She may have a name reminiscent of a Charles Dickens' character but, far from being old fashioned Romford girl, Imogen Heap is a talented multi-instrumentalist who belongs firmly in the 21st century. She was at the forefront of the online explosion a few years back and has maintained a high profile there ever since with American fans almost adopting her as their own. Her sound has been described as 'eclectronic', a brilliant kaleidoscopic symphony of voices, beats, sounds and emotions with beautiful lyrics and breathtaking melodies. Despite being twice nominated for a Grammy and having worked with some big names, she still remains one of our best kept secrets.
We caught up with her over at Television Centre last week and found a warm and engaging woman excited by the release of new single 'First Train Home' from her third album 'Ellipse'. Written and produced by herself in a studio she built in her childhood home; 'Ellipse' has debuted at no 5 on the Billboard album chart and has also gone straight in at no 4 on the Canadian album charts. The album has also debuted at no1 on the UK iTunes Electronic Chart and has become her first UK Top 40 album. Hear what Immi had to say about a few things after the jump.
What aspect of making music excites/discourages you the most right now?
It's a bit weird having my life all planned out. I know exactly what I'll be doing each day for the next two years, so there's not much room for spontaneity. I've just taken a spontaneous holiday however, before everything totally kicks in, where I turned up at the airport with only an inkling of where I might go. First stop was Berlin where I dressed up as a guy and made a video with Chris Corner out of Sneaker Pimps, then I went to Krakow to stay with a friend.
What thrills me is the power of Twitter and the fans there who encourage, support and inspire me. Thanks to the site, fans have also helped me write a new press biog and create album artwork. I'm @imogenheap if you want to hang out.
What music did you grow up listening to?
As a child it was Michael Jackson, he definitely had the most influence on me. I was about to meet him but he died before I got the chance. (Check out her version of Thriller from a R2 session). As a teenager, it was all about outdoor parties and raving. Most recently it's Swedish electro pop duo The Knife. I can't believe I've only just discovered them!
What are your top 5 things about London in terms of:
Eating - Japanese omelettes, okonomiyaki at Abeno Too in Covent Garden. Actually, this is my second favourite place to eat, I'm keeping my first a secret, but I will tell you, it too involves okonomiyaki...
Performing - The Royal Albert Hall. I haven't played it... yet, but I love it there and have memories of me and mum lying on our backs taking in the sounds of the proms there when I was a kid.
Visiting - Tate Modern and St Pauls. I jog around there a lot and often end up in either place - generally all hot and sweaty!
Hanging out - Southbank and Bar Concrete when I have the time which isn't that often these days.
Have you got any Tube stories?
I was with a close male friend and had decided that this particular night was the time to tell him that I was in love with him and I was totally expecting him to feel the same way. He didn't and we ended up spending the whole journey, with only the two of us in the carriage, so no distractions from the in excruciating silence between us.. Luckily, it didn't ruin the friendship and we're still friends today.
Another story is that a friend of mine had just died, and I just sat on the circle line reading The Lovely Bones, going round and round and round until I'd finished it.
Imogen is off to the States but will be back in February for her UK tour.