IT’S been an exciting week for Imogen Clark, the Bowen Mountain songstress who has just been nominated for three Golden Guitar Awards.
The nominations, for Female Artist of the Year, New Talent of the Year, and Alt Country Album of the Year, put Imogen up there with country music’s cream of the crop in Australia including the likes of Beccy Cole and Tori Forsyth, and come off the back of a whirlwind few years for the 23-year-old.
Imogen has been rising up the ranks steadily in the country music scene since she released her first EP, Love & Lovely Lies, in 2016. She was subsequently signed by Universal Music Australia’s Lost Highway label, attracting the attention of Mark Lizotte (Diesel) who offered to work as producer on her current album Collide.
This is the first time Imogen has been nominated for a Golden Guitar award, the winners of which will be announced during the Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) in January.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet!” she laughed, speaking with the Gazette from Melbourne when she was one show away from wrapping-up her headline tour promoting Collide.
“I’m stunned to even be nominated - winning isn’t even on my radar yet!”
On the road
This year has been a hectic ride for Imogen, who has been performing in back-to-back tours. It all started with a show at the TCMF back in January, and she still hasn’t come up for air.
After Tamworth, she hit the road, playing support for 40-odd Diesel gigs all around the country. Then she flew to the UK and Europe to support Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes for two months, and also did some shows with The Weeping Willows, before heading back to Australia for her Late Night Girl Tour.
Anyone would be exhausted - Imogen included, “but in the best way!” she professed.
“I’ve been so glad to reach so many new towns I’ve never been to before, and meeting so many beautiful people and beautiful fans.
“It’s been the best year of my career - I couldn’t ask for a better year - and such beautiful recognition.”
By the time this article goes to press, Imogen’s solo tour will be done and dusted, as will two final shows supporting James Reyne in Brisbane.
In huge news, Imogen will be supporting Shania Twain on Saturday, December 8 at Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley.
Then, it’s back on the road in January, and back to Tamworth - this time hopefully to win an award or two.
Imogen will be heading home for Christmas to spend time with her family, including her dog - a large ‘bitsa’ named Socks.
“She’s a lab, staffie, great dane and mastiff - there’s so many breeds in her!” Imogen laughed. “She’s such a massive wuss. She’s a rescue dog, so she’s had a tough life, but she’s very spoilt now!”
On Christmas Eve, Imogen and her mum will take Socks to North Richmond to look at the Christmas lights on the houses, and on Christmas day, Imogen and her family will watch The Grinch with Jim Carrey - a long-standing family tradition.
“We’ll have a lovely lunch on Christmas day and eat so much food and do basically nothing, which is going to be so nice having been on tour all year,” she said.
She’ll spend New Year’s in Melbourne with her partner.
And then, she’ll go back to doing what she does best - performing. There are some final shows scheduled with Diesel, as well as some festivals including CMC Rocks in Queensland.
But 2019 is also going to be a year for making new music, and Imogen said she was looking forward to getting back in to the studio: “It’s very exciting!”
Imogen didn’t always want to make music; when she was younger, her first passion was acting.
“I wanted to be an actor before I wanted to be a musician,” she said.
“I used to be in an acting agency as a kid, and I went to a lot of auditions, but somehow I just ended up falling into the music side of things more naturally and I just fell in love with music.”
It’s not surprising considering her dad is a drama teacher at a local high school. But he’s also a musician, so perhaps it’s in the genes.
“But acting is always something I have on my radar and it’s something I’d like to do at some time in my life,” she said.
Does that mean we’ll see her on the big screen one of these days? “I feel like acting would be an even harder career than music!” she laughed.
For now, music remains her passion, and rightly so, for she’s finally reaping some of the rewards of a lot of hard work - and an insane amount of talent.
Imogen said of her three Golden Guitar nominations, she was most excited about being up for the Alt Country Album of the Year gong.
“I really did not expect this early in my career to have an ‘album of the year’ nomination,” she said.
“That’s really a testament to how Diesel and I worked on the album, and to how much fans and the industry are connecting with the album.”
The winners of the Country Music Association of Australia’s Golden Guitar Awards will be announced on Saturday, January 26, at an awards night at Tamworth.