THE heartbreak and emotional upheaval Imogen Clark suffered last year was always going to propel her one of two ways.
She'd either sink into despair and be unable to climb out, or Clark would reforge herself in the gloom and re-emerge more determined.
Thankfully the Blue Mountains-bred singer-songwriter took the latter path.
Clark dusted herself off, headed to Los Angeles to work with producer Mike Bloom (Jenny Lewis, Julian Casablancas) and recorded her forthcoming six-track EP, The Making Of Me, due out in August.
The first single Found Me, which was co-written by Australian Nashville TV star Clare Bowen and her husband Brandon Robert Young, serves as Clark's mission statement.
Clark said The Making Of Me was the most personal and honest of her career.
"The collection of songs were all written last year during a time that was very difficult for me," Clark said.
"I had a lot of business relationships, friendships, and a romantic relationship end and it was a very tumultuous time.
"I was having a great time from a touring perspective, but personally, having a really difficult time.
"A lot of the songs reflect the fact that sometimes you need to make tough decisions to become a better version of yourself and figure out who you really are."
Clark released her first EP Sky Stands Still as a fresh-faced teenager a decade ago, but hit her stride in 2018 when her album Collide was nominated at the Golden Guitars for Female Artist of the Year, New Talent of the Year and Alt-country Album of the Year.
While Collide only had one foot positioned in the country scene, Clark said The Making Of Me would see her move completely towards an indie-pop sound.
"I've always been considered almost in the country music world, but I never felt like I belonged there even though I love country music," she said.
"Now I'm really embracing a lot of my musical loves that I've never embraced before like pop music. I was almost too afraid to dip my toe into pop music because I felt like people make you feel like that's selling out."
Clark had planned to relocate to Nashville this year, but the coronavirus pandemic has postponed the move until at least 2021. In the meantime, Clark is launching a Live From The Backyard virtual tour.
The first gig this Saturday at 6.30pm will be an acoustic show livestreamed from Clark's Hawkesbury backyard. It'll be followed by a piano show (May 30), an electric show (June 13) and a requests show (June 27).
Unlike some virtual isolation shows, Clark's gigs will be filmed professionally and ticketed.
"We've tried to make it an at-home concert with a difference," she said. "It will be professionally produced, so we have a wonderful director of photography whose helping me with it.
"I'll be in my backyard which is a lovely serene setting out in the bush and it'll be quite cold. But we'll get through it."