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The Fray Get Heaped

The boys in the Fray have gotten a lot of praise in these parts for earning two Grammy nominations -- but little attention has been paid to the one they didn't get: a Best New Artist nod. Given the format-crossing success the players have enjoyed to date, they seemed as much of a lock for recognition in this category as four of the five nominees: James Blunt, Chris Brown, Corinne Bailey Rae and Carrie Underwood. However, they were knocked out by an unexpected choice -- talented British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap, the subject of a profile in this week's Westword, as well as a performer whose background demonstrates how malleable the Best New Artist designation can be.

Example? Heap's first album, i Megaphone, was released on the now-defunct Almo Sound imprint way back in 1998, when she was still in her teens. Afterward, Heap joined Frou Frou, a duo that put out a full-length entitled Details circa 2002. A Frou Frou track subsequently turned up on the CD companion to the 2004 Zach Braff movie Garden State, which (you guessed it) won a Grammy in the Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media classification.

This last honor suggests strongly that a large number of Grammy voters have known about Heap's talents for quite a while. But in their eyes, apparently, the acclaim garnered by the 2005 disc Speak For Yourself has made her new again -- or new enough, anyway, to keep the Fray out of Grammy's Best New Artist sweepstakes.

To check out the complete Imogen Heap story, click here. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts