Life would not have been the same for me, had I not purchased The Grammy Nominees 2007 CD. It introduced me to the beautiful song, Hide and Seek and the ethereal voice of Imogen Heap. The song was from Imogen’s second album Speak For Yourself. I promptly purchased the album and also her debut, I Megaphone.
Imogen Heap is a highly talented and extremely creative artist. One of the very few, heavily gifted people in the music industry. She was musically inclined from a very early age. Classically trained in piano (How I love to listen to her piano!) cello and clarinet, she also taught herself guitar and mbira.
In 1998, Imogen Heap (who is called Immi by fans worldwide) released her debut album i-Megaphone (which, you might have noticed already, is an anagram of her name. Genius!). The album garnered critical acclaim and made modest sales. Imogen heap, then twenty, was captivating with her deep, dark voice and equally dark lyrics. Some of the best songs (I mean, the songs that really impressed me) are Getting Scared, Oh Me Oh My, Whatever, and Angry Angel. Unfortunately, a year later, her record company, Almo Sounds, shut down, and Heap was left without a label. Later in 2002, i-Megaphone was re-released with additional tracks by Aozora Records.
Artists usually make a name for themselves as a group first and then start with their solo careers. However, Imogen became half of the duo, Frou Frou, after tasting success as a solo artist. Guy Sigsworth, who worked with heap on i-Megaphone, formed the other half. Frou Frou released their first (and only) album Details in August 2002. Two single Must Be Dreaming and Breathe In gained popularity. The album won critical acclaim but did not taste success commercially, which led to their record label, Island Records, denying them a second album. However, they offered to allow Heap to continue as a solo artist with them. Heap rejected the offer due to their mistreatment of Details.
Heap decided that she would release her next solo album on her own and set up her own record company, Megaphonic Records. The album titled Speak For Yourself was released in July 2006 and the bare-vocoder-vocal single Hide and Seek became an instant hit, fixing itself at number one on the iTunes chart. Other songs that I simply adore are Goodnight and Go, Headlock, The Walk. Speak For Yourself is an eclectic mix of pacey tracks like Daylight Robbery and the soulful ones like The Moment I Said It. Hide and Seek was nominated for The Grammys, along with another song she wrote for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe, titled, Can’t Take It In.
And Now The Wait For “Ellipse”
In August 2007, Heap started her vblog on youtube to share with her fans her moving into her family home and building her own studio. Each vblog is interesting, where she talks about her progress with her third album, which she has now titled Ellipse (after the shape of her home), and acquiring her driving license, apart from other stuff like performing at events and tit-bits of family life. After setting deadline after deadline for herself, and not sticking to them, Heap is finally ready to release Ellipse on 24th August, 2009. She has already released two singles – First Train Home and Canvas. The album track-list, as given on her blog/website is as follows.
1. First Train Home: Heap had said on her vblog that the song is about having a night when everything goes against you. And all you wish is to be home. Safe and warm. The song has beautiful lyrics, with Imogen Heap sounding more heavenly than ever (if that is possible). The video for this song will be out on August 17th. You are advised to check her twitter page for a link then.
2. Wait It Out
3. Earth - The song is about protecting our environment. And Imogen Heap said that it was the hardest to write because we all take every possible step to protect our Earth, but that does not really help.
4. Little Bird
7. Between Sheets – I am dying to hear this song. This is the only song that Imogen has not played a sample of to her fans on her vblog. She had said that the song is about being in the moment. Much like how she was, when in bed with a man. Not thinking of anything – the past or the future, just the present.
8. 2-1 – This track was formerly called Polyfilla and was written for the movie The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian. However, the song was deemed too dark for the movie. Well, it is the movie’s loss.
9. Bad Body Double – This about having a bad body double (as you might have guessed. Duh!). This is going to be a peppy number. I can say that from the sample Heap has played on her vblog.
10. Aha! – The song is about hypocrites. Those who claim to be health-conscious and to be careful about their diet, but are later caught with their hand in the biscuit tin. That is what she said in her vblog.
11. The Fire - It is about family values. The name comes from the burning of a special kind of wood in the Heap household.
12. Canvas – Imogen Heap wrote this song when she heard of a man travelling to the North Pole just to paint a picture. I don’t remember exactly. You can watch her vblog to know. The song has a slow, dark, haunting sound to it. The initial guitar bit is amazing and Heap is angelic when she goes wo wow wo wo wo.
13. Half Life – This is going to be an instrumental piano track. And I am going to love it. Because I love Heap’s piano.
Well, that is all for now. I will be writing more on Imogen Heap in my future posts, reviewing her old albums and Ellipse, when it is released.
Links to Imogen Heap