I first heard "Come Here Boy" (from Heap's debut album "I Megaphone") on Ned Sherrin's BBC R4 show "Loose Ends" back in 1998 and I loved it so much that I went out, found the album (the days before Amazon UK) and bought it. It's an album that has grown on me over the years; but the one thing that was apparent back then was that she is an exceptional artist.
As you do when you find something that hits a nerve, I've looked out for a new album over the years. In record stores and on here but since 1998 nothing in her own name. Until one Sunday in April last year, I was in Montreal and it was pissing down with rain and I took shelter in HMV. Soaking wet, all I could do was browse and I didn't really think I'd find anything. But there this album was, newly released and being promoted off the back of the "OC". I bought it immediately and took it back to my hotel and played it for the rest of my stay.
And I haven't stopped listening to it. It's on my iPod, in the car and here on my PC. It really is an amazing album.
So who'll like it? Well enough people has listened to this with me around; from my Russian cleaner, to the Aussie plumber, from my Colombian lodger to the wide range of friends who come for Sunday lunch. People always listen and they always ask - who is that? I can't tell you how many times I've written it down: Imogen Heap.
The thing about Imogen Heap is that she get's it; every track nails the emotion in a way that just makes you stop and think. There's an energy about her work, an honesty and a humour. There's also a universiality here - she's an amazing poet, she understands language and sound and how to play with it. It's also deeply sensual; it embraces, soothes and seduces.
I thought that she was really interesting from her first album but now I just want to know if she can better this. Another reviewer described this as one of the best albums of the 21st century. It's early days but Imogen Heap is doing something here, breaking new ground, that others will come to imitate.
A wish list of ten people around my dinner table? Well she'd certainly be one of them. Imogen - if you ever read this - it's an invitation.