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 theydidn'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'sWestword
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, 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