Fireside Chat

Imogen Heap

60 minsFirst aired 19 Mar 2019
Jeremy Cowarts

With playful technical ingenuity, the English songwriter and vocalist creates ethereal moments of modern pop.

London based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, vocalist and engineer Imogen Heap’s wistful electronic pop has captivated a loyal audience and influenced pop megastars including Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift. Her breakthrough 2005 album Speak For Yourself includes her vocoder-led hit song “Hide and Seek.” With five Grammy nominations — winning one for engineering and another for her contribution to Taylor Swift’s 1989 — Heap also received an honorary doctorate of technology for her work on MI.MU gloves, a groundbreaking gestural music-making system. She used the gloves to produce tracks for 2014’s Sparks, and used approximately 900 “sound seeds” (samples of everyday sounds sent to her by fans). The 2015 single “Tiny Human” was released using blockchain technology during a livestream event, highlighting how independent artists can share music and enforce “smart contracts.” In 2018, Heap started a world tour to launch Mycelia’s Creative Passport, a digital identity standard for music makers with credentials, payment mechanisms and more. The tour involves concerts, talks and workshops that aim to connect musicians through a verified and decentralized ecosystem, promoting artist-led, fair and sustainable operating practices.


Interview by Harley Brown
Written and engineered by Frank Westerkamp
Produced by Carmen Hofmann and Jordan Rothlein

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