As a rule, group efforts are normally launched before a solo career -- not after a solo career is in full swing. First, the artist makes a name for himself/herself as part of a group, then the artist leaves the group to become a full-time solo performer. That's the standard procedure, but British singer/songwriter Imogen Heap took a different approach, having already established her solo credentials for several years before becoming half of the London-based duo Frou Frou. Although based in London, Heap was raised in Essex, England, where she first studied European classical piano. While attending boarding school years later, a teenaged Heap discovered alternative pop/rock, Euro-pop, and electronica, a musical mixture that effectively ended her previous desire to become a classical instrumentalist. With her focus now devoted to popular music, she signed with Almo Sounds in 1997, becoming a professional solo artist while still in her late teens.