Imogen Heap Stays Busy On the Road
Fresh off a Grammy Award -- Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical -- for her latest album, 2009's "Ellipse," Imogen Heap is working on a DVD documentary and another major musical project.
The documentary, which has not been titled or set for release yet, is culled from 360 hours of footage from 2007-09 of the British singer making "Ellipse," from the first songwriting to recording sessions at her old family home in Essex to mixing. "It was fan-generated," Heap tells Billboard.com. "Somebody emailed or something to say, 'Oh, please take a video camera and show us how you write your songs. I'd love to know what inspired you.' So I started to film it and it grew. You've got film of me in Maui, going to Japan, going to Australia, Beijing, Thailand, coming back and making the record. You get to see the whole process right from the start. I've got film of me crying on camera because 'I can't do it!' and dancing about on camera because, 'I CAN do it!!'
"It feels great for me to have this thing. It's my life. When I'm 90 and old and dotty and my grandchildren don't believe I was once young, I can show them this."
And, she adds, "It's great to be able to write on the DVD that 'Imogen won a Grammy...' "
After launching another North American tour for "Ellipse" on May 21 in Detroit, Heap is starting to sketch out her next project -- "a piece of music for funny instruments, electronic instruments and also orchestra" that premiere Nov. 5 at London's Royal Albert Hall. The environmentally themed composition will be accompanied by a specially made film featuring footage sent to her "from all the fans and everyone who's a fan of the Earth."
"God knows what it's going to sound like," says Heap, who's been researching atomic physics and other scientific topics for inspiration. She plans on writing in earnest in July. "I don't know how it's going to be orchestrated," she explains. "I don't know if we'll have a string section with all cellos or maybe mandolin or maybe it's going to be a 50-piece choir or people will have water instruments. I know it won't be a conventional orchestra. There'll be some kind of weird amalgam of strange instruments, with me in a tailcoat, conducting."
As for a next album, Heap says, 'Omigod, don't even talk about it! I don't think you'll see another record like ('Ellipse'); that was too intense. I'll probably start thinking about something new, but it's a little too soon now."