Katie Melua is back, bigger and better
SINCE her 2003 debut album Call Off The Search, the unassuming Georgianborn songwriter Katie Melua has sold more than 10 million albums. That’s about double the tally of fellow Brit-school graduate Adele, yet it’s difficult to open a newspaper or magazine without reading a glowing feature about that particular rising star. “You think I’ve gone about it quietly?” ponders Melua, the country’s biggest-selling female artist of 2006, who has won a clutch of awards all over the continent. “I suppose I have,” she says, sitting cross-legged on a sofa in her dressing room. The 26-year-old is in the middle of her current UK tour, which brings her to Glasgow on Monday, May 9, and she had already performed 20 shows in Germany, Portugal, Spain and France. The tour, showcasing Katie’s fourth album The House, should have taken place in December 2010 but was postponed until now for personal reasons. She doesn’t want to go into details, but does admit to having had “a bit of a breakdown” and being very unwell. Her tour has been rescheduled with more days off in between gigs than virtually any other touring act I’ve come across and she has a vastly-reduced interview schedule. But then Katie’s a notoriously private person, and maybe she just doesn’t want to pour her heart out to the first journalist she comes across. It’s not wholly surprising that someone who’s been flat out since they left school might suffer from low spells. “Last year was time to cool off a bit. I think what happened
“I just need to enjoy it more”
was a culmination of everything that’s gone over the past seven years,” she says. “I’m doing things differently since I’ve come back, trying to keep a lot more chilled and making sure I’ve got my family around,” she adds, referring to her mum, who is joining her for the entire tour. “I need to realise it’s just a job, and it doesn’t have to eat you alive. Yes, it’s a great position to be in, but it doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself crazy with hard work. I need to just enjoy it a bit more.” But she never thought of quitting. “My perceptions have changed, but I can’t think of doing anything else,” she explains. “Music and performing is everything I am, I love it. “Saying that, I realise it’s not just a job, but you can take it to an extreme level by combining it with a lot of physical activity like constant flying and travelling, constant jetlag and always having to be somewhere.” We move on to fame and celebrity, which Katie made a
punks The Brothel Corpse Trio and Glaswegian blues-rockers Kontroband. Toxic Ephex, who have been described as “one of Scotland’s best ever punk bands”, are sure to raise the roof with their oldschool, attitude-laden approach to punk rock. The Brothel Corpse Trio, pictured above, then represent the new breed of Aberdeen punks, with a double bass- laden, Misfits-inspired sound. Kontroband, whose swaggering rock n’ roll has gained them
many fans, complete the bill. ABERDEEN’S singersongwriters are out in force on Sunday, as Belmont Street’s Revolution bar holds RevFest – a May Day celebration featuring live music and top local DJs. Steven Milne, pictured right, Myke Black and Oliver Richards will be playing from 2pm at the event, which also boasts DJs from popular local club nights Nocturne and Electro Junkie. A NIGHT of instrumental and math rock takes place in Café Drummonds on Tuesday. Headlining will be Leeds-based band MAYBESHEWILL, who in the past have played alongside the likes of 65daysofstatic and Foals. Aberdeen outfits The Wetflex and Good Police are among the support acts. The Wetflex have garnered much interest on the local music scene, having just recorded and released their debut EP, Radton Upon Sea. Local postrockers Good Police complete the stellar
MUSICAL RIVAL: Adele.
RECOVERED: Singer Katie Melua. conscious decision to steer clear of from day one. “It’s not difficult to do that,” she says. “It stems from the fact I always wanted to be known for my music, and the people I work with completely understood that, never pushed me to go to every film premiere and all of that stuff. “The invites can be pretty constant, and it’s an easy trap to fall into, but I’d rather hang out with my mates down at the pub.” “But people think being a celebrity is exciting and glamorous.” Her last album The House, the first written and produced without mentor and manager Mike Batt, saw her collaborate with Robbie Williams’ former songwriter Guy Chambers and Madonna cohort William Orbit. The album didn’t break the mould, but it did move her in a slightly different, more experimental direction. She hints the next album, which she plans to start work on soon, will go even further but won’t say any more. “I don’t want to say what it’s going to be yet, it’s so early days,” she says when asked, but lights up while doing so. “At the moment, I just want to get the tour done. “I really felt like I had to do this. It’s a testament to myself to get it over and done with because it was so harrowing having to postpone the gigs last year. “Yes, I had to take some time off, but it’s good to be back.”