Published Sep 21, 2009It takes a lot of work to put together an album, and these days nobody has documented the process better than British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. She released her third solo album, Ellipse, at the end of August after two years of documenting via weblogs, blog entries, website updates and, of course, tweets.
"I think the greatest parts of life are when you're connected, whether it's with your family or your friends or your lover," Heap told Exclaim! when she stopped in Toronto. "I guess it's really the connection that I love; I think it's something that I certainly crave, just wanting to understand people and wanting them to understand me. That's just a natural human need, that's why I do it."
Besides tweeting every single bit about fixing up every song on the album, Heap kept up a steady flow of weblogs on YouTube and 12seconds to premiere drafts of songs, talk while playing the piano or just show she could still have goofy fun.
Her friend Justina, who directed and edited most of the footage, now has 350 hours to sort through in order to make a making-of DVD. As if that wasn't enough to keep her busy, Heap was also distracted during those two years building a home studio and collaborating with other artists, such as producing a track for Mika.
Now that the album is complete and released, Heap has been updating her many websites less regularly, but on September 11 she tweeted, "Ahh, to go where the wind takes me! My life is scheduled out for touring next 18 months... lovely to go away with no plan whatsoever tonight!?" So now it's up to fans to start getting excited over tour dates.
Heap must be just as thrilled, though probably pretty tired. She's got a new instrument called a monome, which is a kind of control station that will sync up all of her high-tech sounds to one board. She will also still bring her famous clear piano on tour. But although the planning doesn't seem to be in full effect just yet that leaves time for her to daydream about what she would like her stage sets to look like.
"I've got this plan. It's to not have anything on stage at all and to come on and slowly rebuild the stage myself while I'm doing it. So I'm kind of building, having things hidden on the stage, underneath it where there's slip-like shapes and things and throw them up into the air and then light falls on them. There's nothing." Heap says. "I like the idea of no waste. There's no need to have hundreds of watts of lights pouring down on me when I'm only here. I don't need all of those. I'd love to work on a stage show where light is built and sculpted around me or I'm projecting it myself or it's on me, like I'm being projected onto with a big dress or something. Trying to be more igniting with the stage and get creative inside that."