"I was planning a move to my home away from home Nashville before COVID-19 struck" We chat with Imogen Clark
Hey Imogen, how the heck are you?
Hi there! I’m doing pretty well all things considered. Feeling grateful to be safe and healthy in these trying times.
Where are you right now?
I’m in the Blue Mountains, which is about two hours outside of Sydney, Australia.
What have you been up to today? And how different is that from what you’d usually be doing?
Today, I’ve been cleaning my house and getting prepared for an upcoming music video shoot (which will be done at a distance…) I can’t say much about it yet but I’m very excited!
Introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Imogen Clark and I’m a singer/songwriter from a little town called Bowen Mountain on the outskirts of Sydney, New South Wales. I have just released a new single called 'Found Me', which is the first track to drop from my upcoming EP, The Making of Me, due out in August!
What can you tell us about your new single, ‘Found Me’, in two sentences?
'Found Me' is an empowering breakup anthem with an optimistic twist, which I wrote with my beautiful friends Clare Bowen and Brandon Robert Young. It’s about making the tough decisions that you know will cause you pain, but will help you to become the person you know you can and need to be.
You’ve got an EP coming out in a few months, give me a few details about that if you can?
The Making of Me is a collection of songs that I wrote during a year that really broke me down. It’s about picking up the pieces and becoming the person you were always afraid to be, or that people told you you couldn’t be, and finding strength in embracing life’s challenges and your own vulnerabilities. Sometimes we need to go through our lowest points to become the strongest, best versions of ourselves. I’m really hoping the new single, and the whole EP, can help relight some people’s fires out there in amidst this difficult time.
This EP also reflects a big evolution for me sonically as an artist. In the past, I’d felt really beholden to limitations people had put on my music or boxes they had put me in. Through making this EP, I learned to define things like authenticity for myself and not hold my songs back from where they needed to go. It was incredibly liberating, and there are parts of myself as a musician and a woman I’ve translated into recordings here for the first time in my life.
What’s the song you’re most excited for people to hear from the EP?
The title track 'The Making Of Me' is one I’m really excited to share, especially given what’s going on in the world right now. I wrote the song during the worst month of my life. I’d just white-knuckled through this marathon Europe/UK tour and ended the longest, most serious romantic relationship of my life. I was second-guessing every decision I’d made, who I was and what I was doing with my life. At the time, I was staying in London for a few weeks before I flew to the U.S. to start a tour opening for Clare Bowen, and I sat down at my friend’s piano in Notting Hill to try and work out my feelings through songwriting. 'The Making Of Me' just poured out, and it became my mantra. It was me telling myself that if I could survive this year, I’d come out the other side a better person. I hope that sentiment can help some people through this challenging year.
You’re doing a virtual tour right now, how’s that going?
The "Found Me Live From The Backyard" virtual tour starts this Saturday 16th May (6:30pm EST), and I’m really excited to bring these new songs into people’s homes! The shows will happen once a fortnight over May and June, and they’ll each have a different theme; acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar and an all-request show where people can request their favourites beforehand on social media. Each show will feature previews of all the songs on the new EP, as well as some older favourites and new covers. We’ve also worked hard to make sure we can bring everyone the best possible quality live stream, so the shows will all be professionally produced. We understand many people’s circumstances are tricky right now, so while the shows are ticketed, it’s a “pay what you can” model, so we encourage people to join us even if spending a lot on a ticket isn’t possible for them right now. The shows also won’t be archived, so tuning in live is your only chance to see the show! You can grab tickets on my website.
You’re playing different shows, which is your favourite: piano, acoustic or electric?
It’s hard to say, as I enjoy them all for different reasons, however right now, I’d have to say piano is probably taking the cake. I’ve always been a guitarist first but being in isolation has given me a chance to work hard on honing my piano skills. I’m feeling more confident on the instrument than I ever have before, which is an exciting feeling!
Generally these days, success is measured in YouTube views and Spotify streams, what does success look like to you?
To me, success has always been about connecting deeply with people and making them feel something, whether that’s 200 people in a small, crowded venue, or 100,000 people on YouTube. As a songwriter, my most enduring ambition has always been for my music to influence people in the way that my favourite songwriters’ work has influenced me. I feel as though my favourite artists have been the soundtrack to my growth as a human, and I want to do the same for my fans. I want to help bring listeners comfort during their darkest times, and to celebrate with them as they flourish. The more people I can do that for, the more successful I’ll feel.
Can you tell us the best and the worst thing about your hometown?
The best thing about Bowen Mountain is that people are friendly. They say hello and smile at you in the street, and the community pulls together during times of disaster, which was most apparent during the bushfires that ravaged our area earlier this year. Everyone seems to own a dog up here which I love, and I’ve learned all their names so I can say hello to them through the fence as I walk past with my dog. The worst thing about my hometown is its distance from the city, which makes it a little hard as a musician as I’m constantly driving back and forth for shows and meetings.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
I was starstruck twice in the studio in LA this past January when we were recording the EP; once when Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello & The Imposters) came in, and secondly when Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) came in! Both of these legends had come into the studio to play on my record, and I was so grateful and excited that I got to not only meet these two musicians who are heroes of mine, but also to have them lend their magic to my songs. They were both incredibly talented, humble and kind people.
Social media, is it a pain in the butt for artists, or a valuable tool for connecting with fans?
I have always thought of social media as a great tool for artists, and it’s one I very much enjoy using. It’s a lot of work, but if you truly love this job like I do, it’s a real privilege to be able to connect with your fans so directly like you can now through social media. What social media has done for the independent artist is also wonderful, as we’re now able to get our music out into the world much more effectively even without a major label.
What’s next for you?
We’ll be releasing a few singles in the lead up to the EP’s release in August, and celebrating with people online through these virtual tour shows. Once it’s safe to do so, I cannot wait to get out on the road again and play live, both in Australia and in the U.S. I was planning a move to my home away from home Nashville before COVID-19 struck, so I’m hoping to do that once it’s safe to make the move.
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
I’m currently listening to Lennon Stella’s new album Three. Two. One. on repeat, and I’d recommend the song 'Older Than I Am'.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
I think you covered it all! Well done!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
A large soy latte with some honey, please and thank you!