Indian music as complex as the sari: Imogen Heap

New Delhi : Grammy award-winning British musician Imogen Heap, known for using the sounds of frying pans and glasses in his compositions, compares Indian music with the sari and says it is as colourful and as complex as the six-yard wonder.

“What I love about India is that its music is just like a sari. It is basically colourful, complex, but it is very slow and light. So when I listen to a piece of Indian music, I just love the variety and great melodies. It is so jam packed,” Heap said in an interview.

“Indian music is complex, but it is very nice and rare. I believe people are more used to listening to complex music in India and they do understand more complex things,” added the singer whose last solo album was “Ellipse”.

The 33-year-old recently performed in the capital as part of her India visit which included performances in Mumbai and the music festival in Pune.

Relaxing in a chair in a hotel room here, she looked attractive in a long lemon dress, which she purchased from Mumbai. She was wearing her usual dishevelled hairstyle and smiled while answering questions.

This is not her first visit. She said she was here 14 years ago to party in Goa and then again flew down in January this year to collaborate with music-composer Vishal Dadlani for a musical TV show “The Dewarists”, sponsored by the Scottish whiskey maker Dewar.

It’s not just her love for the sari and music that inspires her to be in India more often; she is equally hooked to Indian cuisine, especially paneer.

“I have been eating a lot of food. It is amazing and great. I love matar-paneer, unfortunately we don’t get that in Indian restaurants in London,” said Heap, who is now a proud owner of three saris.

The multi-instrumentalist manipulates sounds and composes, produces and arranges her own music. She admits the biggest decision of her life was to leave the record industry in 2003 and take the road less travelled by cutting her own albums.

“The best decision I had ever made was to leave the record industry, when I did. It had become too much and I felt like I couldn’t control my life and therefore couldn’t control my music,” said Heap, who was a part of musical duo Frou Frou.

“I wanted to take the risk myself and put my money where my mouth was. I believed I can make a record of my own and I believed I can make a label of my own. But I had this confidence in me which I never had before that if it feels right, go ahead with it and don’t think about it too much,” she added.

And the decision definitely worked in favour of the musician who blends classical sounds with modern technology perfectly. In fact, she won her first Grammy Award for the best engineered album, non-classical, for “Ellipse” in 2009.

Blessed with a soulful and powerful voice, the diva of electronic music has taught herself to play instruments like guitar and drums. And even though Heap plays only the piano sometimes, she likes her music to be more textured.

“I often sing by playing only the piano and I love it. Because that is what I used to do when I was a child. But, when it comes to recording music, I feel it is a bit of an easy road to just play the piano. I love producing a song which has many textures and layers,” she said.

“When it comes to music making, I make it as a piece of identity that will exist even after me. So this is the reason why I want to explore and make sounds that other people won’t put in those combinations which is different from a piano,” she said.

Heap is known as a digital queen as well. She has been bonding with her fans through blog and Twitter for feedback and opinions.

“I am accessible to my fans and they don’t find me scary. In fact, being in constant touch with them doesn’t make me a ‘star’ either. I can walk down the street without getting mobbed. So it is all about being close to them and share their ideas and get their feedback,” she said.

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