Imogen Heap | Speaking for Herself

ev_imogen_sm"I don't like lyrics that tell an obvious tale; I like things that tug your imagination in different places and forces you to create your own meanings for it."

 

 

 

 

ev_imogenMany probably heard Imogen Heap's distinctive sound before they ever really knew who she was: the emotional sonic linchpin of Zach Braff's directorial debut Garden State was Frou Frou's "Let Go," a track from Heap's collaboration with producer Guy Sigsworth.

For as much as that film changed the lives of the Shins, it helped, in no small way, to greatly heighten Heap's profile as well, which goes a long way toward explaining why Heap's sophomore solo record, Speak for Yourself, has been a left-field hit, attracting soccer moms and indie hipsters in near-equal measure.

Heap, whose 1998 solo debut I, Megaphone hit with minimal impact, is grateful for the intensified attention her work has drawn lately; she's well aware of the benefits appearing on The O.C. or in movie trailers has had upon her career.

"If I didn't have those avenues, you probably wouldn't be talking to me today," Heap said recently. "I think it's a godsend. I've never had a lot of play on the radio, so I've had to rely on other means. Those people who do find [my music] in interesting ways…it has a little bit more meaning, rather than someone on radio blasting out loads and loads of music, trying to sell you songs all the time."

With exotic, futuristic tracks like "Daylight Robbery" and the vocoder-drenched "Hide and Seek," Speak for Yourself is bracing, intelligent pop music that sounds like few other modern female artists. It's not surprising that Heap namechecks David Bowie and Björk as two of her inspirations; her willfully odd, angular compositions reveal their pleasures gradually, stifling plastic MTV convention.

"I guess what I'm most happy about with this album is that the ones I thought were really odd, the ones I thought nobody would ever get, songs like ‘Hide & Seek,' are actually connecting," Heap said. "That gives me great hope that there is a wider audience out there, that doesn't want to listen to bubblegum pop all the time. There is a little something different to the sonic side of the album."

In addition to aural unpredictability, there's also Heap's gift for oblique lyrics that suggest one thing and mean another; the singer-songwriter said, surprisingly, most fans have eagerly responded to these opaque compositions.

"They're the ones that people seem drawn to, because they're less obvious and they give people space to find their own meaning in the song," Heap said. "I don't like lyrics that tell an obvious tale; I like things that tug your imagination in different places and forces you to create your own meanings for it."

Heap has toured relentlessly in 2006, criss-crossing the country three times in support of Speak for Yourself.

"[It's been] a long, interesting journey," Heap said. "I don't know if I would like to have learned what I've learned now at 18; I'm kind of glad I had to go through it already. I'm very happy to be where I am now." | Preston Jones

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply