines D.C.’s ‘Roy’s Tune’ on YouTube last year. She was also a self-confessed “Disney kid” growing up, and loved pop music, along with whatever her parents were playing in the car: “From Damien Rice to Led Zeppelin.”
“I’m also a huge fan of Phoebe Bridgers,” she reveals. “Everything she’s doing – and how she’s a woman dominating the music industry right now – is amazing. Everyone looks up to her, male or female. She doesn’t take the industry too seriously.”
Like Phoebe, Amy’s music finds her tapping into some of the darkest concerns of her generation, including mental health struggles and troubled relationships, while also seeking comfort in a sense of bittersweet nostalgia.
“It’s really important to me, to be transparent in my lyrics,” she reflects. “It’s cathartic for me. I look up to my idols because they’ve been so honest in their lyrics, and that makes me feel a lot less alone. I’d love to be able to create that feeling of connection for other people.
“This generation has been affected greatly by mental health – myself included,” she continues. “I write about a lot of that. Also, being in the age of social media, there’s nothing else to write about but the past. That’s my way of dealing with it. So I think there’s always going to be a sense of nostalgia threaded throughout my music. I find it hard to write about happy things, for sure!”
Although she owes part of her success to SoundCloud, where she began uploading demos, Amy also points out that social media has some serious downsides when it comes to music.
“I’m not a fan of TikTok,” she tells me. “It’s just such a quick consumption of music. I feel like it’s damaged a lot of the ways people consume music nowadays. They’ve lost the appreciation for albums and full bodies of work. They just want singles.
“I’ve always looked up to bands like Twenty One Pilots and The 1975, who’ve created worlds, and eras, around their records,” she continues. “That’s what made me fall in love with wanting to be an artist. A lot of the mysteriousness surrounding those worlds artists create has been lost as well by posting all these ‘behind-the-scenes’ clips of music videos and stuff.”
As she continues to carve out her own unique path, Amy clearly knows what matters when it comes to her music.
“I want to have work that I’m proud of,” she concludes. “That’s my ultimate goal: having music that’s real and genuine to me, that people can find comfort in.”
is that all there is? is out March 25 – and will be available as a special Record Store Day physical release on April 23. Amy Michelle plays Electric Picnic (September 2–4).