Imogen Heap

Dave is credited as producer on the album I Megaphone

As a rule, group efforts are something that come before a solo career--not after a solo career is in full swing. First, the artist makes a name for himself/herself as part of a group, then the artist leaves the group to become a full-time solo artist. That's usually how it works, but with Imogen Heap, it was the other way around; the British singer/songwriter (who is also a classically trained pianist) had been an established solo artist for a few years when she became half of the London-based duo Frou Frou. Although Heap now lives in London, she isn't a native of England's largest city. Born in the late ‘70s, Heap lived in Essex, England as a pre-teen--and it was in Essex that she first studied European classical piano. Heap didn't really get into rock until she went off to boarding school as a teenager; eventually, she decided against being a full-time classical instrumentalist and realized that alternative pop-rock, Euro-pop and electronica would her main focus. In 1997--when Heap was in her late teens--she signed with Almo Sounds as a solo artist. I Megaphone, Heap's debut album, was released by Almo in 1998; the album's influences ranged from Kate Bush (a frequent comparison) to Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics to former Sugarcubes vocalist Björk. Some reviewers have compared Heap to PJ Harvey, although Heap has denied that Harvey is an influence. I Megaphone found Heap working with three different producers: David Kahne, Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) and Guy Sigsworth (who has worked with major artists like Madonna, Björk and Seal). After I Megaphone, Heap and Sigsworth kept in touch--and in the early 2000s, they were reunited as the duo Frou Frou. Hearing the name Frou Frou, one might expect something bubble gum; one might expect some fun, frivolous Euro-pop along the lines of ABBA, Bananarama Fun Fun, Jemma & Elise or Aqua. But there is nothing bubble gum about Frou Frou, whose alternative pop-rock tends to be atmospheric, dreamy and ethereal. Frou Frou's work is very European-sounding, although not in a cutesy, bubble gum way. As Frou Frou, Heap and Sigsworth signed with MCA/Universal in 2001, which didn't mean that Heap was giving up her solo career--Frou Frou was meant to be a part-time project. Details, the British duo's first album, was released in England and the United States in 2002. "Breath In" was released as the album's first single. ~ Alex Henderson

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