James Heather

BIOGRAPHY

In 2022 Heather releases his second album, “Invisible Forces”. The album is about becoming aware of invisible forces around us to help deepen understanding of self and our connection to the world, from tuning into the natural world and getting lost in its patterns and energies to gaining more knowledge around ancestral lines such as the concept of epigenetics. It’s about looking that bit deeper into things, into areas that are not instantly visible but are all around...

In 2022 Heather releases his second album, “Invisible Forces”. The album is about becoming aware of invisible forces around us to help deepen understanding of self and our connection to the world, from tuning into the natural world and getting lost in its patterns and energies to gaining more knowledge around ancestral lines such as the concept of epigenetics. It’s about looking that bit deeper into things, into areas that are not instantly visible but are all around us to achieve this. “Composing these songs gave me an anchor to feel more present in life after some troubling times and sent me on a journey to rediscover a kind of wonderment with the world. I hope the Invisible Forces universe will bring warmth to other people too.” A step forward compositionally from his 2017 debut album ‘Stories From Far Away On Piano’, the songs are grander, deeper and broader in emotional range and are developed through a series of improvisation techniques rarely seen in the often notated world of classical music. He describes his music as “pulse music” with each track performed in a single take and each with its roots in this  improvisation. He memorised each movement, then subtly adapted adding more complexities and compositional dexterity over time before committing to the final take. His approach to the new compositions, finds him playing freely, with no metronome or official notation to recall. 

The tracks (alongside 2021’s “Modulations: EP2”) were this time more honed on the road, playing concerts such as Green Man Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Berlin Planetarium, Wilderness Festival and Dublin National Concert Hall. Also in 2021, Heather released a new version of 'And She Came Home' with added strings for Coldcut's ambient @0 compilation in aid of CALM, Mind, and Black Minds Matter, with the song being promoted as a double-single alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto. On the same compilation he contributed piano parts to a new version of the seminal ambient track ‘Autumn Leaves Return’ by Coldcut & The irresistible Force. 

Growing up in Southampton, Heather’s Grandad on one side of the family taught him core composition techniques and how to manipulate the tuning of piano strings, whilst his Granny on the other used to dabble with dreamy improvisations. His own compositions came soon after around the age of 11, also inspired by a love of Beethoven and Debussy, hearing his older neighbours Acid House pirate radio station and later hearing a young Milo from Portico Quartet jamming in jazz bands two doors away. Heather spent years honing his piano playing, imagining composing for a collective one day, but a mixture of shyness and the different trends of the day meant things evolved privately. Often in these early years he would be playing in the background when family and friends were over, hoping to gradually pique their interest without stopping their conversation but secretly wanting to be centre stage. After moving to London in his twenties, he had a near death experience, which fed into his energy to step out as an artist. The result was to bring a fresh take to piano music which on streaming services have been played over 120 million streams in just a few years and his debut album charting at #14 in Classical Crossover in the Billboard (USA) charts. Influence wise, the music takes as much from electronic music in sensibility, post-rock in its exploration of building meditative tones as it does its classical and jazz grounding. Heather proves adept in the intricacies of composition from the tender to more propulsive, trance inducing dynamics, always highly personal and with warmth and hope in the sadness, it belies the fact the music is coming from just one acoustic instrument. Heather often composes and releases on only solo piano , an instrument he has a long love story with, with sensibilities taken from elsewhere. “My current music acts as a lived reaction to music that is more machine than human, but not in opposition to it. To be minimalist in an age where you can do everything so easily, can also hold power, if not more. I am still obsessed with the compositional possibilities within a raw song.”

The embryonic unofficial Soundcloud release the ‘Water Sonatas’ in 2015, initially helped hone his production skills and compositional technique and received warm reactions, with the experiences being fed into his debut album when Heather started to release music officially via Ahead Of Our Time in 2017, Ninja Tune founders Coldcut’s resurrected first label. First came “Modulations: EP1”, seven tracks which were written in various headspaces. Next came his debut album “Stories From Far Away On Piano”, a more unified conceptual piece of work, followed by some high-calibre remixes and alternate versions titled ‘Reworks’ in 2018. Heather was reworked by DJ Seinfeld, Aparde, Echo Collective, Mary Lattimore, Chihei Hatakeyama, Sarah Davachi and composed new additional string quartet versions himself.. Supporters include James Lavelle (UNKLE), Cillian Murphy, Emika (who he played 2 sold out shows at the Berlin Planetarium), The Bug, Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label and The Cinematic Orchestra, who asked Heather to rework their song "A Caged Bird / Imitations Of Life" for their 'To Believe' remix album. Nils Frahm has put Heather's music in his Piano Day playlists in 2019, 2020. & 2021.

“The Stories From Far Away On Piano album was an appeal to emotion, a way of bringing the listener in, to evoke an empathetic response, they’re my interpretation of stories I discovered. The stories themselves are not the focus, but the piano assimilation is, as the album is about viewpoint, opinion and perspective.” Perspective is something Heather has in abundance; he nearly died in a traumatic road traffic accident, leaving him in a coma in intensive care and then off work for an extended time. One permanent injury was his finger, which became skewed in the crash. He was initially unsure if he’d ever be able to play to the same standard again. “When I eventually started to recover I began taking my musical sketches more seriously. I found solitude channeling my feelings into compositions, and when I saw the solo piano of Rachel Grimes play to a room of underground rock fans at Shelllac’s ATP Festival, at one of my lowest points, I was surprised that the piano might be able to appeal to a wider audience than I had thought previously."

 Heather also presents the monthly radio show Moving Sounds on Soho Radio. The show is named after this longtime playlist and showcases music and people from the new to household names within ambient music and its offshoot genres and guests have included Hania Rani, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Sarah Davachi, Abul Mogard, 130701 Records, Sonic Pieces, Büşra Kayıkçı, Coldcut and Penelope Trappes.

Heather’s music has featured on many Spotify, Apple, Amazon, You Tube, Soundcloud & Deezer curated playlists, reached number 2 on the UK classical charts in iTunes and received plays on BBC Radio and internationally (including KEXP in the USA). He was also invited in 2021 to curate a 2 hour Classical Focus mix for BBC Sounds. Coverage in the media has included interviews at Quietus and Loud & Quiet as well as glowing reviews at Arts Desk, Line Of Best Fit, Mojo and DJ. Heather has also completed DJ mixes for Solid Steel, a Mica Levi special for Vinyl Factory (which received Resident Advisor’s mix of the day), Headphone Commute and taken over Nabihah Iqbal’s NTS show. Heather has played on bills supporting Laura Marling, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy) and Lubomyr Melnyk (Erased Tapes) and toured Europe. Heather composed scores for Iskra Strings (Radiohead, The xx & Ólafur Arnalds) of his songs for his sold-out headline show at St Pancras Old Church in London and has also broken new ground for solo piano by playing festivals such as Wilderness, Green Man (opening the Far Out tent which included Idles and Ezra Collective and making Crack Magazine's 8 Stand Out Moments in their review), Glastonbury (his first ever gig in 2017 apart from Sofar Sounds) and Seachange. 

Heather is one of the new school set of ‘post classical’ artists flourishing and standing out in the wake of the wider public’s overdue but now burgeoning relationship with this varied genre. 


Forthcoming Events

March 2023

James Heather


Latest News

BIOGRAPHY

In 2022 Heather releases his second album, “Invisible Forces”. The album is about becoming aware of invisible forces around us to help deepen understanding of self and our connection to the world, from tuning into the natural world and getting lost in its patterns and energies to gaining more knowledge around ancestral lines such as the concept of epigenetics. It’s about looking that bit deeper into things, into areas that are not instantly visible but are all around us to achieve this....

In 2022 Heather releases his second album, “Invisible Forces”. The album is about becoming aware of invisible forces around us to help deepen understanding of self and our connection to the world, from tuning into the natural world and getting lost in its patterns and energies to gaining more knowledge around ancestral lines such as the concept of epigenetics. It’s about looking that bit deeper into things, into areas that are not instantly visible but are all around us to achieve this. “Composing these songs gave me an anchor to feel more present in life after some troubling times and sent me on a journey to rediscover a kind of wonderment with the world. I hope the Invisible Forces universe will bring warmth to other people too.” A step forward compositionally from his 2017 debut album ‘Stories From Far Away On Piano’, the songs are grander, deeper and broader in emotional range and are developed through a series of improvisation techniques rarely seen in the often notated world of classical music. He describes his music as “pulse music” with each track performed in a single take and each with its roots in this  improvisation. He memorised each movement, then subtly adapted adding more complexities and compositional dexterity over time before committing to the final take. His approach to the new compositions, finds him playing freely, with no metronome or official notation to recall. 

The tracks (alongside 2021’s “Modulations: EP2”) were this time more honed on the road, playing concerts such as Green Man Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Berlin Planetarium, Wilderness Festival and Dublin National Concert Hall. Also in 2021, Heather released a new version of 'And She Came Home' with added strings for Coldcut's ambient @0 compilation in aid of CALM, Mind, and Black Minds Matter, with the song being promoted as a double-single alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto. On the same compilation he contributed piano parts to a new version of the seminal ambient track ‘Autumn Leaves Return’ by Coldcut & The irresistible Force. 

Growing up in Southampton, Heather’s Grandad on one side of the family taught him core composition techniques and how to manipulate the tuning of piano strings, whilst his Granny on the other used to dabble with dreamy improvisations. His own compositions came soon after around the age of 11, also inspired by a love of Beethoven and Debussy, hearing his older neighbours Acid House pirate radio station and later hearing a young Milo from Portico Quartet jamming in jazz bands two doors away. Heather spent years honing his piano playing, imagining composing for a collective one day, but a mixture of shyness and the different trends of the day meant things evolved privately. Often in these early years he would be playing in the background when family and friends were over, hoping to gradually pique their interest without stopping their conversation but secretly wanting to be centre stage. After moving to London in his twenties, he had a near death experience, which fed into his energy to step out as an artist. The result was to bring a fresh take to piano music which on streaming services have been played over 120 million streams in just a few years and his debut album charting at #14 in Classical Crossover in the Billboard (USA) charts. Influence wise, the music takes as much from electronic music in sensibility, post-rock in its exploration of building meditative tones as it does its classical and jazz grounding. Heather proves adept in the intricacies of composition from the tender to more propulsive, trance inducing dynamics, always highly personal and with warmth and hope in the sadness, it belies the fact the music is coming from just one acoustic instrument. Heather often composes and releases on only solo piano , an instrument he has a long love story with, with sensibilities taken from elsewhere. “My current music acts as a lived reaction to music that is more machine than human, but not in opposition to it. To be minimalist in an age where you can do everything so easily, can also hold power, if not more. I am still obsessed with the compositional possibilities within a raw song.”

The embryonic unofficial Soundcloud release the ‘Water Sonatas’ in 2015, initially helped hone his production skills and compositional technique and received warm reactions, with the experiences being fed into his debut album when Heather started to release music officially via Ahead Of Our Time in 2017, Ninja Tune founders Coldcut’s resurrected first label. First came “Modulations: EP1”, seven tracks which were written in various headspaces. Next came his debut album “Stories From Far Away On Piano”, a more unified conceptual piece of work, followed by some high-calibre remixes and alternate versions titled ‘Reworks’ in 2018. Heather was reworked by DJ Seinfeld, Aparde, Echo Collective, Mary Lattimore, Chihei Hatakeyama, Sarah Davachi and composed new additional string quartet versions himself.. Supporters include James Lavelle (UNKLE), Cillian Murphy, Emika (who he played 2 sold out shows at the Berlin Planetarium), The Bug, Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label and The Cinematic Orchestra, who asked Heather to rework their song "A Caged Bird / Imitations Of Life" for their 'To Believe' remix album. Nils Frahm has put Heather's music in his Piano Day playlists in 2019, 2020. & 2021.

“The Stories From Far Away On Piano album was an appeal to emotion, a way of bringing the listener in, to evoke an empathetic response, they’re my interpretation of stories I discovered. The stories themselves are not the focus, but the piano assimilation is, as the album is about viewpoint, opinion and perspective.” Perspective is something Heather has in abundance; he nearly died in a traumatic road traffic accident, leaving him in a coma in intensive care and then off work for an extended time. One permanent injury was his finger, which became skewed in the crash. He was initially unsure if he’d ever be able to play to the same standard again. “When I eventually started to recover I began taking my musical sketches more seriously. I found solitude channeling my feelings into compositions, and when I saw the solo piano of Rachel Grimes play to a room of underground rock fans at Shelllac’s ATP Festival, at one of my lowest points, I was surprised that the piano might be able to appeal to a wider audience than I had thought previously."

 Heather also presents the monthly radio show Moving Sounds on Soho Radio. The show is named after this longtime playlist and showcases music and people from the new to household names within ambient music and its offshoot genres and guests have included Hania Rani, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Sarah Davachi, Abul Mogard, 130701 Records, Sonic Pieces, Büşra Kayıkçı, Coldcut and Penelope Trappes.

Heather’s music has featured on many Spotify, Apple, Amazon, You Tube, Soundcloud & Deezer curated playlists, reached number 2 on the UK classical charts in iTunes and received plays on BBC Radio and internationally (including KEXP in the USA). He was also invited in 2021 to curate a 2 hour Classical Focus mix for BBC Sounds. Coverage in the media has included interviews at Quietus and Loud & Quiet as well as glowing reviews at Arts Desk, Line Of Best Fit, Mojo and DJ. Heather has also completed DJ mixes for Solid Steel, a Mica Levi special for Vinyl Factory (which received Resident Advisor’s mix of the day), Headphone Commute and taken over Nabihah Iqbal’s NTS show. Heather has played on bills supporting Laura Marling, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy) and Lubomyr Melnyk (Erased Tapes) and toured Europe. Heather composed scores for Iskra Strings (Radiohead, The xx & Ólafur Arnalds) of his songs for his sold-out headline show at St Pancras Old Church in London and has also broken new ground for solo piano by playing festivals such as Wilderness, Green Man (opening the Far Out tent which included Idles and Ezra Collective and making Crack Magazine's 8 Stand Out Moments in their review), Glastonbury (his first ever gig in 2017 apart from Sofar Sounds) and Seachange. 

Heather is one of the new school set of ‘post classical’ artists flourishing and standing out in the wake of the wider public’s overdue but now burgeoning relationship with this varied genre. 

Forthcoming Events

March 2023