Listening to some singer-songwriters, like Imogen Clark, you get the impression that even if everyone stopped listening (though it’s unlikely) to their music, they’d still be writing and creating and making music. 

Clark is, to put it another way, a purist’s singer-songwriter, someone whose life would have led her to be a lyricist, in some form or another, no matter the circumstances.

Case in point is her new album, The Art of Getting Through, a collection of deeply confessional songwriting that explores “the messiness of life, the layers of injury and hurt that build resilience, and how you never really get a clean slate or a fresh start.” The album contains 13 tracks, but the feeling persists that Clark could have poured her heart into 13 more at the drop of a hat.

The AIR Award-nominated musician recorded The Art of Getting Through across several iconic places around the world, most notably London’s Abbey Road Studios, and her globetrotting musical pilgrimage took her to the very edges of her raw songwriting, challenging her to write deeper than ever before.

But, as she herself says, “There is no starting over, there is only getting through,” which could be the powerful mission statement of any confessional songwriter.

Unsurprisingly given Clark’s penchant for words, she was only too happy to break down each track on The Art of Getting Through in more detail for Tone Deaf, which you can read below.

And she isn’t slowing down after the release of her new album, with a run of US tour dates with Robyn Hitchcock planned for this October and November.

Love Indie?

Get the latest Indie news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Imogen Clark’s The Art of Getting Through is out now. 

The Art of Getting Through Track-by-Track:

“If I Want In”

I grew up in Western Sydney and spent my teen years at Penrith High School by day and playing sketchy pubs at night, dealing with creepy men hitting on me and bar fights breaking out in front of me. So many people I knew then couldn’t imagine more from life than getting married and having babies as soon as possible with their high school boyfriends, and dying in the same suburb they were born in.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy, it sounded like a nightmare to me. I always dreamed of running away into the big wide world; the London of The Jam, the California of Joni Mitchell, the New Jersey of Bruce Springsteen. This song is about knowing my hometown made me who I am, but it made me a person who had to leave it to realise her dreams.


I wrote this song as a letter to my teenage self, about the things I wish I had known and felt and understood when I was seventeen, but I hope it can connect with the girls and women who are going through those struggles now.

“Natural Predator”

I was talking to one of my best friends who is queer about the latest clusterfuck episode of my dating life, and at one point she said, “It’s so weird for women who are attracted to men, having to date your natural predator.” The lightbulb went on in my head and I took the idea into my co-write with Katie Wighton from All Our Exes Live in Texas. This song flowed out of us so organically. It felt like we wrote it in the time it takes to sing it, and I think that’s because every woman can relate to the feeling of having to live in a constant state of caution. It was obvious as soon as we finished it that it was going to make the record.

YouTube VideoPlay

“Big One”

A lot of my music is about fighting for your own worth, fighting to matter and be valued. This song is about wanting to be “the big one” for somebody, to be a person who they can never forget, even if things don’t work out.

“Like a Man”

Most of my deepest and longest-lasting friendships have been with women; the people who understand me, who really see me as I am, and are always there in my corner. I had never felt that with any man I’ve dated and I ached with the sadness that maybe I would never have that. I wanted to capture that in a song, without obviously being like, “Oh, woe is me, it’s so hard being straight.” It’s more of a love letter to the women in my life, the women who have been the loves of my life in all ways but sexually. 

“All Hard Feelings”

I have never gotten over anything. I have a long memory and hang on to every time anybody has fucked me over, and it’s not a short list. I was thinking about this quite unhealthy trait of mine the day I dropped into Sinead Burgess and Blake O’Connor’s apartment in Nashville and we ended up writing this. We put up a drum loop, got out the guitars, picked at the scab and this song came out.

YouTube VideoPlay


This song is a waking nightmare, a fever dream of the road not taken. I met Steve Poltz when I was singing at Port Fairy Folk Festival, was knocked out by his songwriting, and when I got to Nashville to start recording the album, I messaged him about getting together to write. We sat down at his place and I let it rip about the life I could have led if I’d never gotten out of my hometown, if I’d never found the strength to fight for myself.

There’s a type of person who lives in Western Sydney who are nicknamed “squinters” because if they work a 9 to 5 job closer into the city, they’re always driving home towards the west when the sun is setting, squinting to see the highway ahead. We were trading lines back and forth so fluidly, like I’d had this song percolating inside of me and waiting for the right person to bring it to boil with. We finished it in an hour and went to gorge ourselves on tacos.

“The Last of Me”

I wrote this song at the darkest point of my life. It was the lowest point of the pandemic, the culmination of a harrowing descent of my already precarious mental health situation to the edge of a cliff. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to exist anymore and I began to understand how a friend of mine had gotten to the point of taking that exit route.

This song poured out of me at the piano one night, as I was clawing my way back, climbing from despair to determination and telling the world and myself that I wanted to live and I was going to fight for it.

“The Art of Getting Through”

This is the oldest song on the record, a testament to waiting for the right time for a song to come to fruition. I wrote it in 2018, and it quickly became a live favourite. To all the people who would ask me at the merch desk when that song is coming out, sorry you had to wait six years!

Making this the title track was an early call that helped us understand what the album was about, what other songs should make the cut, and how to sequence the tracks. Even though we opted not to add any text to Giulia McGauran’s stunning album artwork, I feel like you can feel the title and the album’s essence every time you look at it.


Lindsay McDougall is a real renaissance man: not only the guitar hero of Frenzal Rhomb and a brilliant broadcaster, but the person responsible for the word “cockforest” entering my vocabulary.

We’d played together a few times, he’d interviewed me, I always loved his sincere no-fucks-given honesty and attitude, but we’d never written together before. On the day of our session, he fired up his amp and I imagined a prophecy of a relationship with a douchebag manchild that I’d yet to experience, but unfortunately soon would. In retrospect, if I’d realised this song would manifest into real life, I’d have written a song about hooking up with Sam Fender instead.


I have a history of bad timing, meeting men who seem perfect for me but they’re already spoken for, and often they end up becoming friends. This song is an amalgam of some of those experiences, written with Eilish Gilligan when I was in the middle of crush frustration with a man and it had taken over my brain. It’s funny, with this song coming out, calling around to my friends named Sebastian to make sure they know the song isn’t about them.

YouTube VideoPlay

“The Noise”

This song is my rejection of letting “the way things are done” dictate my life, my priorities, or what I do with my art. This is my career and my music and I’ll do things my way, and every year older I get, I get smarter, wiser, and just plain better at everything I do. I’m proud of the woman and artist I have become, I know I will be even prouder of who I am ten years from now, and again after that. 

“If Your Heart Never Breaks”

This is the epilogue of the album, the encore, the song that strips it all back and takes stock. This is an album that says, “This is what made me, this is what I survived and fought against, this is who I am and what I’m worth and I’m powering through.” This track is examining that cliche of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and wondering if that’s always the case. 

Would I be the woman I am without the trauma and the pain? How meaningful can life be if it’s just a smooth ride? Is the wisdom always worth the fight to win it?

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine