AS PART of Robin Hill’s recent Woodland sessions, Dominic Kureen was given the opportunity to speak to Katie Melua, the Georgia born musician who moved to the UK when she was eight years of age.
Is this your first time on the Isle of Wight?
It is performing wise, but I came to Bestival about a decade ago – it was fabulous and I loved it – and I came to the Island in my late teens and had my first lobster here!
The first time I heard your music was (first album) Call Off The Search, which thrust you into the spotlight, how did you cope with that as such a young age?
I wanted to focus on the music and develop as an artist and musician, but what I’ve found since the emergence of social media is everyone has to deal with some level of fame nowadays to some extent.
I was 19 (when the album was released) and removed some of the responsibility and egoism from it by saying to myself it was the songs people were in love with. That helped me slightly disassociate with it.
You released Album No.8 late last year, it received a positive reception across Europe, what was the inspiration behind it?
It’s the first album I made since parting ways with my long-term collaborator Mike Batt, who was a real mentor to me when I started out.
It was the first time I got into lyric writing quite intensely. Also, it was around that time I ended up divorcing my husband of seven years, so the songs couldn’t not have spoken of that.
I always wonder what songs are capable of and how much they can transform you, and they really did help. It was very healing for both myself and my ex-partner.
I’ve noticed from my own experience that a heightened sense of emotion makes it easier to write, have you experienced similar?
I think when you’re feeling emotional about something it takes over your being, rather than being worried if (the music) is any good.
That lack of choice when you’re immersed in emotion possibly helps the creative process.
I used to see you on panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but not so much in recent years – was it a conscious effort to step away from them?
I think I did Never Mind the Buzzcocks twice when I was 19 and in my early 20s, but I’d love to do those shows again.
How has the pandemic has affected you personally?
We had to mix my last record virtually and we were going to do a European tour and play the Royal Albert Hall in London which had to be cancelled.
All the promos were done virtually, which meant I got to stay at home and learn to cook and work on my guitar chops which was quite good actually.
I’ve seen you perform over the years with the likes of Jamie Cullum, is there anyone now you’d like to play with?
I’m so honoured to be playing with Simon Goff (at Robin Hill) today. He’s a magnificent artist who comes from a scene in Berlin and has just released a beautiful album (called Vale).
Will you get the chance after the gig to check out Robin Hill again?
I’d love to, we’re leaving tomorrow but I hope to get the chance to take a look around before we head off.