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Katie Melua is a UK Pop Star, by Way of Georgia and Northern Ireland

Katie Melua is a Georgian singer who was born in 1984. Her family moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland when she was eight years old and to London six years later. She will celebrate her 30th birthday later this month.

Melua studied at the B.R.I.T. School for the Performing Arts & Technology in London.  in the early 2000s, she was singing in pop and rhythm and blues styles and listening to modern performers. At that point, Melua discovered earlier performers such as Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell, whose music, she said, “felt raw and real.” She also discovered Eva Cassidy, who she said was a modern singer with the previous generation’s sensibilities.

At that point, she met song writer/producer Mike Batt. Batt is decades older but shares her admiration for Cassidy. Melua signed with Batt’s Dramtico Records in September, 2002.

Katie Melua Tops the Pops

Her first album was released in 2003. “Call Off the Search” sold 1.8 million copies and reached the top of the U.K. charts. Her next album, “Piece by Piece,” was released in 2005 and has gone platinum four or six times, depending on which source you believe. I guess it’s safe to say it was a success.

And so was she. The Wikipedia profile says that Melua may now be the second richest musician under thirty in the U.K., with earnings of £18 million, which is slightly less than $30 million.

AllMusic assessment of “Call Off the Search” provides insight into Melua’s music in general.

A comfortable, tasteful blend of jazz vocals, pop style, and adult contemporary sway, the album featured two cuts penned byMelua (including a tribute to one of her biggest influences,Eva Cassidy), as well as covers of material from John Mayall, Randy Newman, and the James Shelton classic “Lilac Wine.” The single “Closest Thing to Crazy” hit number one in December, and by January of the following year, Call Off the Search had gone platinum (300,000 units in the U.K.). It continued selling copies for years, eventually going platinum six times.

Above is “Perfect Circle” and below is “What I Miss About You.”

Wikipedia, AllMusic, Biography and Rate Your Music were used to prepare this post. The homepage photo is by Kirk Stauffer.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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