Katie Melua performs track from new album for The Telegraph
19 September, 2013
Georgian singer Katie Melua performs a track from her new album, Ketevan, exclusively for The Telegraph.
“I’m so bloody tentative,” Katie Melua admits about her songwriting on Neil McCormick’s Needle Time. “I think they [the songs] are so precious.”
This week, the popular chanteuse releases her sixth album, Ketevan, on Dramatico. Following Secret Symphony, an album of orchestral covers, it is a return to the format of Melua’s early recordings, mingling a few of her own intimate acoustic songs with
the bolder works of her veteran producer and mentor, Mike Batt.
Born and raised in the eastern European state of Georgia before moving to the UK aged eight, Melua’s actual Georgian name is Ketevan. She chose it for the album because it represents “steps back towards me writing, trying to look inside myself again, not being afraid of opening up.”
Discovered by Batt while still at the Brit School Of Performing Arts, Melua was only 19 in 2003 when she released her multi-million selling debut, Call Off The Search, for which most of the songs were written by Batt. Ten years on, she admits to being a bit intimidated by his talent.
“Having a collaborator who can just come out with a stunning song like Closest Thing To Crazy or Nine Million Bicycles, it’s tricky to work with that internally, in my own mind.” She also suggests that Batt is “not a very good co-writer, he does tend to write his best songs on his own.”
The two have collaborated on one of the album’s key songs, however, along with Batt’s son Luke (who co-produced Ketevan). It was inspired by The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which Batt recited in the studio.
"This thing lasted for about an hour but we were pretty transfixed,” says Melua, explaining that there is “a clear oceanic theme” to the album, drawing on her childhood by the Black Sea. Her favourite book is Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea. A Coleridge phrase, "What does the ocean do", led to Where Does The Ocean Go. Melua and Luke Batt worked on the chorus, whilst Mike Batt wrote the verses, and then, she says, “we stapled it together.”

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