Something delectable this way comes, with art-pop connoisseur Montana Sharp today releasing an emphatic new track Something Wicked; an edgier offering from the innovative Melbourne art-work dynamo following her coming-of-age 2022 debut EP Blood Moon, but one entirely in keeping with the ever-growing powerhouse status Montana commands. Putting a modern spin on the symbolism of wickedness and villainy via the accompanying music video for Something Wicked, also out today, this new track from Montana Sharp is an enticing blend of empowerment and soulful temptations.
Drawing inspiration from the likes of Evanescence, Paramore, Halestorm and Dorothy, aka Montana's "hardcore queens of heavy music", Something Wicked puts a sensuous and heavier spin on Montana's perpetually slick releases. Self-described as "if hardcore punk-rock took a quick shower", Something Wicked simultaneously showcases Montana's robust vocals and clever sonic craftsmanship, while also signposting an exciting new chapter for the Melbourne artist. "Something Wicked plays on the idea that I'm not this sweet "nice girl" as I've initially been perceived as," reveals Montana. "At the time, my writing was somewhat coded and contrived, as if I was afraid to expose my true thoughts and feelings even to myself. My mentor at the time (who also wrote the music to this song) said to me: "for once, I'd like you to stop writing about pretty things and show me something you're afraid of", and out I came with a poem inspired by Macbeth: 'something wicked this way comes' - a warning that Macbeth is about to become a monster. Something Wicked plays on the fear that we are innately bad in some way, and that if people get a bit too close, we will be exposed for who we truly are. I think we all share that fear to some degree."
Boasting lyrics by Montana herself, music by Gerald Marko and production, mixing and mastering by Steve Vertigan, Something Wicked also finds Montana teaming up with Zac Harris from Hoodwolf Studios, who has also worked with NERVE, The Boys and GatsbyBoi, to bring to life the vivid and vivacious accompanying music video. "I was really drawn to the symbolism of a cherry as a sexier spin on the poison apple, something that looks enticing but is bad for you," shares Montana of devising the music video for Something Wicked. "I had a vision of cherries in a bathtub - I'm not sure why! Perhaps I was enticed by the idea of bathing in villainy, embracing the wickedness in myself."
Making the decision in 2022 to quit her day job and pursue her dream life as a working musician, Montana Sharp has continuously established herself as an eccentric and unapologetic purveyor of art-rock and sublime creative direction. Fusing complex classic chord structures and motifs alongside modern and innovative pop, Montana's debut 2022 EP Blood Moon firmly showcased the Melbourne singer-songwriter's classical background, innovative arrangements and mesmerising vocals, while also acting as a snapshot of the near-universal experience of life in your early twenties. Drawing acclaim from the likes of Katie Noonan, Kate Miller-Heidke and Kate Ceberano with her debut outing, as well as many others in and beyond the industry, 2023 is already off to a roaring start for Montana as she continues to wave her magic musical wand into new and exciting waters, including recently being booked to perform in the Middle East, and turning her gaze firmly to even more new tunes. "New year, new me! It feels wonderful to get back into releasing, and I feel a lot more relaxed this time round," shares Montana. "Bar the obvious difference in levels of difficulty, I often liken releasing music to raising children - you're often stricter with the first child because you're the most scared and don't know what you're doing, and then with the rest that follows, you loosen the reins a bit and have more trust and fun with it."
"It's been quite a journey these past few months, filled with lots of great opportunities and growth, and lots of dangling carrots and disappointment," Montana concludes. "One minute you're getting rejected by Australian Idol and the next you're getting flown out to the Middle East just to sing two songs. Being a working musician is erratic like that, and I've learnt not to get too invested in all the variables and to just enjoy the ride. I'm nowhere near where I want to be in my career, but I am 1000 steps further than being stuck in the wrong one."
Something Wicked is out now
How would you describe your music? It's changed over the years, right now I'd say oscillating in the cinematic pop / alt rock space! I like leaving it up to other people to label my music.
Can you tell us about your song Something Wicked? It's about me tapping into the fear that I'm not as good of a person as I've made myself out to be, inspired by the Macbeth verse 'something wicked this way comes'. The music was co-written by my professor at the time which is really cool!
What inspired your new song? At the time I was writing too many 'pretty songs' with lovely metaphors about gorgeous nature and beautiful people, so my professor dared me to write something darker, and more revealing.
Do you prefer performing live or recording? They're very different energies. It would be a bit like asking if you prefer doing meditation or going to a theme park, it just depends on what you're in the mood for! Performing live is an adrenaline rush, whilst recording in a studio really makes the world stop around me, I lose all track of time because I'm so immersed in what I'm doing. To answer, I'd prefer recording in the day, but performing live at night!
Which is your favourite song to perform live and why? I love performing Greenhouse, my first release, live at the piano with my full band and string trio. It feels like I'm performing with an orchestra in a James Bond film.
What motivates you most when writing music? Honestly sharing a piece of myself with the public. I'm pretty funny and jovial in person which is usually the opposite of how I'm feeling internally. I find it fulfilling to give release to the more serious side of myself.
Which music/artists are you currently listening to? Dove Cameron, Kathleen, Barbra Streisand, Paramore
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Alanis Morissette - my all time hero and songwriting inspiration. But also, let's extend that beyond music - I'd love to collaborate with designers like Mcqueen, Anna Sui, or makeup artists like Erin Parsons or Lisa Elridge. A girl can dream.
How does it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves? Feels awesome! Especially on overseas stations. I remember being in lockdown in 2020 and listening at 2am to my song getting airplay in Italy! I'm honestly grateful for every play and every stream - truly.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Myself. I held myself back for so long because I was full of self doubt and performance anxiety, and I regret wasting so many years waiting till I felt "ready" to make a move. There is no "ready", and perhaps I will always have some self doubt, but I've learnt that taking action is not dependent on something as variable as how you feel about yourself on a given day.
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Having my grandparents brag about me to their friends.
What's a typical day like? Wake up, take the dog (Teddy) for a walk to get a coffee, answer emails, teach or record or rehearse, do the dishes, shop online - nothing particular extraordinary!
What advice do you have for aspiring songwriters or artists? Do it for you.
What's next, for you? Release my Ep and keep going down this path wherever it may lead.
Can you share your socials? (links please)
Image credit @thephotostudioaustralia