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Katie Melua

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Katie Melua

Plucked from music school obscurity by songwriter/producer Mike Batt, Katie Melua saw her debut bolt up the U.K. charts upon its release there in late 2003. Melua was born in Soviet Georgia in 1984. Eventually, she and her family moved to Belfast, Ireland, and finally to London, where Melua entered the B.R.I.T. School for the Performing Arts & Technology. The record industry-funded school had a habit of graduating talented performing artists (Floetry, for example), and Melua became its next success when a 2003 showcase caught the attention of Batt, who'd been looking for a vocalist capable in both jazz and blues styles. Call Off the Search was issued in the U.K. in November 2003 through Batt's Dramatico Records imprint. A comfortable, extremely tasteful blend of jazz vocals, pop style, and adult contemporary sway, the album featured two cuts penned by Melua (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.). Gigs in Europe followed, and in May 2004 Melua made her way to the U.S. for a round of club dates supporting the album's domestic release. She achieved even greater success with her 2005 follow-up, Piece by Piece, a heady blend of worldbeat and jazz-pop that topped both the international and British charts before setting its sights on the U.S. market in 2006.


 

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