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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 10:08 GMT
New Music: Katie Melua
Katie Melua
Katie Melua: Fan of Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell and The Darkness
Hailing from Georgia, eastern Europe, via Belfast, 19-year-old singer Katie Melua is being tipped by some as the new Norah Jones.

She was discovered by musical impresario Mike Batt, who praised her freshness and originality.

BBC Radio 2's Terry Wogan is a big fan and she was installed as joint second favourite for Christmas number one single.

Tell us how you got here.
I lived in Georgia until I was eight, and I moved over to Belfast because my dad got a job there as a doctor and I lived there for five years. Then about five years ago we came over to England, again because of my dad's job, and I've lived here ever since.

I got into the music industry because I went to the Brit School, the performing arts school. Mike Batt came one day about a year ago and heard me sing one of the songs.

Describe your music in three words.
Bluesy, folky and chilled.

Who are you usually compared to in reviews?
A lot of people have mentioned Norah Jones - probably because she's been really successful in the last year. It's flattering because I'm quite a big fan of hers but it's quite weird to be compared to someone else when you're you.

Is she someone who you're trying to model yourself on?
No, not at all. Eva Cassidy is my absolute idol. Ella Fitzgerald who I've just got into is also an amazing singer. I'm also hugely inspired by Freddie Mercury from Queen - his singing is amazing, his delivery was really flawless. And people who inspire my songwriting are Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.

Who wrote the songs on your album?
The album consists of a couple of songs of mine and a couple of Mike's - and we've also got some old blues/jazz standards. So it's a nice mixture.

Katie Melua
Melua's debut album, Call Off the Search, is out now in the UK
What's your favourite line from one of your own songs?
Probably from a song called Belfast: "I'm divided between penguins and cats." It's about being able to fly and dying nine times.

What has been your biggest break so far?
Being allowed to make the album and being able to work with Mike and other brilliant musicians that we had on the album. There were some absolute legends who have worked with the lives of Clapton and Rod Stewart and it's amazing to be able to work with them.

What's been your biggest mistake so far?
I don't know. You always make loads of mistakes - little tiny ones - but you learn from them and move on.

When did you write your first song and who inspired it?
I started songwriting four years ago but if you want a song that was inspired by someone, it would probably be the first song that I wrote on the guitar, which was about a year-and-a-half ago, and that was after I found out that Eva Cassidy was dead.

Has Terry Wogan's support helped?
Yeah, that's been a bit hectic. We sent him the record and the producer played a couple of tracks. They got loads of letters and emails from people saying 'what is this?' That was out of this world to get that feedback. He's been supporting it amazingly and I'd love to thank him.

Which artists - alive or dead - would you have on the bill if you organised your own music festival?
Headlining would have to be Eva Cassidy. I'd have other artists like Bob Dylan, maybe someone like Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Queen, Led Zeppelin and The Darkness maybe.

What is your biggest musical ambition?
People really appreciating the music for the music and listening to it a few years down the line, and hopefully really loving it.

Katie Melua
Clip of Closest Thing to Crazy

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