CFL5

Biographical Notes

Ketevan 'Katie' Melua was born on 16 September 1984 in Kutaisi, Georgia. The first years she lived in the capital Tbilisi before the family (her parents and brother) moved to Batumi, Ajaria where her father took a posistion as heart specialist. During this time she had to experienced severe poverty (for example, she had to to carry water buckets up four flights of stairs to their home). The family moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1993 because of the Georgian Civil War, where her father found a job at a hospital. There, Katie Melua attended Roman Catholic schools, while her younger brother went to Protestant schools. In 1998 the family moved once more; this time to Redhill, Surrey. Today, she lives alone in an apartment in London. Due to her diverse upbringing at an early age she is able to speak Georgian, Russian and English.

She originally wanted to become a historian or a politician -- a result to the developemtns in Georgia and also Belfast. In 2000, however, Katie Melau took part in the talent competition Stars Up Their Nose. She won the contest with the song Without You by Badfinger. Her prize were £350 vouchers with which she bought a chair for her father.

After she completed her GCSEs at Nonsuch High School in Surrey, she attended the BRIT School for the Performing Arts in the London Borough of Croydon with an A-level in music. Here she started to write her own songs. At this school she also met her manager, the producer Mike Batt.

On 10 August 2005, Katie Melua, together with her parents and brother, became a British citizen. The ceremony in Weybridge, Surrey was important to her because the family would have had to return to Georgia if her father had lost his job before gaining citizenship. Afterwards, she stated, "As a family, we have been very fortunate to find a happy lifestyle in this country and we feel we belong. We still consider ourselves to be Georgian, because that is where our roots are, and I return to Georgia every year to see my uncles and grandparents, but I am proud to now be a British citizen."

Musical Notes

During a performance at her school, Katie Melua caught the attention of the English songwriter and producer Mike Batt. He was looking for an artist who could sing "jazz and blues in an interesting way". After hearing her sing Faraway voice, her own song, Batt signed her to his Dramatico recording and management company and then went into a recording studio with her.

Her first album Call Off the Search has two songs written by herself: Belfast (Penguins and Cats) is about her own experiences in the city, and Faraway voice is about the death of Eva Cassidy. Furthermore, she's covering songs by Delores J. Silver (Learnin' the Blues), John Mayall (Crawling up a Hill), Randy Newman (I Think it's Going to Rain Today) and James Shelton (Lilac Wine). All other songs were written by Mike Batt himself. The first single was The Closest Thing to Crazy. Initially, it was difficult getting airplay for it. but this changed when BBC Radio 2 producer Paul Walters heard it and played it a breakfast show. There, it was frequently played between November and December 2003 to make it the year's Christmas #1. It only reached #10, but the support helped Katie Melua. When the album was finally released it became an immediate hit.

The second album Piece by Piece was released about two years later. The first airplay for the single by the same title was on the very breakfast show that also played her first ever single. This album contains four songs written by Katie Melua, four by Mike Batt, one is a collaboration between the two and the rest are all cover versions. Also in 2005, Melua was criticised by writer and scientist Simon Singh for the lyrics of the track Nine Million Bicycles: "We are 12 billion light-years from the edge. That's a guess, no one can ever say it's true, but I know that I will always be with you." Singh thought them an assault on the accuracy of the work of cosmologists. A month later, both Katie Melua and Simon Singh appeared on the BBC's Today programme, where she revealed a re-recording with Singh's tongue-in-cheek amendments: "We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe; that's a good estimate with well-defined error bars and with the available information, I predict that I will always be with you." She also said that she should have known better as she was in the Astronomy club at school.

The release of her third album is planned for September 2007.

Charity work also plays an important role for Katie Melua. In November 2004 she took took part in Band Aid 20 joining a chorus of British and Irish musicians singing Do They Know It's Christmas? in order to raise money for Africa. In 2005, she sang Too Much Love Will Kill You with Brian May in George, South Africa for Nelson Mandela's HIV charity.This was a childhood dream come true for her as she's always been a fan of Queen. Furthermore, she is a goodwill ambassador to the charity Save the Children and went to Sri Lanka in 2005 to see the work the charity was doing there. In 2006 she donated all proceeds from her single Spider's Web to the charity.

Katie Melua is also a world record holder. In 2006 she played the deepest underwater concert -- 303 metres below sea level in the North Sea -- and entered the Guinness Book of Records. She later described the event as "the most surreal gig I have ever done". Unfortunately she only held the record till April 2007 when an orchestra from Poland performed a concert even further down in a salt mine.

Discography

  Call Off the Search
The album was released on November 3, 2003 in the UK and on June 8, 2004 in the USA. In the UK it reached #1 in the charts and was sold more than 1.8 million times.

Singles released from this album:
  The Closest Thing to Crazy,
  Call Off the Search,
  Crawling Up A Hill

  Piece by Piece
The album was released on September 26, 2005 in the UK and on June 6, 2006 in the USA. It reached #1 in the charts in the UK, Poland, Netherlands and #2 in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In the UK it was old more than 1.2 million times, worldwide more than 3 million times.

Singles released from this album:
  Nine Million Bicycles,
  Cried for You/Just Like Heaven,
  Spiders' Web,
  It's Only Pain,
  Shy Boy

  Soundtracks
Apart from her albums she is also featured with a song on the soundtrack to these movies:

  Nancy Drew with Looking for Clues (2007)
  Miss Potter with When You Taught Me How to Dance (2006)
  Just Like Heaven with Just Like Heaven (2005)

Recognition

2004
   Best Selling UK Female Artist

2005
   Best Selling UK Female Artist
   ECHO Award - Best International Newcomer

2006
   nominated ECHO Award - Best International Female Artist
   nominated BRIT Awards - Best British Female Solo Artist
   nominated BRIT Awards - Best Pop Act

2007
   ECHO Award - Best International Female Artist
   Goldene Kamera - Pop International Solo