Imogen Jennifer Heap 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 four solo albums. Her 2009 album, Ellipse, was a North American chart success that earned Heap two Grammy nominations, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical in recognition of her technical and engineering work on the record. In 2010 she received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement. She also received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2016 for her production work in Taylor Swift's 1989.
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.
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 Hide and Seek) 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."
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.
Heap 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. Heap 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 Heap 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 Heap 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, Heap 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. Both Heap's and Elly Jessop's musical gloves are similar to The Lady's Glove, an earlier invention by the electronic sound pioneer Laetitia Sonami, and the midi gloves used since 1989 by Steve Hogarth lead singer of Marillion. While still in prototype stage, Heap used her MiMu gloves to record Me the Machine, the first song created solely with the gloves. The song was released on her latest album, Sparks, originally titled heapsong11. In an attempt to raise money for further research, Heap toured the song and the gloves at a number of venues and has been working with artists to discover the full potential of the gloves.
Using nothing but hand gestures, Heap is able to amplify, record, and loop acoustic instruments and her voice, play virtual instruments and manipulate these sounds live. Heap 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 Heap has been working towards for a couple of years with the aim of touring in 2013.
On 5 October 2015, Heap released her single Tiny Human on Mycelia: an experimental music distribution platform using blockchain-based technology called Ethereum alongside other open source platforms like Ujo.
Excerpts of bio taken from Wikipedia
Imogen Heap - iMegaphone (Almo Sounds, 1998)
Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself (Megaphonic, 2005)
Imogen Heap - Ellipse (Megaphonic, RCA Victor, 2009)
Imogen Heap - Sparks (Megaphonic, 2014)
Frou Frou – Details (MCA Records, Island Records, 2002)
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Imogen Heap uses Perfidus headphone amplifier.
It's fast! It's powerful! It's evil! It's Perfidus!