English singer, songwriter and composer, Imogen Jennifer Heap is known worldwide for her manipulated electronic sounds and lyrics that speak of love and loss. She produced three solo albums, her latest being Ellipse (2009) and is to release her fourth studio album Sparks sometime this year . This North American chart success, earned her two Grammy nominations, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
Goodnight and Go
For first time listeners, songs including “Just For Now”, “Headlock”, “Hide and Seek” and “Goodnight and Go” are a definite must. Each of these songs embody her vocals and effortless dynamic sound, completely submerging the listener into her own world.
From an early age, Heap played music, becoming classically trained in multiple instruments including the clarinet, cello and piano. A Quaker-run boarding school in Saffron Walden, Friends School, was once her home. Heap did not get along too well with her music teacher there and so she taught herself music engineering, sampling, production and sequencing. To add on to her extensive resume, Heap even taught herself how to play the drums, guitar, Hang and the array mbira.
Introduced to Nik Kershaw, Heap recorded four demos with him that was taken to Rondor Music. A few months later, at 18, Heap signed her first contract to an independent record label Almo Sounds. In 1996, Heap began to work with an experimental pop band named Acacia which featured her future collaborator Guy Sigworth and had Alexander Nilere as the lead singer.
Heap was never a full band member, instead she was a guest vocalist and contributed to multiple Acacia single and album tracks. Heap’s debut album, iMegaphone, was a mixture of self-produced and self-penned tracks that had work from Davide Kahne, Eurythmic Dave Stewart and Guy Sigsworth. In 1998, the album went international via Almo Sounds which received positive reviews from critics comparing Heap’s angst-filled songs to those that of PJ Harvey, Kate Bush and Annie Lennox.
Throughout the years, Heap kept in touch with her fans via the web and went on multiple tours that spread her name like wildfire. In December 2003, Heap announced on her Web site that she was to write and produce her second solo album using her blog as a means of promotion. She set herself a deadline of one year to create the album, booking a session to master the album a year ahead in December 2004. She rented a studio at Atomic Sounds, London and re-mortgaged her flat to fund production costs. By the end of 2004, the album was complete and Heap premiered two album tracks online, selling them prior to the release of the album.
In August 2006, she performed a set at the V Festival, where “Headlock” was announced to be the third single lifted from the album and released on October 16th in the UK. In late September and early October, Heap went on a tour of the UK, while holding a competition on MySpace for different support acts for each venue, prior to touring around Canada and the US in November and December.
Including a band, this was a first for her, in terms of touring in North America. Heap incorporated an upright bass, support acts such as Kid Beyond and Levi Weaver, and percussion. The Green Room magazine later on that year, had her featured on their front page.
On March 14, 2011, Heap began working on a new record, in which she decided to record one track over a two-week period every three months. Later on that year, she tweeted that she and deadmau5 were going to collaborate on a song titled “Telemiscommunications”. This track was included in deadmau5’s sixth studio album, Album Title Goes Here.
The star has been planning on releasing her fourth studio album Sparks for months, however has most recently claimed on her official website, that there are further delays for reasons out of the bands’ control. In the meantime, the British star treated her fans to a brand new music video for her track, “Me the Machine”. For more updates and information, visit her website www.imogenheap.com.
Me and the Machine
Montclair State | New Jersey