Have you heard Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say,” Ariana Grande’s “Goodnight n Go,” or Taylor Swift’s “Clean?” If so, are you aware of the true mastermind behind these songs?
I have always loved everything pertaining to the early 2000s. For example, my favorite TV show without a doubt is “The OC.” This show is known for its spectacular soundtrack featuring songs from this era. If you asked anyone who was a teenager in the early 2000s about “The OC,” they would most likely know exactly what you’re talking about.
My most iconic memory from watching “The OC” was when “Whatcha Say” played during a dramatic scene, but it wasn’t Jason Derulo singing. The true mastermind behind this song, and many others, is Imogen Heap. Heap is an iconic singer who reached her peak during the early and mid-2000s, around the time of “The OC,” which features a number of her songs. This scene in “The OC” is extremely powerful with Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” an alternative-indie song that represents the essence of Heap’s ethereal, techno music style. “Hide and Seek” is, in fact, the original version of “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo.
Despite the fact that the somewhat bizarre combination of the scene’s gunshots with Heap’s distorted vocals made my skin crawl, Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” is one of my all-time favorite songs, and when I heard the original version of my favorite song in my favorite TV show, I was utterly shocked. Another scene in “The OC” features Heap’s “Goodnight and Go,” which Ariana Grande covered this year on her “Sweetener” album.
August marked the 15th anniversary of “The OC’s” pilot and 2018 has been a significant year in revisiting the magic of Heap’s 2000s melodies. Arguably, this show is one of the most prominent factors contributing to Heap’s fame. In his article "Is Imogen Heap the Most Influential Artist of the Century," Ian Olympio stated, “With the series turning 15 earlier this year, hordes of fans eagerly dove back into the show and its classic soundtrack. Many of them, I would imagine, wondered where exactly Heap had gone.” Since “The OC” and Heap are not as talked about today, it is important to properly credit these two icons for informing and shaping the present. Many people do not realize the extent to which Heap has inspired singers and music to this day. Olympio explained, “She is the glue that connects Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Harry Potter, ‘Garden State,’ and ‘The OC.’” These films, TV shows, and artists are all somehow linked to Heap. “‘Garden State’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’” feature Heap’s music, and Heap assisted Taylor Swift in the writing and recording of her song “Clean.” Ariana Grande has even declared Heap her favorite artist and biggest influence. Since Heap’s peak has passed, she is thankful that today’s pop singers have brought her songs back to life. She said “I’m smiling now. It feels like a gift: when somebody that famous picks up on a song that had its day and gives it a second life, it’s a real gift.”
Olympio reflected, “As we hurtle towards the end of this tumultuous decade, we'll be doing a lot of reflecting on the 2000s with a good bit of critical distance. Reflecting on the past 15 years, it's clear to see how Imogen Heap's forward-looking has shaped popular culture and continues to inspire artists today.”