Imogen Heap

Recording Artist & Technologist - Mycelia Ltd

How would you describe your career?

When people ask me what I do, I haven’t yet figured out how to properly answer that question! I usually just say that I make music and tech. Most of my time is made up of hours and hours of talking and sharing a vision and along the way, finding the people who have the business or tech know-how to pull all that together.

How did you get to where you are now?

When I was growing up, I just wanted to make music. I hadn’t figured out how I could do it for a career, or what jobs were even out there. I just wanted to keep going in that direction. If I thought for a moment that I wanted to be a famous pop star with all the trappings then that might have gone terribly wrong and I would have never got here. Very few people make it when coming at it from that premise. Do what you love and that passion will make you a cut above anyone else.

What motivates you on a daily basis – what gets you up in the morning?

I feel a real sense of change in the music industry. Something is closing in on the horizon, which is a sense of community, sharing and openness. Data is going to put music makers at the core and they’ll be able to drive their careers by being data empowered.

What’s the biggest challenge that you face right now?

We love, and we listen to, and we care about music so much, yet the industry around music isn’t particularly transparent or fair. It’s a place where innovation is really needed. Thanks to a lot of recent developments such as blockchain, we have real potential to reimagine our future.

I go where there’s an open door, or where there’s someone who wants to help
How do you feel about doing things differently?

I’m self-employed and a musician, so even from an early age, I’ve been on my own time and working on my own dreams. I’ve been lucky in my life that I’ve been able to lead my projects and I haven’t had to actively think about it. I get excited and passionate about a direction that I’m heading in and I just keep going until I get there. And when I get there, there’s another thing so I don’t really stop. I often use the phrase go where the love is. I go where there’s an open door or where there’s someone who wants to help.

What do you really love about what you’re doing?

I’ve always really enjoyed the full creation of a song – from the demo stage to the recording, engineering, mixing and producing of it. I just love seeing something from beginning to end and the journey that you go through. I find that space really inspiring and energising.  

What did you think you were going to be when you were older?

I never really thought about the future too much. I’ve always had a creative project going on in my life. I never really looked forward and thought about what I wanted to do for a job, it was always about the creative thing I was working on at the time. Whether that was a song at the age of nine, or producing a piece for an orchestra when I was a bit older, or now working with technology – it’s about seeing a space where I feel I can do something.

What drives and inspires you?

The key things that drive me all begin with the letter C – creativity, community and connection. I’m always wanting to bond and meet like-minded people so we can grow something together. When I was younger, I lived in quite an isolated place – it was a beautiful house in the countryside, but I desperately wanted to be around other people and different cultures. Everything since then has been about trying to bring these things together.

How do you lean on others to gain strength?

I’ve never been afraid of collaborating with others, but it took me a while to realise that asking for help isn’t a bad thing and it does feel good to give help too.

Can you tell us about the significant object that you’ve chosen?

I’ve chosen intricate branches from my garden because it represents the networks, the sharing of data and the connectivity and all the goodness that’s shared in the community. It stands for the individual people, for everyone and it’s all connected – working together in an ecosystem that’s all for good.