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The Bucket List with Imogen Heap

The singer divulges her favourite travel destinations and memories...

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Singer-songwriter Imogen Heap loved cycling the Thames. By Holly Rubenstein

Where have you learnt the most about yourself?

Lake Natron in Tanzania, researching the sounds for a potential score. It was here I discovered I needed more nature in my life and that any sound can be musical. It sounds daft now but before that trip I had never really considered the sounds around me as a musical input. I had been limiting myself to traditional instruments. 

Lake Natron

If you had to recommend one place to visit, where would it be? 

Beautiful Bern in Switzerland, where I often spend time. Go in the summer. Swim in the River Aare, there’s great shopping, countless cute restaurants, experience the lively local music scene, see the view of Jungfrau mountain region from the courtyard of Parliament and say hi to the bears. 


How about the best hotel you’ve stayed in?

My favourite trip was actually when I was finishing up my second solo album and I took a bike ride from the source of the River Thames in Kemble to the Thames barrier, staying at local B&Bs along the way, long before Air BnB. I’d always get great recommendations and have a good evening meal at a local pub. 

What is your favourite city? 

I’m sorry, I know it’s boring but it has to be London.


What’s at the top of your Bucket List?

I would love to spend some family time exploring South America. Chile would be our first stopping-off point.


Where was your happiest holiday?

I spent a few days in Iceland back in 2014 with my new man at the time. It was a very happy holiday because I brought home the best souvenir – I’d fallen pregnant with our daughter. We went back there last year as part of my European tour and swam with her in the thermal pools and watched the Northern Lights together. So many happy memories.


When you need to unwind where do you escape to?

My studio or simply a piano. Making music has always levelled me out. Otherwise, just a walk in nature, anywhere. 

What destination most reminds you of childhood holidays?

A big family holiday we went on for two weeks in the States. Racing up some sand dunes to catch the sunset near Salt Lake City and meeting Native American activist and artist Fortunate Eagle in Nevada. We stopped off to see his roundhouse gallery in Fallon and it made a huge impact on the nine-year-old me. 

Salt Lake City

Which performance location was the most memorable? 

Haines, Alaska when I was 19, in the Chilkat Centre for Arts. This was my introduction to solar and wind power, seeing so many stars, eating freshly caught salmon and being chased by a moose! However, The Roundhouse in London holds a very special place in my heart as it’s here that I’ve done some of my most ambitious concerts and technically had my biggest failures and successes. I’m really looking forward to finishing up my most ambitious tour to date there, wearing my MI.MU gloves system (the world’s most advanced wearable musical instrument).


Where do you keep going back to?

We’ve recently found a perfect little spot in the Cotswolds, which is close enough to London to be very reachable for a weekend. There are lakes and lots of fun activities for the daytime and cosy lodges for family evenings together.

Cotswolds cottage


Emeli Sandé / Paloma Faith / Hugh Bonneville / Richard Branson