She has sold over 11 million records worldwide, at 22 she became the best selling female British artist and last summer she performed for the Queen of England at the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace. She’s back with an outstanding album, Ketevan (named after her Georgian name), that went straight to the UK top ten album chart.After a spectacular show at the Roundhouse in London, currently touring the world, Katie Melua took the time to grant us a telephone interview from an airport somewhere in Germany.
G: You’re back with a brand new album, Ketevan and touring the world. What do you enjoy most: working on a new album or touring?
K: I surely enjoy being in the studio but I must say what excites me is going on the road. I love touring, hanging out with my band, making music, performing for the audience, going places even if you don’t get to see much from the tour bus. Sometimes in a while you have a day off and so you’re be able to explore wherever you are.
G: When you’re performing live your voice sounds very close to perfection, how hard is it to keep it so well trained?
K: Thank you so much that’s a really nice thing to say, I guess the answer to your question is I don’t really train my voice for a long time, I did take a few lessons as a teenager, but my ability in terms of why my voice is there at the moment is more ear training. You know listening to music, I think it has more to do with my ears then with my voice. You know, listening to music and voices that completely blow me away.
G: Last summer you performed Mike Blatt’s wonderful piece “I will be there” for the Queen. How would you describe the experience… I mean how does is it feel to perform for the Queen of England?
K: This summer performing to the Queen was an absolute delight. We were so lucky with the weather, just the all of it was really special. Mike, my producer, he wrote the song about the mother figure, and you know his mother passed away in March and we were hoping that she would be able to attend, but sadly it didn’t happen. So, yes it was exciting performing for the Queen.
G: You said that the song “Where does the ocean go” was inspired by the sea back to your hometown in Georgia… how do your origins influence your music?
K: You know, Georgia means the world to me, I go back there every summer, or at least once a year. I’m supposed to speak the language at home in England with my nephew, you know I try to stay in contact with my origins. I always say I’m quite british in my mind and how I think but I’m Georgian in my heart. So my memories, the country culture, the location are into my music, and I think with this album is quite clear, it’s called Ketevan, it takes back childhood memories and all the time spent back there.
G: What’s your favourite song on Ketevan and why?
K: Oooh… you know you never really have a favourite song, but the one I would pick is the jazz folk song “I Never Fall”. “I never fall I always jump”, I saw this at a friend’s house and it completely blew me away; it’s also inspired by the famous film “Falling in Love”, it’s interesting to see why people, they’re falling in love and why they’re not.
G: If you could choose the one album you would take with you on a desert island…
K: It would be probably a collection, I never thought of exactly one album, but definitely a collection of Simon & Garfunkel music from different albums, you know from “Bridge under troubled water”, yes a Simon & Garfunkel collection.
G: What does music mean to you?
K: Pretty much everything. It’s been my companion for so many different parts in my life, extremely happy and extremely miserable, you know it sort of helped me and guided me through life. So I have to say it means everything to me.