Imogen Heap

Imogen Jennifer Heap (/ˈɪmədʒɨn ˈhiːp/; born 9 December 1977 in the London Borough of Havering) is an English singer-songwriter and composer. She is known for her work as part of the musical duo Frou Frou and her solo albums, which she writes, produces, and mixes. She has produced three solo albums, the latest of which is the 2009 Ellipse, a North American chart success that earned Heap two Grammy nominations, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

Musical and songwriting style:
For her solo work, as well as her work with Frou Frou and Acacia, Heap plays heavily produced and arranged pop incorporating elements of rock, dance and electronica. As a guest player and collaborator she has played rock (Jeff Beck), hip-hop (Urban Species) and theatre/film music.

I just love crafting and shaping sounds. Actually, many of the sounds that I work with start off as organic instruments - guitar, piano, clarinet, etc. But I do love the rigidity of electronic drums... I would record live drums, and then I would spend a day editing them to take the life out of them. I like to breathe my own life into these sounds, and I do try to keep the 'air' in the music. Some people think electronic music is cold, but I think that has more to do with the people listening than the actual music itself.


Imogen Heap

Heap extensively uses manipulated electronic sounds as an integral part of her music. She also mixes ambient sound into her music (such as the sound of a frying pan in use cooking food, in the background of her song "My Secret Friend") and has commented that "certain sounds give the music a width and a space, and that's important."
Heap states that her song lyrics come from personal experience, but are not straightforwardly confessional. She has stated "Most of the time, the lyrics are kind of like my secret messages to my friends or my boyfriend or my mum or my dad. I would never tell them that these songs are about them or which specific lyric is about somebody. Often, when I sit down to write a lyric, it is in the heat of the moment, and something has just happened."


Early life:
Heap played music from an early age, becoming classically trained in several instruments including piano, cello and clarinet. She attended Friends School, a private, Quaker-run boarding school in Saffron Walden. Heap's mother (an art therapist) and her father (a construction rock retailer) separated when she was twelve. By the age of thirteen, she had begun writing songs.
Heap did not get along well with the music teacher at her boarding school, so she principally taught herself sequencing, music engineering, sampling and production (on Atari computers). She also taught herself to play the guitar and drums, and subsequently two percussion/idiophone instruments, the array mbira and the Hang. After school, she went on to study at the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croydon, South London.

Early work as musician (including work with Acacia):
After being introduced to Nik Kershaw by his manager Mickey Modern, Heap and Kershaw recorded four demos that Mickey Modern took to Rondor Music. Consequently, a few months later she signed her first record contract at 18 to independent record label Almo Sounds. Modern and Wood formed Modernwood Management, and managed Heap until 2006, when Modernwood was dissolved. Wood continues to manage the artist via his new company, Radius Music.
During 1996, Heap began working with an experimental pop band called Acacia, which featured her future collaborator Guy Sigsworth and was fronted by the singer Alexander Nilere. While never a full member of the band, Heap was a guest vocalist (as a counterpart to Nilere) and contributed to various Acacia single and album tracks. One Acacia song, "Maddening Shroud", would later be covered by Frou Frou.
Mickey Modern asked Dennis Arnold to place Imogen in the line up in the 1996 Prince's Trust Concert in Hyde Park, London organized by Harvey Goldsmith. Heap performed four songs between sets by The Who and Eric Clapton.

1998-2000: iMegaphone:
Heap's debut album, iMegaphone (an anagram of "Imogen Heap") was a mixture of self-penned and self-produced tracks, alongside tracks co-written and produced with established producers such as David Kahne, former Eurythmic Dave Stewart and Guy Sigsworth. The album was released in 1998 internationally via Almo Sounds, to favorable reviews comparing Heap's angst-filled songs to work by PJ Harvey, Kate Bush and Annie Lennox. Promotion for the record included a tour of America and performances around Europe. Three singles were commercially released in the UK: "Getting Scared", "Shine" and "Come Here Boy". "Oh Me, Oh My" was sent to US radio stations in place of "Shine".
Heap's early success was soon replaced by problems. Almo Sounds cut funding for UK promotion and gave Heap a deadline to deliver songs for her second album. Upon delivery of the songs, she was told that they lacked "hit potential". It was announced that the record label would be sold to Universal and its artists moved to other labels or released. Heap was one of the artists who was dropped from the label, leaving her without a record contract. iMegaphone had, however, been licensed from Almo Sounds to Aozora Records in Japan, who eventually re-released and re-promoted the album in January 2002, featuring "Blanket" and "Aeroplane" (a Frou Frou remix/remake of one of her B-sides, "Airplane" of the Shine single released in 1998). The album featured new packaging, all-new artwork, and a previously unavailable hidden track, entitled "Kidding", recorded live during her 1999 tour.
Copies of the original Almo Sounds release remain rare. A Brazilian label, Trama Records, currently claims to hold the license to the record and has started re-printing copies of the album in limited quantities. The album was released digitally on the US iTunes Music Store in early 2006. After achieving commercial success with her work with Guy Sigsworth as the duo Frou Frou and her second solo album, Speak for Yourself, Heap was able to secure the re-release of iMegaphone.

2001: Interim work:
In the gap between the end of promotion for iMegaphone internationally and the re-promotion, Heap had also begun to think about her second solo album, and had started writing songs, both solo, as well as working with Guy Sigsworth; however, as she was without a record deal, the songs were shelved. During the time when she was unsigned, Heap appeared on two UK singles, "Meantime" (a track written by her former Acacia colleagues Guy Sigsworth and Alexander Nilere for the soundtrack to the independent British film, G:MT - Greenwich Mean Time) and "Blanket" (a collaboration with Urban Species). In 2000, Heap sang on the album You Had It Coming by Jeff Beck.

2002-2003: Frou Frou:
Heap had kept in contact with Guy Sigsworth (who had co-written and produced "Getting Scared" from iMegaphone) and this led to the pair of them establishing the collaborative project Frou Frou.
The initial concept for Frou Frou was Sigsworth's, and the project was to have been an album written and produced by her with each track featuring a different singer, songwriter, poet or rapper. Heap explains that Sigsworth invited her over to his studio to write lyrics to a four-bar motif he had, with one condition - that she include the word "love" somewhere. The first line she came up with was "lung of love, leaves me breathless", and the Details album track, "Flicks" was born. A week later, Sigsworth phoned Heap up again, and together they wrote and recorded the future single "Breathe In".
Throughout the process, Frou Frou work was an equal partnership, with Heap and Sigsworth making equal contributions to writing, arrangement, production and instrumental performance and Heap handling all of the vocals.
In August 2002, they released the Details album and singles "Breathe In", "It's Good To Be in Love", and "Must Be Dreaming" (although the latter two were not commercially available). The album was critically acclaimed, but did not enjoy the commercial success that they had been hoping for.
In late 2003, after an extensive promotional tour of the UK, Europe and the US, the duo were told that their record label, Island Records would not be picking up the option for a second album.
Heap and Sigsworth remain firm friends, and have worked together since the project, including their temporary re-formation in late 2003, when they covered the Bonnie Tyler classic, "Holding Out for a Hero", which was featured during the credits of the movie Shrek 2 after Jennifer Saunders version in the film. Frou Frou saw a resurgence in popularity in 2004, when their album track "Let Go" was featured in the film Garden State.
In a 2005 interview Heap said of frou frou "(it) was really like a kind of little holiday from my own work. Guy and I, we have always worked together, and then over the years, it became clear that we wanted to do a whole album together. It was very organic and spontaneous - just one of those wonderful things that happens. But there was never a mention of a second record from either of us, and not uncomfortably. We're just both kind of free spirits. I love to work with a lot of different people, but I was also just gagging to see what I could do on my own. But I'm sure in the future, Guy and I will get back together to do another record, or to record a few songs together."

2004-2005: The O.C. and Speak for Yourself:

In December 2003, Heap announced on her Web site that she was going to write and produce her second solo album, using her site as a blog to publicise progress.
Heap set herself a deadline of one year to make the album, booking a session to master the album one year ahead in December 2004. She re-mortgaged her flat to fund production costs, including renting a studio at Atomic Studios, London (previously inhabited by UK grime artist, Dizzee Rascal), and purchasing instruments.
At the end of 2004, with the album completed, Heap premièred two album tracks online, selling them prior to the album's release - "Just for Now" and "Goodnight and Go".
In April 2005, The O.C. featured the vocoded-vocal track, "Hide and Seek" in the closing scenes of their season two finale. The track was released immediately to digital download services, such as iTunes, in the US, where it charted. The track was released to iTunes UK on 5 July 2005 (the same day as the UK airing of the season finale) and entered the official UK download chart.
Heap released the album on her own record company, Megaphonic Records. The album was titled Speak for Yourself.
Speak for Yourself was released in the UK on 18 July 2005 on CD and iTunes UK, where it entered the top 10 chart. The initial 10,000 physical copies pressed sold out, distributed through large and independent record stores and Heap's own online shop.
In August 2005, Heap announced that she had licensed Speak for Yourself to RCA Victor (Sony BMG), for the album release in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The album was released in November 2005 and débuted at #144 in the Billboard Top 200 album chart. In concert, Heap performed solo, controlling the sound through her laptop, as well as singing and playing the piano and array mbira.
She returned from the US, already having sold over 120,000 copies.

2006-2007: The year of the 'White Rabbit':
Heap also announced, on her return to the UK, that she had signed a deal for the album to be released internationally, as well as re-promoted in the UK, with a new imprint of Sony BMG, White Rabbit, run by former Sony BMG UK A&R vice president Nick Raphael. The deal meant that the album could have the promotional backing provided by a respected major label, whilst Heap retained sole control and the team she established for Megaphonic Records.
Speak for Yourself was re-released on the label on 24 April 2006, ahead of a full promotional push on 15 May, a week after the second single, "Goodnight and Go", was commercially released in the UK.
In August 2006, Heap performed a set at the V Festival, where it was announced that "Headlock" was to be the third single to be lifted from the album, and released on 16 October 2006 in the UK.
In late September and early October, Heap embarked on a tour of the UK, holding a competition on MySpace for different support acts for each venue, before touring throughout Canada and the US in November and December. This was her first tour of North America that included a band, incorporating upright bass, percussion, and support acts Kid Beyond and Levi Weaver on beatbox and guitar, respectively. In December 2006, Heap was featured on the front page of The Green Room magazine.
On 7 December 2006, Heap received two Grammy nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, one for Best New Artist and the other for Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media for "Can't Take It In".

2007-2010: Ellipse:
Throughout the creation of her album Ellipse, Heap posted vlogs, or VBlogs as she called them, through YouTube. She used these to comment on the album as well as update on its release. The album's release was pushed back multiple times. These included Heap being asked to perform at the annual event PopTech in October 2008. During the event, she premiered one of her album's songs, "Wait it Out".
Heap announced on her Twitter page that Ellipse's first single would be "First Train Home". On 17 August 2009 Heap made the entire album Ellipse available for live streaming via her webpage.
Ellipse was released in the United Kingdom on 24 August, and in the United States on 25 August.
On 15 January 2010, Imogen Heap accepted the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for her engineering work on Ellipse.

2011-present: Sparks:
On 14 March 2011, Heap started work on her forthcoming album, Sparks (then unnamed), as fans sent in nearly 900 "sound seeds", or samples of everyday sounds such as a "dishwasher door", a "bicycle" or a "burning match". Heap says the concept for this album will be to record one track over a two-week period every three months. Each song and video will be released immediately. According to her website, the album will be completed in roughly three years.
The first song, initially entitled "#heapsong1" and later retitled "Lifeline", premiered worldwide on 28 March 2011 via Ustream along with a live remix by Tim Exile. "Lifeline" was released on 30 March 2011 as a digital download from Imogen's website and via iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. Released alongside this was a 12-page 3DiCD package (a 3D virtual CD) including crowd sourced (and paid for) images, the instrumental version of the song, the "seeds and solos only" version and "heap speaks seeds and solos" - an-18-minute commentary by Heap on how the sounds and solos were used in "Lifeline".
On 6 May 2011, Heap tweeted that she and deadmau5 were working on a collaboration. The song is titled "Telemiscommunications" and is included in deadmau5's sixth studio album, Album Title Goes Here.
On 9 September 2012, Heap wrote and released a track, "Someone's Calling", recorded especially for use as a ringtone.

List of #heapsongs:
heapsong1 is entitled "Lifeline" and was released on 30 March 2011. The song is a tribute to the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.,
heapsong2 is entitled "Propeller Seeds" and was released on 5 July 2011. The song was recorded using 3D audio effects and headphones are recommended for listeners to get the full effect.,
heapsong3 is entitled "Neglected Space" and was released on 17 October 2011. The song incorporates concepts, people and sounds from a lab organized by the Clear Village Charitable Trust to restore a walled garden in Bedfords Park.,
heapsong4 is entitled "Minds Without Fear" and was released on 21 October 2011. It was the first song to be featured on the 2011 Indian show, The Dewarists.,
heapsong5 is entitled "Xizi She Knows" and was released on 24 January 2012. It is the sixth song off the forthcoming album overall.,
heapsong6 is entitled "Me, the Machine" and was originally to be the 6th single released. It was performed live on 22 April 2012. The song premiered along with the film, Love the Earth, as part of Earth Day 2012.,
heapsong7 is entitled "You Know Where to Find Me" and was performed live in A Room for London on 22 June 2012. It was released on 2 November 2012 as the sixth single from the album.,
"Telemiscommunications", a collaboration with deadmau5, will also be included in the album, as stated on her official website. It was featured in deadmau5's 2012 album >album title goes here<, and released as the fifth single from the album on 25 February 2013.,
"Entanglement" will be included in the album, as stated on her Twitter account.,
"Climb To Sakteng" and "Cycle Song are two instrumental heapsongs used for the soundtrack of the documentary film The Happiest Place, A Journey Across Bhutan.,
"The Listening Chair" was performed live in the Royal Albert Hall conducted by American composer Eric Whitacre on 29 August 2012.,
"Run-Time" is a collaboration with Intel UK and RjDj to create a Jogging App that will be released along with the new album in the following year.,
Another song to be included is "The Beast".,
Imogen has stated that there will be 14 tracks on her fourth album . The title of the album is revealed as Sparks and is set to be released on 3 March 2014.

Recordings for television and film:
Heap has recorded several songs for films, including a cover of the Classics IV hit "Spooky" for the soundtrack to the Reese Witherspoon film Just Like Heaven. Her song "Hide and Seek" was featured in The Last Kiss, starring Zach Braff (who used her former band Frou Frou's "Let Go" in his 2004 film Garden State), and was also used in a 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Shia LaBeouf. "The Moment I Said It" was also used in the episode "Seven Seconds" of the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds.
In 2004, while recording her second solo album, she was commissioned to record a cover of a short nursery rhyme for the HBO television series, Six Feet Under, entitled "I'm A Lonely Little Petunia (In An Onion Patch)".
In late 2005, Heap was asked to write a track for the soundtrack of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe entitled "Can't Take It In", when a track that fellow Brit singer Dido submitted was deemed unfitting. Heap's track is played at the end of the film in an orchestral version produced by Heap and Harry Gregson Williams, who scored the movie. In addition, she composed a track for the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, but it was deemed to be too dark in tone for the film. Instead, it was included in her album Ellipse as "2-1". 2-1 has also featured in CSI Miami (Season 8 Episode 9), as well as promotional trailers for the film The Lovely Bones.
In March 2006, Heap completed a track about locusts, entitled "Glittering Cloud", for a CD of music about the plagues of Egypt entitled Plague Songs, accompanying The Margate Exodus project, for musical director Brian Eno.
Heap recorded an a cappella version of the Leonard Cohen track "Hallelujah", for the season three finale of The O.C., and her "Not Now But Soon" was included on the original soundtrack for the NBC show, Heroes.

Song use:
Imogen Heap and Frou Frou songs have been featured in various TV shows, movies, advertisements, and marching band productions, notably including CSI: Miami, Chuck, The OC, Saturday Night Live, Garden State, and So You Think You Can Dance. "Hide & Seek" was sampled in Jason Derulo's single "Whatcha Say", which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Frou Frou track "Shh" was also used extensively for TV promotions during the fifth season of Gilmore Girls.

Heap has collaborated as a guest vocalist, co-writer, remixer or producer with many various artists throughout her career. Among them co-writing and producing By The Time for Mika and Now or Never for Josh Groban. The diverse range of other musicians Heap has worked with include IAMX, Jeff Beck, Temposhark, LHB, J. Peter Schwalm, Way Out West, Jon Bon Jovi, Mich Gerber, Sean Lennon, Thomas Dolby, Urban Species, Matt Willis, Jon Hopkins, MIKA, Acacia, Britney Spears, Nik Kershaw, Blue October, Joshua Radin, Nitin Sawhney, I Fight Dragons, Eric Whitacre, and Deadmau5.

Use of technology:
Heap is an advocate of using technology to interact and collaborate with her fans. In August 2009 she used Vokle, an online auditorium, to take questions from listeners over video chat.
Imogen also teamed up with Vokle to hold open cello auditions for her North American tour. She provided sheet music for "Aha" on her website and encouraged local fans to learn the part and audition live via Vokle. Imogen would then pick the cellist to accompany her for that particular city - sometimes with the help of viewers and her puppet Lion, Harold. In 2010 Imogen opened her online auditions to singers and choirs and invited them to audition via submitted YouTube videos to accompany her on stage as she performed the song "Earth" from Ellipse. The winner of each local show was also invited to do a 15-minute gig of their own. In the studio, the official album recording of "Earth" was made up entirely of numerous tracks of vocals.
July 2011 saw Imogen unveil a pair of in development, high-tech musical gloves at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Inspired by the VAMP system developed by Elly Jessop at MIT's media lab, Imogen set out to develop the musical gloves in collaboration with Thomas Mitchell, a lecturer in music systems at the University of the West of England, Bristol. The gloves combine sensors developed by 5DT, x-io Technologies with Shure microphones. Using nothing but hand gestures, Imogen is able to amplify, record, and loop acoustic instruments and her voice, play virtual instruments and manipulate these sounds live. Imogen has for many years been working toward a less constricting live set up which enables her to be mobile while performing live multiple musical production tasks, songs and improvising spontaneously without the need "to go back to basecamp". This is part of a larger audio/visual performance project Imogen has been working towards for a couple of years with the aim of touring in 2013.

In 2008 she participated in a music album called Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace, which is an initiative to support Tibet, Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso and to underline the human rights situation in Tibet. The album was issued on 5 August via iTunes and on 19 August in music stores around the world. On 12 October 2008, Heap also participated in "Run 10k: Cancer Research UK," placing fifth of the women in the actual run and raising over £1000 for the cause with the help of her fans.
In 2008 Imogen was asked to perform at POP!Tech in Camden, Maine (US). There she performed selections from her then forthcoming album Ellipse. After her set and an encouraging plea for another performance later in the conference by the audience and organizers, Imogen agreed. Having nothing else prepared though, she decided to improvise a song on the spot with parameters (tempo, key) suggested by the audience. After the show, Imogen was asked by a Poptech attendee if she would give the newly created piece of music to his charity. A 'lightbulb' moment occurred in Heap's head and she saw the potential in doing these improvised pieces for local charities at each show during the tour she would soon begin.
The first of these songs materialized at Imogen's show at Shepherd's Bush Empire, in London on 19 February 2010. Using the same parameters and audience participation from POP!Tech, Imogen improvised a song titled, "The Shepherdess". After the show, Imogen made the song available worldwide as a digital download on her website asking for donations per download. All proceeds went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital where Imogen was diagnosed with osteomyelitis and underwent life-saving surgery as a little girl. Loving the concept, Imogen rolled this out for her North American Tour, donating all the proceeds for each song to a local charity from that city.
In 2011 Imogen was set to play a benefit concert in New Zealand's Christchurch city to help rebuild the Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti High School, following a severe 6.3 aftershock in February originating from the 7.1 earthquake that struck the Canterbury region in September 2010. The concert was held at the Burnside High Aurora Centre, also featuring performances from Roseanna Gamlen-Greene, and The Harbour Union including The Eastern, Lindon Puffin, Delaney Davidson and The Unfaithful Ways.

Live 4 X:
In 2010, Imogen Heap partnered with Thomas Ermacora of Bubbletank to organize a series of online charitable events called Live 4 X.
The initial event was inspired by the 2010 Pakistan floods. Triggered by monsoon rains, the floods left approximately one-fifth of the country of Pakistan underwater, affecting over 14 million people and damaging or destroying over 900,000 homes. Teaming up with Richard Branson's Virgin Unite and, Heap and Ermacorda create an online webcast/fundraiser to raise awareness and money for the flood stricken. Hosted by comedian, creative, and internet personality Ze Frank, the webcast included a series of conversations with Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity, Gary Slutkin, and Anders Wilhelmson, (and later Richard Branson and Mary Robinson) with live performances by musicians Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Kate Havnevik, KT Tunstall, Josh Groban, Kaki King, Zoe Keating and Mark Isham.
The premise of Live 4 X thus established, Heap has since continued to refine the model, organize, host, and perform a number of charitable, streaming-live, concert events. By integrating live entertainment with educated discussion and technology, Live 4 X became an effective charitable outreach tool.
Following the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011, Heap told Washington Times Communities journalist and recording artist Jennifer Grassman, that she intended to continue organizing Live 4 X events to benefit various charitable causes.
Catalog of Live 4 X events to date:
31 August 2010 - Live 4 Pakistan raised funds for flood relief and recovery in that region. Musicians included Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Kate Havnevik, KT Tunstall, Josh Groban, and Zoe Keating. In an ironic turn of events, Heap, was kept from appearing on Live 4 Pakistan due to Hurricane Earl which at the time was progressing along the US eastern seaboard. Heap, stranded and unable to get an internet connection, later posted a video message as well as a performance of her song "Wait It Out" from Ellipse.,
3 February 2011 - Live 4 Cape Town,
11 April 2011 - Live 4 Sendai raised funds for Japanese tsunami recovery following the disastrous Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The event was also used to solicit rebuilding design ideas on behalf of Architecture for Humanity. Performers included Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, KT Tunstall and Jamie Cullum and hosted by Ze Frank.,

After touring for nearly two years straight for her album Speak for Yourself Imogen continued her travels, this time with only a laptop and video camera on hand as she began her writing trip for her next album. Nine weeks later she returned to the UK with the beginnings of the award-winning Ellipse and footage (as requested by a fan to film the making of the album) from its quiet beginning. Back in Essex, Imogen sought the talents of long-time friend and film maker Justine Pearsall to continue documenting the creation of the album. The film documents every moment of joy, excitement, frustration, and even the renovation of Imogen's childhood home including turning her old playroom into her new home studio. Everything In-Between: The Story of Ellipse was released in November 2010.
On 5 November 2010 at the Royal Albert Hall, Heap conducted an orchestra (including friends and family) as they performed an original composition by Imogen herself orchestrated by Andrew Skeet. Heap also worked with London Contemporary Voices at this time, a scratch choir formed for this concert, which continues as a new choir in its own right. It was the score to the concept film Love The Earth - in creative partnership and co-production with Thomas Ermacora again for another Bubbletank production - in which fans were invited to submit video footage highlighting all of the breathtaking qualities of nature to be selected and edited into a film. This performance was broadcast live worldwide.
In March for the Birds' Eye Festival at the Birds Eye View Film Festival at the Southbank Centre, Imogen composed in collaboration with Andrew Skeet an a cappella choral score to the first ever surrealist film 'The Seashell and the Clergyman' (Germaine Dulac, 1927) with the Holst Singers, a programme repeated at the Reverb Festival at the Roundhouse in February 2012 and in the Sage, Gateshead.
Heap also performed in the Film and Music Arena at Latitude Festival in 2011.