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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Katie Melua makes mellow comeback
Katie Melua
Melua sold 1.2 million copies of her debut album
Katie Melua was hailed among the saviours of British jazz when her debut album was released two years ago.

Born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and brought up in Northern Ireland, Melua studied at the Brit School for Performing Arts in Croydon before releasing her first album.

That album, Call Off the Search, went on to sell more than 1.2 million copies, topping the UK chart and spawning hit single The Closest Thing To Crazy in the process.

The 21-year-old singer and songwriter releases her follow-up album, Piece By Piece, on Monday and spoke to the BBC News website about her comeback.

Describe your new album in three words.

Travelling, blue and staircase - because the album is the next step for me, so a staircase going up as opposed to going down, hopefully.

Do you see yourself as a jazz artist?

No, definitely not. I think it's offensive to real jazz artists to call me a jazz artist because to be honest, I'm influenced by jazz but I don't have the training and the ability to sing real jazz or even play it on the guitar. I wish I did. I would call myself an acoustic artist.

Do you see yourself as an innovative artist?

My music isn't meant to be innovative, I know that. The only thing I claim to do is hopefully play good songs. It wasn't groundbreaking music that inspired me - it was songs that did something to me on an emotional level.

Katie Melua
My music isn't meant to be innovative, I know that - the only thing I claim to do is hopefully play good songs
My music is not about being groundbreaking because it doesn't have beats on it and use loads of technology - it's about going back to basics and exploring the emotional side of music.

How does this album differ from the last one?

I think the first album was about finding love and being happy and stuff but this one is more about losing someone.

Headspace-wise, the two albums are on two different planets because with the first album, I was still trying to find who I was and what I was doing. Now, there's just been so much change in my life in terms of maturing as a songwriter and as a singer.

Was it a difficult album to make?

No, not really, once you say 'let's just make it, and let's not worry about record sales or is it being as good as Call Off the Search'. It was just important to make the best album that I could make.

Of course there was pressure and it was hellish sometimes, you don't get any sleep and it's awful, but it was just important that that didn't affect the music.

Who wrote the songs on the album?

I wrote four-and-a-half songs and Mike (Batt, manager) also wrote four-and-a-half and then there's three covers. They are Just Like Heaven, the old Cure song, Canned Heat's On the Road Again and Blues in the Night.

What type of fan do you think it will appeal to the most?

Sir Ian McKellen, Michael Parkinson , Rhona Cameron, Johnny Vegas and Katie Melua
The success of Melua's first album saw her on shows such as Parkinson
Someone who listens to music and isn't scared to be carried away by it, perhaps. The songs are quite emotional.

I found the different types of people that bought Call off the Search quite bizarre and also the different ways in which they used it. Hopefully it will be the same with this one too.

What has been the biggest change to your life over the last two years?

It's obviously what I do day-to-day. I've tried to keep my personal life the same as much as possible. I can still walk down the street and not really get recognised and I can still go shopping and do regular things.

What do you think of fellow jazz star Jamie Cullum?

I think he's great. We're sort of mates because we always bump into each other. It's really weird that our albums are coming out on the same day - but it's completely coincidental. I wish him the best of luck and I'm sure he's made an amazing album.

Does it matter if you beat him in the charts?

It doesn't really matter who goes to number one or Top 10 or Top 20 - I don't think music can be measured by this chart thing that we have at the moment. I think it's a lot more fluid than that.

New Music: Katie Melua
10 Nov 03 |  Music


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