Imogen Heap headlines stage – and labs – during festival at KTH

Published Apr 09, 2018

Grammy Award-winning recording artist Imogen Heap is scheduled to perform, as well as lead a lab on development of blockchain technology for the music industry, during Music Tech Fest Stockholm, which will take place at KTH Royal Institute of Technology September 3 to 9.

The Grammy- and Ivor Novello-winning artist is among the first of a number of what the festival organizers call “arts-meets-science wonder women” to be announced as leaders of the festival. Music Tech Fest, or MTF, is a giant creative laboratory featuring music hacking, a research symposium, workshops, demos, performances by internationally renowned artists and industry showcases.

The festival has already slated composer and BBC presenter LJ Rich as host of the event’s hack camp. KTH students and researchers can sign up for the hack camp at musictechfest.net/; and tickets for the public portions of the festival September 7-9, including Heap's exhibition and performance, will go on sale on May 1.

Sign up now for Music Tech Fest

Music Tech Fest offers an interactive research symposium, labs and activities where researchers and students work on innovation challenges with music artists, makers and designers. The festival runs from September 3 to 9. The MTF Creative Labs and a Hack Camp are taking registrations now. 

Music Tech Fest founder Michela Magas says: "Why all women? Because we can. The MTF community is highly diverse, completely inclusive, and doesn’t want to miss out on any intelligence. Our tech labs totally challenge the usual statistics in this domain."

In announcing Heap’s role in the festival, Music Tech Fest described her as “an artist’s artist”:

“Self-produced, independent, engaged, Imogen Heap blurs the boundaries between pure art form and creative entrepreneurship. Writing and producing four solo albums, another one as half of Frou Frou, and countless collaborations, she’s an artists’ artist. Heap has been nominated for five Grammys, winning two, together with an Ivor Novello, The Artist and Manager Pioneer award, and an honorary Doctorate of Technology at UWE,” MTF's announcement stated.

She is also the co-developer of interactive wearable technology, called Mi.Mu gloves, which create music through hand gestures. And she leads an initiative called Mycelia Creative Passport, which would use blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin is based, to ensure commercial, ethical and technical standards that would increase innovation for the digital music services of the future. Heap’s 2014 release, Tiny Human, was an experiment for Mycelia and it became the first song to use smart contracts to pay musicians directly with each purchase.

Heap says: “Very much gearing up and looking forward to a giant sharing of ideas at the brilliant Music Tech Fest this year, wearing my three big passion hats of creativity, technology and business with Music, Mi.Mu and Mycelia.”

As well as performing in both intimate and theatre settings, Heap will lead an invitation-only lab on the ongoing development of the Creative Passport with local music makers, industry and policy makers. The Mycelia initiative aims to become a digital identity standard for music makers, containing or linking to verified profile information, IDs, acknowledgements, works, business partners and payment mechanisms. Its mission is to empower a fair, sustainable and vibrant music industry ecosystem involving all online music interaction services, according the Mycelia website.

Heap will also bring an interactive public exhibition of new technologies related to the Creative Passport, demonstrating Mycelia’s capacity for transforming the music business at an infrastructural level. The exhibition will touch on current trend topics such as identity, fintech, VR, big data and blockchain.

The exhibition also will include the Mi.Mu wearable interface, along with a presentation called, The Life of a Song, which provides insight into the music industry via the lens of Imogen’s Hide & Seek.

Heap has written articles for Forbes, Fortune, Harvard Business Review and Demos, and has been featured in New Scientist, Wired, the New York Times and The Guardian. She has presented and performed at TED, SXSW, Midem, Slush and Glastonbury. Her performances have sold out venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and her musical collaborations extend to many renowned international artists (Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Jeff Beck, Deadmau5). She also has creatively worked with a number of global organisations, such as Intel, Dolby and the British Council.

In 2015 she wrote and produced the score for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and received an Olivier award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

Registration for the event is at musictechfest.net/

Top page top