Katie Melua performs with her Epiphone Masterbilt EN-546C.

Katie Melua has certainly experienced her share of success lately! After signing a five album recording deal and management contract with DRAMATICO, she began working with Mike Batt on the songs for her first album "Call Off The Search". The jazzy/bluesy project produced the single, "The Closest Thing To Crazy", that went to number ten on the UK singles charts in December 2003 with the album reached number one in January 2004.

"I was born in Georgia in the former USSR (red wine, Stalin, Shevardnadze, Katie Melua) in 1984, living in Moscow for a while when I was three or four. Not surprisingly I don¹t remember a lot of Moscow back in the communist time, although one thing I do remember is that the place we were staying in did the most amazing pancakes I¹ve ever tasted. Leaving Moscow and the pancakes I spent most of my childhood in Georgia in the seaside town of Batumi. There's really nothing better than swimming in the Black Sea. When I was nine, my dad got a job as a heart surgeon in Belfast, so we moved there. When I told this to one of my teachers later on in England he described the move as: "From the frying pan into the fire". I never really viewed it as that because I had a great childhood both in Georgia and Northern Ireland. I found the people in Northern Ireland extremely warm and made great friends at St. Catherine's primary school and Dominican College, Fortwilliam.

I went to catholic schools in Northern Ireland while my younger brother went to a protestant school. I didn¹t always want to be a singer or songwriter. My ambition when I was thirteen was to be a politician or a historian. I honestly thought I'd be able to bring peace to the world.... If I ruled it! We lived in Belfast for five years after which we moved to South East London. There I went to Nonsuch high school for girls. When I was fifteen I entered a TV talent competition singing Mariah Carey's "Without You". I won the competition (the prize was a bedroom makeover and an arm chair for my dad) and also gained valuable experience by performing live on ITV three times.

Moving so much didn't really bother me, cause you get so used to it. I've been to seven different schools, the final one being the Brit School for Performing Arts where I did a BTEC, and Music A-level.

I started writing songs two years ago and have (with my parents' help) a small studio set-up at home. My influences are Queen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Eva Cassidy, Irish folk music and Indian music. I strongly believe that great artists are artists who are original and talented in their music and performance. Music should be performed live. It is offensive to the audience if you mime. I always get a warm feeling when I see someone holding either a guitar case or a violin case on the street, - it's like I know I'd get on well with that person and I always smile or say hi."

For more information about Katie, visit www.KatieMelua.com.


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