When Georgian-born Katie Melua signed with Mike Batt's independent record label Dramatico in September 2002, no-one could have imagined that by the release of her third album, ‘Pictures’, in 2007, she would be the biggest-selling UK-based, female artist in the world. Her first two albums, 'Call Off The Search' and 'Piece By Piece' both became international number ones with singles such as ‘The Closest Thing To Crazy’ and ‘Nine Million Bicycles’ becoming airplay hits around the world.
The story was to continue with the album ‘Pictures’ securing Katie’s place as one of Britain’s most successful artists of the new millennium. Katie was on an exciting, record-breaking rollercoaster ride involving several massive world tours, numerous awards and many special moments - like playing on stage for Nelson Mandela with the band Queen, dining at Buckingham Palace with the real Queen, becoming a British citizen, performing a gig at the bottom of the North Sea, walking the Great Wall of China and playing at London’s vast O2 Arena.
The release of 'Pictures' preceded a natural break in Mike and Katie's writing relationship. “We knew it was the last album we would write together, at least for a while”, said Katie at the time. “We both felt three was enough and I need to go and further explore my identity as an artist, and Mike has other projects he wants to do, too. These albums have very much been a double act - a trilogy of collaborations if you like. A chapter in our ongoing relationship.”
Katie’s focus for the first half of 2009 was America where she embarked on an acoustic tour performing with just her guitar and piano for accompaniment “sometimes it's nice to strip the songs back. That's how you know whether a song is good or not — when it can survive without such protection." Reunited with her band, a summer of outdoor shows around Europe concluded the tour before Katie settled down to start work on her fourth album ‘The House’.
As one of Britain’s most successful artists of the past decade, the release of ‘The House’ heralds a new phase in Katie’s musical career. Recorded at Air Studios in London, the new album is produced by William Orbit and sees Katie writing on her own and with Guy Chambers, Rick Nowels, Mike Batt and singer-songwriter and long-time friend Polly Scattergood. The resulting album, entitled ‘The House’ has been described as sonically epic, adventurous and dramatic and, whilst appealing to Katie's fans, also promises to draw a new audience.
"In addition to being inspired by the values in music from the past, I wanted to embrace the future. First, by accepting the values that are treasured more in music today and by projecting them forward. I found if you went far enough in both directions you end up in the same place. This thought was so liberating it enabled me to be a lot more fearless with expressing emotions, with challenging conventional structures of song and, finally, still allowing simplicity to stir the soul, as it so often does." explains Katie.
Written by Katie with Chambers & Lauren Christy, the first single ‘The Flood’ had its worldwide premier on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 18th February. ‘The Flood’ was one of the songs that enticed William Orbit out of his self-imposed retirement as a producer: “I was captivated by Katie’s voice when I first heard her demos in October last year and, although not having been involved in record production for some time, felt that I just had to work with her. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and a pleasure from start to finish.” recalls William. “When I first started working with Katie, I posted on Twitter that there was some pure magic about the sessions. As the album progressed I felt this magical quality more and more and I believe that the record that she has made is very special indeed.”
Katie has confirmed an extensive European tour for spring and summer 2011 which will include 13 shows in Britain in April and May.