Imogen Heap Album Artwork Contest Awesomeness

Well, now that it’s posted elsewhere, I might as well tell you… I’m a winner! No, not in the not-a-loser highschool way, but in the you-won-a-contest sort of way. Now, as anybody who knows me knows, I do NOT win stuff. I am very lucky in many ways, but that isn’t usually one of them. So that is pretty exciting.

What happened was: Imogen Heap, in all her brilliant inventiveness, invited her followers on Twitter to submit photos via Flickr for use in her album artwork project. She selected a handful of winning entries and to my complete amazement, one of my photos was chosen out of a thousand entries or so! It delights me to think I get to contribute in a tiny way to Imogen’s new album, titled “Ellipse”. I really dig her stuff, and I can’t wait to see and hear the new release.

If you’re dying to hear it too, then listen to Imogen’s new single “First Train Home” at Stereogum.

The photos selected even earn a groovy cash prize. It’s amusing that, technically, the first outside record company cheque I will ever receive in my life will be for a photograph. I suppose this is also the first time I’ve ever sold a photograph. So Imogen, you are customer #1! Thanks Immi!

In a strange twist of fate, Imogen’s album is actually coming out in the same month as mine… am definitely in good company for August releases by chicks rockin’ the synth. :-)

Here is the photo that was selected:

Cherry Blossoms

Imogen Heap Averts Troublesome Leak, Indies Still Have Nothing to Worry About

The last couple days on Twitter, it seems some serious beeswax went down concerning Imogen Heap‘s hotly anticipated new album “Ellipse”. A fan noticed a listing for a pre-release press copy of her album for sale on eBay, which is a big big nono. In the ensuing Twitterstorm Immi and her fans took to the listing and managed to bid the errant promo CD up to the delightful amount of ten million pounds. In the end it seems the listing user canceled the ridiculously high bids, while eBay got smart to the violation and took down the listing.

The promo disc was actually labeled for a specific reporter, which made things look extra suspect. Leaking a release for profit could get you blackballed bigtime. In the past, the majors have even gone so far as give reporters CD players that are glued shut with a disc inside to prevent dupes. In any case, the reporter in question says his mail was stolen and his employer is standing behind him. Crisis averted, all is well that ends well… sortof.

The illustrious Thomas Dolby wrote blogged his reaction to this event, and also took that opportunity to convey his distaste for music reviewers in general. (Fortunately, I do not share his feelings about reviewers — perhaps because I haven’t had my heart broken by them yet.) Stereokill.net also picked up the story early, and then updated it to help clear the journalist’s reputation.

I’ve been following Immi’s journey in making her album on Twitter for a while now, and it’s been a comfort to know what there are others (albeit vastly better known) going through some of the same crap I go through making music. The leaking problem however, I am fortunate not to worry about. The good news about being a small indie artist is that nobody WANTS to leak your stuff yet. Leaks only have value if the release is hugely anticipated. That could change, but for the minute, I can happily mail out out unprotected promos to media as I see fit.

If you don’t already know Imogen, do yourself a favour and listen to her last album “Speak for Yourself”. It’s a delicious concoction of synths and earnest girlish vocals — and you know how much I like that. ;-)

To Debut or Not to Debut

A while back, it was suggested to me that I market my new release as a debut release. This makes sense in a lot of ways. It’s been some time since my first album Adrift and now that I’ve changed my artist name, I could be starting afresh if I wanted to. The other major change is that I’ve started including more songwriting/structure in my work, so I really considered it.

I decided not to present it as my first solo release however… and here is some of my reasoning.

First of all, out of sincerity. To say that Morning Glow was a my first solo effort would be, well, not true. I did put out a prior album, and it was reasonably well received. While Adrift was different from Morning Glow, if you listen to both there is a clear progression from one to the other. They share a similar flavour. If you draw a line between two points, you get, well a line. The line points somewhere, hints at where you’re headed. It might be more impressive to say I started where I am now, but it isn’t true. I’ve come a long way. In this day and age of prepackaged starlets (who are also fab in their own way), sincerity is as good as any other asset.

Secondly, I don’t want to deny the struggle. It’s a waste not to learn from the struggle. I really feel proud of this new release, which is a really weird and unfamiliar sensation. It actually took me me an assload of work, faulty starts, and body fluids in the form of blood/sweat/tears. I don’t want to pretend that this just snuck out of nowhere. I had a vision of the album I wanted to create, but I didn’t have the skills, time, or knowledge for how to conquer that mountain. I bit off way more than I could chew, and then kept chewing. And chewing. After really sweating it out, I eventually made some good inroads. In the end, I had Morning Glow.

So while Morning Glow is a rebirth of sorts, it isn’t a true artist debut. But is the debut of my voice, my songwriting, and a new direction. So at least there’s that.