An Interview with Katie Melua
Today sees the release of ‘The Walls Of The World’ the third single from Katie Melua’s fifth album Secret Symphony which Polari reviewed in late February. Nick Smith caught up with Katie and talked to her about her album, William Orbit and who she’d like to work with in the future.
The new album has a much deeper, richer sound from you vocally. Does this come from interpreting other people’s songs or is it more of a natural progression?
I think it’s probably a case of vocal chords changing and the sound of someone’s voice maturing. Although singing other people’s songs is more relaxing for me than singing my own songs because I am always the songwriter when I’m singing my own songs, so yes both factors affect it. Thank you for your compliment!
What made you decide to re-team with Mike Batt after working with William Orbit on The House?
I’ve made three albums with Mike previously and I wanted to work on an orchestral record and there is really no one better than Mike who arranges strings and finding songs and of course in the future I’d love to work with William again.
When recording MDNA, Madonna intimated that William Orbit always takes her music to a darker place. Do you feel that was the case and would you go there again?
I would definitely love to work with William again but I don’t think darkness or lightness is as a clearly defined as I used to think it was, especially with music. But William is very good at bringing out parts of the musician that you didn’t know you had.
People tend to think of you as a folk singer, but this album has a lot of different styles. Is there a genre you would love to try that you haven’t yet explored?
I would love to try Georgian folk music – obviously because Georgia is where I’m from. I guess that is still in the margins of folk but I would love to make a Georgian language album.
If you could work with anyone musically, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Kate Bush. I’ve always loved her work and delighted with her new material too.
Which bands/artists are you listening to at the moment?
I’m still listening to The National – High Violet, love Joe Henry especially his album Civilians. Really into Laura Marling and Tribes.
Were there any big reinterpretations that didn’t make the final cut of Secret Symphony?
There was a Roy Orbison song, ‘It’s Over’, but we listened to it again and have decided to put it on the bonus edition of Secret Symphony. There was a couple of tracks that you will never hear, one was by an obscure German ’80s pop band – that’s all I can reveal!
The review we did for Secret Symphony garnered a lot of interest, what would you like to say to your many fans around the world?
Just thank you for listening!
What do you see in the future musically?
I’m really interested in gigs and live performances and I try to see as many as I can. We have already seen how much people love going to see their favourite musicians regardless of what the music business is going through so I am picturing live gigs becoming even more imaginative where the performance is more and more edgy and collaborative perhaps with the audience. For example I have always been inspired by the work of Punch Drunk – they are a theatre production company based in London.
You have a bit or a reputation for being an adrenaline junkie. What’s next on the cards for Katie Melua?
I got hooked on going round a track with my husband on a motorcycle and I keep telling him he’s got to invent a new class of pillion rides with your Mrs’ so that will probably be the next thing – another back seat ride at 180 mph!
‘The Walls Of TheWorld’ is out today. Katie is touring in October and you can see her at the following venues:
Monday October 8, Ipswich Regent – 01473 433100
Wednesday October 10, London HMV Hammersmith Apollo – 0844 844 4748
Thursday October 11, Bristol Colston Hall – 0117 922 3686
Friday October, 12 Birmingham Symphony Hall – 0121 780 3333
Sunday October 14, Manchester Bridgewater Hall – 0161 907 9000
Monday October 15, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – 0844 499 9990
Tuesday October 16, Gateshead The Sage – 0191 443 4661