Concert review: Imogen Heap (2019)

Imogen Heap is a musical genius. She is one the most creative, innovative and interesting musicians out there. I never thought I’d ever see her live since she hasn’t gone on a world tour for eight years or so. It was so worth it.

Honestly, this was a dream come true. There have been countless times in which I’d replay her CD (yes, I actually bought a CD) because it made me happy, hopeful and inspired. Her music came to me during a time in my life when I was still discovering my identity and personal preferences. Learning about her made me admire her even more. Her songs validated these indescribable experiences that mainstream pop songs just couldn’t do. Imogen is also super talented and it is wonderful to see someone with so much knowledge and skill be recognized.

Hearing the songs I’ve enjoyed for years live is an unreal experience (Goodnight & Go, Let Go, Breathe In and Just For Now to name a few). For some of these songs, she performed with her long-time collaborator Guy Sigsworth. This was such a treat! Despite her being sick, her vocals were amazing. Imogen performed with musical, high-tech gloves that assisted her in manipulating the music while she sang. They are called Mi.Mu Gloves and she created them. This is definitely a progressive way of performing and an invention that is, in general, the bee’s knees! She spoke about them in her recent performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert video featured above.

The crowd was so eclectic. There were people dressed in nice dresses, casual jeans, cowboy boots and all in various age groups. Perhaps it’s because her music has been featured on various platforms like the television show The O.C. and the soundtrack to the film Garden State. Her song has been covered by Ariana Grande, sampled by Jason Derulo and she collaborated with Taylor Swift. She even composed the music for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play.

She chatted with the audience quite a bit and even had a quick Q & A. I admire and appreciate her ability to just be real and relatable on stage. I’m not sure when she will be performing next, but I will definitely be looking out for her next big idea and song release.

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Imogen Heap

I love Imogen Heap. I believe my first introduction to her music was from my researching Frou Frou, a duo group she was a part of many years ago. Let Go is my favorite song in one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard from the film Garden State. Her voice is just so encompassing and involved; grabs me into the tumble and twirl of the song. I am sitting here just reminiscing about the feelings I had when I decided to purchase her CD and play it entirely through without a pause. It’s similar to how I feel when I slowly drink a good glass of chilled cranberry juice. It’s an acquired taste. Although not mainstream, her music is still very popular among those who have an appreciation to her eclectic style and unique techniques in creating music.

a surreal night | true story

I was in a foreign country, but it was a place I called home at the time. As I sat in the too cool taxi, my aunt talked with me about life stuff I can’t quite remember. She asked me to go to the jazz lounge with her that night and see a a famous singer, who I’ve never heard of. It was cold that night, which was very atypical for the season. Rain was starting with little droplets and it didn’t matter to us because the lounge was around the corner. We walked in and it was dark. We saw her friends at this long table right by the stage. I had chills on both arms and anxiety had creeped in. Looking around the table, I saw there was not a single person I could connect with. Middle-aged  guys and gals; some with cigarette smokes and alcohol breaths made me feel alone. How young was I?

I stepped outside and started taking photographs. It became something I relied on as a way for me to feel productive and not as lonely. The rain had subsided, but it was still there. I see a loving couple dressed up in fancy clothes embracing, and then a big light shines on them like from the movies. They aren’t startled though. A man with headphones holding up a boom mic directed them. They were filming a television scene. They were in an intense conversation one moment and then re-applying their make-up the next. Never thought I’d witness something like this so closely and unplanned.

I went back in and decided to head to the bathroom before the singer began her show. The bathroom looked cool enough for a fancy jazz club I assume. Dark again. When I washed my hands at the sink, I was looking at myself in the mirror and my new haircut made me unrecognizable, even to me. There was this petite woman next to me putting lipstick on, I think. She grinned at me and said something I can’t remember. We shared a laugh and that was it. I walked back to my aunt’s table and she had wide-eyes. She asked me if I spoke to that woman over there. She pointed at the one getting on stage and the one I just spoke to. I nodded yes and suddenly realized why my aunt was so excited.

This singer was the one who judged musical performances on a singing competition reality show my dad and mom often watched on their international channel. The one who is super talented in singing and is kind of a legend in the industry. The same one, who I saw on television myself, but did not recognize in person. Her persona on tv is rough around the edges and is a tough judge. I thought she was mean. But she is the same one I spoke with in the bathroom who was this sweet and friendly stranger.

What a surreal night.

color & design: photography and music videos

color blinds
“color blinds”

I think one of the most surprising things I learned about myself is that I really value design and color. They could be about anything; food presentation, home interiors, choreography and fashion. It’s silly to not know before, but now that I do, it seems so obvious. I did not have a desire to study graphic design or art academically. But I did for film production. I remember being a young critic on how films should have been directed. Or how I would notice all the little details on their set and the most random props. I don’t do this anymore, but I would be the kind of person who would watch a film and then re-watch with commentary from the director or the actors because I was fascinated with their viewpoint or thoughts on a scene. For fun, I would take photographs of buildings in strange angles or preferred to watch dance competitions as opposed to American Idol. Now that I think about it, maybe that was why I was so drawn to indie films. Although they are using traditional forms and processes of media, they present different and unique ways of doing them. They create visuals that are more interesting and memorable. They all kind of live for being imperfect in their way.

A few years ago, I experimented on color and light with a friend. I compiled edited footage of each experiment we did and made a short film.

And then I wondered, how many other videos are out there that have some really cool editing techniques? I used to spend so much time watching different music videos. Here are a few I thought were especially unique that used color or editing in interesting ways.

Chvrches

Kishi Bashi

Coldplay

In case you’re curious, here are some photographs from past color and light experiments. IMG_0987IMG_2981

 

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Do you see the toilets?

singer spotlight: Birdy

Although her Fire Within studio album was released a little over four years ago, I’ve only just sort of discovered Birdy. Sort of in that I think I have heard some of her songs in the past, but for some reason, it was only now did I feel connected to her music. There’s just something about her voice that settles really nicely in my ears and in my heart. Speaking of which, her voice is phenomenal. I got caught in the YouTube rabbit hole of videos and came across a few of her covers. I especially like her version of the song Let Her Go by Passenger, which garnered over 14 million views (I’m not alone!) The way she sings the words feels a bit more personal and sacred. You know how the chorus to songs kind of feel a bit overplayed after the second time? I felt like this didn’t happen here. She took her time with each beat and each word was sung carefully. She made me wish I could play piano because the accompaniment was so smooth with the violin; makes me want to create something as kismet.