Amy Montgomery

Amy Montgomery

Biography

Amy Montgomery is a revelation. At 21, the Irish singer-songwriter is poised to become an
exceptional new voice in the alternative rock music canon. Uninhibited, raw, and with a
sound like no other artist of her generation, Montgomery has a rare power that distils
personal pain into something visceral and liberating.“It’s something that I’ve always done, but before – while I didn’t deny that pain – I was
slightly more ignorant to it,” says Montgomery, who has been spending lockdown with her
partner and drummer, Michael Mormecha, in her studio just outside of Belfast. “I realised
how powerful it is, to be able to transform sadness or anger into something healing.”This is demonstrated in early releases such as 2019’s ‘Tree Song (Branch Out And Nourish
My Veins)’. The song was written about her mother, who died when Montgomery was 16
years old. Her lyrics manage to feel universal while remaining intensely personal and
composed alongside woozy, Seventies-inspired guitar licks and a chorus delivered like a
mantra. “Performing it takes a lot of energy,” Montgomery admits.Whilst on last year’s explosive single ‘Dangerous’, with its swooning, shivery strings and
plucks of acoustic guitar, she channels Patti Smith and Anna Calvi with her ghostly howls,
weathered by years of busking the streets around Northern Ireland.The songs on her forthcoming debut EP, Intangible, represent an artist who won’t shy away
from her feelings, but also one who doesn’t attempt to oversimplify experiences that are
deeply complex, or profound. “These songs still have a lot of pain,” Montgomery says, “but
they’re lighter. I actually feel like I’ve let go of a lot of things in the past year, and that’s had
a big influence on my writing.”‘Intangible’, which is the title track and first single to be released from the EP, is a
shimmering work of Nineties-influenced alternative rock with with its squalls of guitar
feedback lifted by bright, fluttering synths. Mixed by Australian producer Kyran Daniels
(Greta Ray), the song is sun-drenched and uplifting, despite the central themes of mental
health. “My mum struggled with depression for years and I lost her to suicide,” Montgomery
explains, noting the track’s opening reference to butterflies. “She was mesmerised by their
growth and beauty, and while she couldn’t do that herself, I find it amazing that she could
still admire that trait in others.”

As you’d expect in such a personal song, every word has meaning, from the butterflies to
Montgomery’s devastating delivery of, “You wanted to stay here/ But you just couldn’t keep
those invaders away.” Yet coursing through the song’s veins is the life-affirming reminder
that our loved ones stay with us in the singing of birds and rivers that will continue to flow,
“Whether you’re above or buried below.”

“Even if someone isn’t there, you can still feel their presence,” Montgomery says. “One day, I
was watching the sun go down and I could feel the presence of my mum in the sunset. There
were all these moments that led to writing this song, which is about realising the person you
love will always be with you.”

She says of the themes of mental health in her music, “I want to tell people that it’s OK to
feel a certain way. You might feel happy one day, then the next day you might feel like shit,
and that’s alright. We need more songwriters doing that, addressing mental health. It is
getting better, but I think depression is still quite a taboo subject, especially in music.”

Like so many great artists who came before her, Montgomery finds inspiration in less
obvious places adding, “Before I even listened to rock or mainstream music, I was very much
into classical Indian music, meditation chants… I’m a big fan of [Indian sitar player and
composer] Anoushka Shankar.”

It was Montgomery’s mother who was her biggest champion when it came to her music
career, since early childhood growing up in County Antrim. “She used to drag me around all
these singing competitions when I was about eight,” she recalls, laughing. She would
perform covers by Miley Cyrus, herself an underrated edgy singer, and an artist who clearly
continues to impact her today. Yet among Montgomery’s biggest contemporary influences
are Alanis Morissette and Sharon Van Etten, the latter whom she discovered while both
artists were performing at Glastonbury Festival last year.

Montgomery delivers a powerhouse rendition of ‘Jupiter’, from Van Etten’s critically
acclaimed 2019 album Remind Me Tomorrow; over celestial synth beats that orbit around
stark piano notes and dramatic drum rhythms, she utters banshee wails redolent of Siouxsie
Sioux.

It’s not just the music itself, either – Montgomery has a creative ethos that shines through in
everything she does, from her Boudica-style war paint to the Bjork-inspired video for
‘Intangible’. “I write quite visually,” she says. “Obviously, it’d be great to have big budgets to
create things with, but in a way, lockdown and other limitations have really pushed me
creatively.” The ‘Intangible’ video, then, was filmed in a junkyard behind Montgomery’s
recording studio and encompasses the song’s themes of life and death while exploring the
duality of the individual. “There’s my internal person,” she explains, “and the external
representation of myself – the one I show other people.”

She cites Sia’s stunning delivery on early cut ‘Breathe Me’ as one of the greatest influences
for her song ‘Anywhere’, which was co-written with Mormecha. Yet there are also traces of
Fleetwood Mac in the characterful, propulsive bassline, and of Sheryl Crow’s soaring rock
twang, which is full of emotion and grit.

‘Old Photographs’ (also co-written with Mormecha) shows her mastering the piano ballad
with great subtlety and nuance. “[Michael] took the ideas I had in my head and made them
real,” she says of her songwriting partnership. As the beat kicks in, so to does the song’s
core theme, “Nostalgia, the perfect mix of good and bad / The pain and the beauty of
looking back at what you had” she adds.

Listeners may express surprise at the maturity and assuredness of Montgomery’s sound, but
she hopes her experiences won’t be written off on account of her youth. “When anybody
experiences anything, whether they’re five or ninety-five, the emotions are always the
same,” she says. Usually, she avoids mentioning her age altogether citing that “People tend
to put a label on you, then, and it can really affect the way they respond to the music.”

One thing is certain, Montgomery is not going to compromise her art for anyone – perhaps
why you can so easily picture her single ‘Intangible’ making an impact on both Radio 1 and
Radio 6 Music. This is a unique artist who is setting out with purpose, and a clear vision for
how she wishes to present her music, something that will surely appeal to everyone.

“I want my music to provide a real insight into my character, my history, my influences –
whether they be musical or just experiences,” she says. “For people to know what’s behind
it… that’s really important to me.”

Montgomery can rest easy knowing her four-track EP is as clear a statement as any artist
could hope for. Few debut projects are as assured or accomplished as this.

 

Tree Song – https://jaba-music.lnk.to/TreeSongEM

Dangerous – https://jaba-music.lnk.to/Dangerous

Intangible – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxBf8GneCVQ

Videos

Upcoming Dates

Live Dates 2020/2021

To be confirmed

Contact Info

Live: mb@midnightmango.co.uk (Matt Bartlett)

PR: chris.dean@wilfulpublicity.co.uk