In residence with Imogen Heap

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In residence with Imogen Heap

Composer Molly Lawes blogs about writing, recording, performing and releasing a collaborative single with pioneering artist Imogen Heap during a Brighter Sound artistic residency.

Being a group of 10 artists trying to write the same song was a challenge, but a really interesting and inspiring experience. We all contributed to the lyrical content of the songs, writing small fragments of lyric and slowly whittling them down to the selection of verse’s and chorus used for the final song. From there we spent time in small groups working out melodies; we also spent time with Imogen, improvising rhythms to make a beat for the track, and also improvising melodies for the chorus, the iPhone recording’s of which even made it to the final track!

“I learnt so much from working with Imogen on this residency, she definitely kick started a new love for songwriting and making music.”

Working with Imogen was an amazing experience, and it’s not everyday you get to say you played, sang and gigged with her! The residency itself was such an inspiring one for me, being mainly a composer and songwriter, I spend a lot of time writing on my own, so collaborating with 9 other like minded and creative musicians was such a great, and refreshing thing to do! Imogen herself was one of the most down to earth people I’ve every worked with, and it was a lovely opportunity to get a professional’s input and feedback into our ideas, whilst feeling like she was just one of us! It was fascinating to be part of such an organic process, where all of our ideas came together little by little, to form this amazing product that is “Marble”.

I really enjoyed learning about what goes on behind the scenes of releasing a song too, and I was lucky enough to be involved in the filming and making of the music video that was released for “Marble”, alongside other artists, Chaines (Caroline Haines), and Katt Strike. We filmed the music video in around 20 minutes on the free, number 1 bus that runs around Manchester, which in itself was an experience! We then edited the video together in around 2 days! One of the funniest things I will probably always remember, was when I was trying to get a shot of Imogen walking off the bus as it stopped near Band on the Wall, and a seemingly very angry bus driver quickly shut the doors behind Imogen, leaving me alone on the bus to do another 20 minutes circuit of Manchester. Not being from the city, I now know it VERY well.

I learnt so much from working with Imogen on this residency, she definitely kick started a new love for songwriting and making music in general for me. I loved seeing how she worked, and the professional feel of the whole residency. I also learnt so much from working with the other artists, and found the whole experience very rewarding. The ‘Life of a Song’ evening we curated and held at Band on the Wall was a great experience, and a brilliant way to piece together everything we had worked on during the week, with the added bonus of getting to see Imogen perform up close, with her famous Mi.Mu gloves.

I’d recommend any young, creative person to take part in a residency held with Brighter Sound, it was one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had!

Molly Lawes is a composer, songwriter and performer. She’s currently writing a lot of songs for pop and jazz artists, and composing classical music; she also plays as part of an all-female experimental pop trio, ‘PWRPFFS‘.