Katie Melua and her proud grandfather’s recollections
17 July, 2014
Katie Melua and her proud grandfather’s recollections
“Katie is very warm towards members of her family… She always asks about our health and whether we need anything. Last year she set up my 80th birthday party at a well-known restaurant in Tbilisi, with 100 guests attending. It was an amazing surprise…” – recalls Amiran Melua, grandfather of Katie Melua, in a conversation about his granddaughter.

– Katie grew with us, her grandparents. Upon growing up, she displayed an amazing propensity for singing and music in general. We
were friends with a musician who lived next door to us, and upon getting acquainted with Katie, she immediately took her up as an apprentice… The house where I lived was also home to several boys – sons of my friends from Batumi. They created a small band. They used to go on the roof, with Katie holding her mic made of bamboo, to play and sing there…

– How did Katie’s musical career continue upon coming to Britain?

– She was accepted into a musical school soon after she came there. She performed with the school’s band, where she was a lead singer. Back then one well-known composer was hunting for talent and visited the school for that purpose. He liked Katie instantly. When he saw and heard her sing, he took her as his protйgй and became her producer. Katie grew up with him and they still remain best friends. However, Katie still worked hard for her success. She used to lock herself up in a room and sing and play there. She takes her guitar with her whenever she comes to Georgia, and uses every minute of her free time to play. She composes her songs mostly by herself – 80 percent of her repertoire was created by her alone. Music is like oxygen to her.

– Did popularity and fame change Katie?

– Katie has always been a kind and lovely girl, and she remains such. When I visited London, she took me around the whole city, acting as a guide. There was a concert of hers at a large stadium, with enormous posters all around. When I saw one of those, I immediately thought, “I need to have it.” When lights went out and people moved towards the stage, I took one of the posters down to hang it in my house’s yard later. I could have gotten a huge fine for this, but I was ready to pay it… During her last visit to Tbilisi, Katie left me some money to get both the yard and the house repaired, because “it looks shameful otherwise.” This is how warm and attentive she is. She has a great husband, too. They have a vacation planned in Georgia in September.

– Isn’t Katie one of the British Queen’s favorite singers?

– The Queen frequently invites Katie to her birthdays. At one of them, she gifted Katie with a jewelry box with a crucifix, beads and a diamond ring inside… Once the Queen asked her to stay for the night and then have breakfast with her. After Katie entered the bedroom to sleep, she was told that a gift in a box was delivered to her house. She barely slept that night, thinking what that gift might be. Upon returning home and opening the box, she discovered a picture of the Queen and her husband inside, a priceless painting. I asked Katie to take a picture of it and send it to me, but she harshly refused, afraid that the journalists might publish it somewhere.

Once Katie and I went to Madame Tussauds, where I took several photos with a wax figure of the Queen. I took one of these photos to Tbilisi, brought it to my university and told the students that I met the Queen herself. They were surprised by how plainly I was dressed at such an important meeting. They believed me for three days, and then I told them what actually happened.

– Didn’t Katie make it to the Guinness Book of World Records?

– I hope that no other grandfather will have to go through an ordeal of having his granddaughter holding a concert 400 meters underwater. We were extremely worried about that, but Katie herself is completely fearless. She has no qualms about jumping with a parachute, for example. Even in her childhood in Batumi, she used to swim far further than was considered safe. I was on the verge of a heart attack, while she didn’t bat an eyelid.

– What do Katie’s childhood home and Tbilisi mean for her today?

– She loves Tbilisi. Despite having her own house, she stays at mine whenever she visits. Naturally, she loves the home and the street in which she spent her childhood. She loves the food her family makes, too. I taught Katie how to cook traditional Georgian dishes, and the khinkali and khachapuri she makes are peerless… When she comes here in September, she plans to visit Georgia’s various regions together with her husband.

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