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Painting Her Songs In The Air, Imogen Heap Keeps Innovating

You could say Imogen Heap has a Midas touch of sorts: Everything she touches turns to tech. She earned a Grammy in 2010 for Best Engineered Album in the Non-Classical category for her album Ellipse. Her hit "Hide and Seek," featured in the 2006 movie The Last Kiss, is a love ballad performed by Heap and a mini-choir of robot doubles, as affecting a song as has ever been created with a vocoder.

Heap continues to branch out, connecting with fans for online collaborations, documenting her creative process with video blogs and, on the new album Sparks, making music with a pair of high-tech musical gloves called Mi.Mu.

"I make music with computers, but I also make music with acoustic instruments. And with an acoustic instrument, you have the physicality of the real body of the instrument; you feel the resonance of that, and you have something to interact with and to play with," Heap says in an interview with NPR's Scott Simon.

"When it comes to all the beautiful, wonderful sounds that you can create inside the computer — all the synth sounds, all the drum sounds, or you may want to mold and shape the sound of your voice inside the computer and make it do all sorts of wonderful, weird things that physics can't do in the real world — this is what I wanted to get my hands on," she adds. "I didn't want to have to interact with this via a computer. That's what it's about: I wanted to get closer to the raw emotion and the flow of music."

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