Happy anniversary Katie Melua! It’s hard to believe that it is only ten years since Katie Melua made her debut with her now legendary album Call Off the Search . Even more surprising is how much she has packed in to those ten years: from performances in front of the Queen and Nelson Mandela, to breaking the record for the deepest underwater gig – and even getting married.
Next month she plays a one-off show at London’s legendary Roundhouse and she was kind enough to take a few moments out of her busy schedule to speak to the Ticketmaster blog about her upcoming performance and her new album, Ketevan.
Hi there Katie thanks for taking some time out to chat with us. We’ve been really enjoying your recent TV appearances including your performance on Sunday Brunch a couple of weeks ago – how do you find all the promotional work that goes with releasing a new album?
I don’t enjoy the early starts but I love what I do. All the promotional stuff is part of the job and is something I adore, plus the variety is great; from telly, to gigs, to being in the studio and even on the radio – I love it.
Your new album is called Ketevan, that’s an unusual name?
I’m Georgian and I have always been called Katie – or Kete in the Georgian accent – and Ketevan is actually my birth name.
This is your 6th studio album and you are celebrating ten years since you made your debut onto the music scene, where do you find your inspiration to keep creating new music?
I find it in music itself. There are songs and artists who have changed my life and I have a very strong reaction to music. I have always wanted to work with music and I think I would’ve been happy working in a record shop, or teaching music, or just writing songs – as long as I was close to music.
There are so many artists that inspire me, but the first piece of music that really moved me was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – not to mention John Lennon’s Imagine and Eva Cassidy. I saw Laura Marling play when she was 16 in my mate’s pub and recently saw her again some seven years later. It’s incredible to see how her music has developed and to be able to watch her grow-up and develop into this incredible artist. I have been listening to her album non-stop since!
A lot of people will probably feel that way about your music, having brought your first album and seeing how you’ve grown and how the music has changed over the last ten years. Do you think your music and your approach to how you make music has changed?
Every time you make a record you try to put in as much emotion as you can. I know I have grown a lot and changed over the past ten years; the experiences you gain as you get older are immeasurable and you also learn how to express yourself. I have realised that I get a bit set in my ways as I have got older – but I think we all do!
You’ve just celebrated your one year wedding anniversary (Katie is married to previous World Superbike Champion, James Toseland), has that change in your life influenced your music in any way?
My husband inspires me – he is actually a musician himself and has an album coming out next year – but I won’t ever not want to write sad love songs. There’s heartbreak all around you and always someone feeling that way at some point in time. I also draw a lot from my friends, literature and life in general – my music does tend to be quite personal but not necessarily autobiographical.
We heard that you hold the record for the deepest underwater concert – is that true?
I do! I basically got a call asking if I was interested in doing it and thought why not. We flew to Norway, then took a helicopter to a gas rig. The workers go out there for two weeks at a time and so we stayed overnight with them and then the next day we got in this lift which took us under water, to a sort of gas chamber, and we played a show just for the workers – the acoustics were incredible! Also, Norway is one of my favourite places as I find the nature so inspiring.
You’ve worked with Mike Batt for a decade, and now with his son Luke on your recent album, what do they bring to your music?
When you work with someone for so long you get to know them so well that you can be completely honest with each other, and having Luke join as co-producer and writer has really brought something out in the collaboration. It has added another element to the album and, because Mike has worked on my other albums, it gives it a sense of familiarity to the listener – but also a lot of fresh energy.
Mike’s song writing is incredible, and even after ten years he still creates tracks such as ‘I Never Felt Less Like Dancing’, which is just an incredible record. It actually came from a tweet that someone posted, and Mike saw this and he thought – just like he did with ‘Nine Million Bicycles’ – now there’s a song title, and went ahead and wrote it!
I was actually practising ‘I Never Felt Less Like Dancing’ yesterday in preparation for the Roundhouse gig and I got really emotional. So, to still be able to write such beautiful and emotional songs is amazing, and I think that I need his songs – and his songs need my voice.
You mentioned the Roundhouse gig, that’s on 2 October, are you looking forward to playing at the legendary London venue?
I can’t wait to get on the stage! We have a little Georgian surprise actually which I won’t give away yet, but the show is all about celebrating the new album and ten years of performing. I have been lucky enough to perform in some incredible and beautiful places; one of the things I love about my job is the variety. I have been lucky enough to play at huge venues like The O2, as well as smaller places just like the Roundhouse, as well as some unusual ones.
We can’t wait to see you Katie! There are still tickets available for her show at London’s Roundhouse on 2 October and you can get them right here
You can also watch the teaser video for Katie’s new album, Ketevan, below: