imogene heap

Imogene Heap is one of my musical guilty pleasures. Quirky music from a seemingly quirky woman (but a cool one). While not really making it into the mainstream her music seems to consistently make its way into television shows and movies.  In fact it is because of Garden State and her awesome song “Let Go” that I became familiar with her music (she was going by Frou Frou at the time).

Anyway. Several things that prompted me to write something about her music (and her).


She has an awesome behind the scenes video exploring the three year journey of the making of Ellipse (her Grammy Award winning album). You get to follow along with her as she invites you into her writing & recording process and building a brand new recording studio in her old family home.

Ellipse the video:

I like it because it is a cool glimpse inside the life of a cool woman as well as the writing and recording process.  I guess it is even neater to me because writing songs and creating music is such a personal thing and being allowed to step inside even a little bit is a pretty amazing glimpse into something that most of us will never have in our own lives.

Second reason I am writing something.

She did an interesting thing that showcases her independence & creativity.

So.  Her label created a music video for First Train (an awesome song off of Ellipse).  It’s an okay video. It’s actually a pretty good video.  Certainly nothing to be embarrassed over.

Official First Train video:

But good ole Imogene ain’t your typical gal.

She created her own video for the song. Apparently she came up with the idea in a cab on the way home late one night and filmed it the next week. One would have to imagine she was thinking about it because she didn’t really like (personally) the video the label did. So in a way it’s a slam on the label.  And a nice insight into Imogene’s head.  Here are her own words on her own video for First Train:

It’s shot in the room I wrote the song in, which is above my studio where I recorded Ellipse. It’s me and a load of my friends I borrowed for the day to boss around. We had great fun, some great curry (from my local takeaway.. the best for mies!) and later a few of us sat around the bonfire outside and carried on the night together. It felt like a little mini album finishing party for me.
So many of you have been following and getting involved in Ellipse and after all the vblogs and tweets it felt wrong to do a video that was so impersonal which I felt the original one was. Even a bit cold and detached. This new video won’t win any awards but I felt I wanted to make it. Some of the people dancing about have been around me so much during the making of Ellipse.

Justine is the “goat woman shooting from the goat cam” who’s been filming all my blogs and “the making of Ellipse” DVD. Dracula is helping us with it too and filming on occasion.
Paul (man in catsuit) has been with me since the start of building “The Hideaway” (my studio) in the old playroom. I can thank Sue Denim (Robots in Disguise – girl in catsuit) for getting him into it!
Oli – cute guy in black and white jumper played violin on the album.
Luci – in blue dress, was my artist in residence/ house help for a year while we built the studio and I later began recording.
Man in white suit jacket is my radio plugger.

Guy in grey leotard is Paul who built my studio.

Angela (in fame outfit) is my personal trainer who has been coming over to the house twice a week to put me through my lanky paces.
jennie (blond in black dress gracefully moving around) is my Personal Assistant and has been responsible for being in touch with many of you regarding the album artwork.

So there we go… the list goes on. Good times. Hope you enjoy it. The odd thing of course is that this is my IDEAL party and not at all the party I was singing about… which I desperately didn’t want to be a part of… and got on the first train out of Brighton to get away from it.


So. This is the First Train Home alternative video Imogene created and directed on her own:

Hope you enjoyed.


Last (reason I am writing this).

This is a “wow.”  Or an “oh boy.” Or maybe a “boy has she got some kahones.”

Think about what it would take personally to open your creativity up to crowdsourcing.

Well. Imogene has done it.

She has a live blog where she accepts people’s ideas and crafts a song from the input she receives (putting her own style on it but using bits & pieces as submitted).  Her live blog is delightfully quirky (as if you could ever expect anything else) and she verbally brings you through the song crafting.

What she is thinking.  What she likes. What she dislikes.  Her reason for doing what she is doing to the song.

It is pretty fucking amazing. And I respect her for it.  And I believe it shows a lot of strength in character.

Here is a nice example of one blog installment:

(on this blog you can skip to maybe the 12 minute mark to get a feel for the rough song)

So this blog shows her unique personality, her talent as a song crafter and a great personality. And it sounds like it is going to end up being a pretty good song.

In the end I hope you buy her music.

But I guess I am also hoping we have gained a little more respect into the creative mind that creates the music we like to listen to.

Written by Bruce