Imogen Heap biography
Imogen Jennifer Heap (; born 9 December 1977 in the London Borough of Havering) is an English singer, composer and songwriter. 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.
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 "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."
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.
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