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30.06.24   >   Message from Katie

Katie is unwell and has had to cancel tonight's show in Wolfsburg. Disappointing for all concerned of course, but health comes above all else in life and we wish her a speedy recovery. Here is her message in case you missed it:

24.06.24   >   On Rhyming

Rhyming is an odd thing isn’t it? Why do humans find rhymes pleasing? I wonder who was the first person that spoke a couple of sentences and thought “ooh, that sounded good, it rhymed!”. Except, of course, the word “rhyme” wouldn’t have existed at that point. So somebody had to notice that similar sounding words had a good effect on the brain and somebody had to come up with a word to describe it.

The thing is, if rhyming is such a pleasing thing to do then why don’t we do it all the time in our everyday speech? Why is it largely reserved for poems and songs? It is all quite mysterious, and makes me feel delirious.

Well, I suppose for one thing rhyming is something of a skill. It comes easy to some people but very few could constantly rhyme all of the time. Poets and lyricists can take as long as they want to write their carefully crafted words. Another thing is that rhyming seems to be best enjoyed in small doses. If everyone spoke in rhyme it would quickly become irritating and lose whatever magical power it has.

How do you decide when and where to rhyme? The simple answer is that it is purely the artist’s choice. Lyricists try to use rhymes more often than not. Poets seem more open to writing poetry that doesn’t rhyme. I think with poems, the meter and structure is more important and sometimes using rhyme can be a distraction from the meaning of the words. Also, rhyming has an air of whimsy about it that doesn’t quite fit with serious topics. With lyrics, the song is intended to be delivered by a performing artist and rhymes seem to be more pleasing to a collective audience listening rather than an individual reading in silence. There are no rules to any of it, and hence no rules to break, so anything goes. When a song is being sung, rhymes are rather like punchlines to a joke in that they give a sense of completeness, a satisfying closure to a group of words. Without rhyme, you have to work harder to derive pleasure from the song—there is no superficial auditory fix so you have to listen to and interpret the lyrics more, as you do when reading a poem. When listening to music, people rarely want to work that hard.

There are many ways to rhyme. In its simplest form, the second line rhymes with the first:

On a cold dark night, you came to me 
such a sight for my eyes to see

A common form is for a four-line verse with the second and last lines rhyming:

When you walked into my life
upon that fateful morning
I wondered if I’d missed the signs
that might have been a warning

Also common, but trickier to write, is first and third, second and fourth:

Why do we feel the need to rhyme?
Especially in a song
It’s something we do all the time
So it really can’t be wrong

I looked at you and felt so proud
as people sang your praise
I hid amongst the gathered crowd
my eyes in tearful haze

Rhyming words don’t have to be placed on different lines or at the end of a line—even when they are placed together they still give a pleasing hit to the brain.

Deep in the night I struggle to fight
the demons that lurk within me

at times like these you make me feel alive 
which is why I strive to be the best man I can be

Sometimes a lazy lyricist will take a ‘close enough’ attitude and use words that look as though they rhyme or rhyme as long as you mispronounce one of the words slightly. Here is an example of a lyric that looks as though it rhymes but clearly doesn’t (unless you happen to be Scottish):

I knew that it would be no good
I really wasn’t in the mood

One other form I want to mention is the limerick. These five-line poems are often humorous, crude or cruel but they have a pleasing rhyming pattern of A-A-B-B-A. It’s a format that is rarely used in song lyrics but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be—with a sweet melody it could be a lovely combination but equally could sound like a bunch of limericks set to music, which is probably why so few attempt it.

There once was a lady called Alice
who drank from a poisoned chalice
some welcomed the sight
of her dire fate that night
because she was so full of malice

If you find rhyming difficult you can buy a rhyming dictionary and there are also web sites that will find rhyming words for you. One tip I’d suggest is if you can’t think of a good word to rhyme with your chosen word, then try using a different chosen word. For example, if you start with “she wore a dress of orange…” you might find yourself stumped, but if you change it to “she wore a dress of tangerine…” you’d have options such as “guaranteed to cause a scene”.

I hope you’ve had a little fun
but now my piece on rhymes is done!

29.05.24   >   Katie Bite: Darling Star

24.05.24   >   Collaboration With Alberta Cross

A new single from Anglo-Swedish band Alberta Cross features Katie on vocals. The track is called Lucy Rider and was written by Petter Ericson Stakee, who, as some of you may know, has co-written a few tracks with Katie in recent years. Well worth a listen.

18.05.24   >   Gig Alert! Kristiansand, Norway

I think I've mentioned this before, but have you ever wondered how Katie chooses her concerts? I imagine it to be somewhere along the lines of:

Agent: Katie, I think I might have a gig lined up for you.
Katie : Is it in a drop-dead gorgeous location?
Agent: Well, as it happens, yes, it is.
Katie: I'll do it.

That would certainly explain why she's avoided Lincolnshire her whole career. Anyway, the point here is Katie will be performing at the Ravnedalen Live 2024 Festival in Norway on Wednesday 17 July, which is just two days before she's in Switzerland for a couple of shows in Zürich (see what I mean about locations?). Should you be lucky enough to be able to attend and spend a wonderful day at the Ravnedalen Valley Nature Park then you can poke around for tickets HERE.

22.04.24   >   Autostadt Sommerfestival

Katie will be performing in Germany on Sunday 30 June at Wolfsburg as part of the Autostadt Sommerfestival 2024. For tickets go here.

20.04.24   >   AI Playlists

Spotify is evolving all the time and has now jumped on the AI bandwagon. Actually, they've been using it for a while and already have a "DJ" function which tries to give you music it thinks you might like accompanied by interludes of cheesy banter in an American accent. If you're not too discerning it can work quite well and even help you discover new artists you like. But every now and then it'll throw something like Rick Astley at you and you'll be like "seriously?". But now there is a more specific use of AI for you to experiment with in the form of AI Playlists. At the moment it is still a beta function and available on phone apps only, to Premium subscribers.

To generate an AI playlist you touch the 'Your Library' icon at bottom right of your phone screen and then the '+' button top right. A pop up menu will then give you the options to create a new playlist, one of which is 'AI Playlist'. When you select this you will be asked for a prompt. This is where you can get as creative and specific as you want. The more detail you provide, the more the AI has to work with and the better your results should be. You could just type 'give me Katie Melua songs' but that would be a bit too general since you might as well just search Katie Melua and play her artist page shuffled. I typed 'give me Katie Melua songs to make me feel happy when I'm feeling a bit sad'. AI generated a playlist called "Katie Melua: Feel Good", which you can check out below.

The AI always seems to generate playlists of 30 songs, with about two hours of playing time. That's fair enough. As for its choices, well, it's complicated. It isn't merely picking a bunch of Katie's songs at random but in theory is basing its selection on my particular listening history. That means that if you ask it to generate a playlist with the exact same prompt I used you would almost certainly get a completely different playlist. As to how well it matches my prompt, you have to accept that it was a rather vague instruction for it to work with. I don't really see how it can be expected to know which Katie songs will make me feel good when I'm down (for the record, pretty much all of them!) so it is hard to judge the results. Certainly, a lot of my favourites are in there but so too are a few I probably wouldn't have picked if I'd been creating this playlist manually. If I ask myself whether this playlist would fulfil the remit of making me feel good if I was sad then I would conclude absolutely it would. The caveat is I didn't give it a difficult goal to achieve and I can't really see any way in which it might have failed dismally.

In the interests of giving the AI a more challenging task, I asked it to create a playlist of quiet and relaxing songs for a calm Sunday morning. Now this is where it gets more interesting. Not specifying a particular artist gives the AI infinitely more options. Again, it succeeded in giving me exactly what I wanted. There were no tracks in the playlist that jarred with the remit and it is definitely a playlist I would use. There are songs and artists I'd never heard of in there but most interesting was the larger than expected amount of artists I had heard of. Some of these are obscure enough for me to realise that this list was genuinely constructed just for me based on artists I have listened to in the past as well others that it correctly anticipated I would probably like despite them being new to me. This is the real genius of AI. It can get to know you better than you know yourself. If a friend recommends music to you it is usually biased towards what they like rather than what they know you to like. AI knows every song you've played on Spotify and how often, and it can compare your choices with those of every other Spotify user to analyse what people who mostly listen to similar music to you listen to that you don't and hence form recommendations that stand a good chance of hitting the mark. It won't always get it right but the more music you listen to the more complete a picture the AI can get of your tastes and therefore the more likely it will be to succeed. Here is my "Sunday Morning Serenity" playlist, generated by AI. Note track 2, which beautifully fits my request but, as a piece by a Georgian composer performed by a Georgian concert pianist, is highly specific to my own listening history and I doubt would make it on to any generic "Sunday Morning Serenity" playlist. For me, it was proof positive that the AI was tailoring this list specifically to me.

I decided to give the AI one more challenge. I asked it to create a playlist of quiet instrumental music I could use as inspiring background music for writing. Once again, I was perfectly happy and surprised with the "Writing Atmosphere" playlist it gave me. This one is definitely based on my personal choices. I have an existing playlist of Writing Music with over 1300 tracks on it and I have no doubt the AI has noticed that, along with my general predilection for ambient music. This playlist has a much higher proportion of artists already known to me but the most interesting thing here is that AI could easily have fished all 30 tracks from my Writing Music playlist. That would certainly have been an easy choice and a safe bet for success. It didn't do that. It has again successfully integrated a few new artists into the list and not one of its choices has caused me to hit the three dots and delete the track from the playlist. So, that's three attempts at AI playlists and all three are keepers. We are still barely scratching the surface of what AI can do for us but one thing is for certain: it is here to stay and it is going to become ever more ubiquitous and powerful. Whether you find that scary or exhilarating you'd best buckle up for the ride. The genie is out of the bottle...

17.04.24   >   Tulip Katie Melua

It is tulip season once more and there is no finer variety then tulip Katie Melua with its deep pink hue and heavily fringed petals. I have mentioned them before but they are not easy to find so I thought I would share with you the link to the Dutch grower that created them so you can grow them too! Head off to Ligthart Flowerbulbs to order yours.

01.04.24   >   Katie and Pizza

Never mind whiskers on kittens, Katie and pizza are two of my favourite things. If I could only choose one... don't make me do that! The only thing that could improve this photo would be a green-haired space witch from the Orion Nebula eating an ice cream next to Katie. Sadly, that's never likely to happen, is it? Oh, hang on a minute...

(Warning: parts of this image may or may not have been generated by AI.)

31.03.24   >   Katie in Australia

Looks like Katie is giving the Aussies a right treat down under at Bluesfest!

25.03.24   >   Katie in Switzerland

If you fancy a trip to stunning Switzerland, and why wouldn't you, or if you live in stunning Switzerland, and why wouldn't you, then you could go and see Katie in concert in Zürich in July, and why wouldn't you? She'll be performing at the Kongresshaus (roughly translated, Congress House) on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July. Ticket links can be found on the "On Tour" page, which can be found by clicking "On Tour" in the menu panel on the left (I'm sure you already knew that but if you didn't you do now).

22.03.24   >   Is Aerial Objects Ambient Music?

Ambient music plays a massive role in my life. Whenever I am writing I have ambient music playing in the background. I have tried writing in silence and, for me, it simply doesn’t work. I hear the clock ticking, road noise, dogs barking and even my own breathing—all of which are extremely distracting to the creative process. Ambient music, played at low to medium volume, does two things for me. Firstly, it masks the sounds of silence, those annoying little noises that you only really notice when you are trying to surround yourself with quiet, and secondly, it feeds my creativity. Many writers need absolute peace and quiet to work but there also some that absolutely cannot work without music on in the background. Some swear by nature sounds such as wind, rain or tinkling streams (which I find can get a little too monotonous). Some can even create whilst listening to heavy metal, though I have no idea how. I find ambient music to have that perfect blend of being unobtrusive and inconspicuous but at the same time interesting and evocative. Indeed, Brian Eno, who is credited with popularising the term ‘ambient music’, has described it as music that should be “as ignorable as it is interesting”, and that is about as succinct a definition as you could ever hope for.

Quite why ambient music should spark my creativity is one of the great mysteries of the human mind. It just does. It acts like a pilot light to my creative flame and without it the flame dies. Perhaps one of the key things about ambient music is that it can lack structure, beat or even melody. One thing the brain seems to pick up on is repetition. Humans appear to be hard-wired to detect patterns of any kind and normally when we listen to music it is these repeated beats and melodies we find pleasing. With ambient music, repetition can be a distraction because your brain starts waiting for and looking forward to the repeat. I have found that even with very minimalist ambient music, such as Jean Michel Jarre’s amazing “Waiting For Cousteau”, if you listen to it enough your brain can pick up on certain sounds and begin to anticipate them when you listen to the track again. Both Jarre and Eno have developed apps that can generate endless ambient music that in theory never repeats itself but I personally find the lack of human touch takes something away from the music, and there is also the worry that you may hear a sequence you find amazing but know you will never hear it again. My solution to the problem of repetition is one that has been made possible by modern streaming apps such as Spotify—playlists. My “writing music” playlist currently has 1461 songs, or a total of 177 hours of music, and I always play it on shuffle so it can be a long time before I hear the same track twice!

This is all very well, you are probably not thinking, but where does Aerial Objects come in? The thing is, Aerial Objects is described as ambient music and, in my mind at least, it isn’t. It is gorgeous, sublime music, just not ambient. The reason why is that it contains lyrics. Obviously, I think Katie has the best voice in the world, hence this web site, but even her gorgeous vocals have no place within my definition of ambient. It doesn’t matter how softly and subtly the words are sung, they are still words and your brain homes in on them like beacons. As soon as you hear a human uttering vocabulary your brain stands to attention and has to listen to understand what is being communicated. And when you are in the business of trying to communicate with words of your own, listening to other voices is a distraction. There are many examples of artists that have transgressed this “law”, including Eno himself, who has released tracks of ambient music that contain some lyrics, and all of these tracks have been excluded from my playlist for the same reason—hearing a human voice breaks my train of thought. The one exception is choral music such as the Gori Women’s Choir or Gregorian chants, which I can listen to whilst writing, though in small doses, but that is because the voice is being used purely as an instrument rather than a means of communicating information (okay, that isn’t technically true but I don’t understand Latin and my Georgian is very limited so any lyrics in this kind of music are interpreted by my brain as being exotic sounds rather than language).

So, Aerial Objects is not included in my Writing Music playlist. Quite simply, when Katie sings I have to listen! But if AO isn’t ambient, then what is it? Beautiful. I don’t know, does it have to be pigeon-holed? The playlists I have included it on are “Chillout” and “Ultimate Calm”, which are for when I’m relaxing, not writing. Feel free to label it however you want, but hopefully we can agree that it is a brilliant album.

11.03.24   >   Katie Bite: Aerial Objects

20.02.24   >   Katie Performing at Piano Room Live!

Funny I was talking about September Song in my last post because now you'll have the chance to hear Katie sing in September! She'll be performing on Saturday, 14th September in Manchester Opera House as part of the BBC Radio 2 Piano Room Live concerts. Usually, the studio versions of Piano Room mean two or three songs but presumably if you're booking the Manchester Opera House and the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform with the artist then you'd hope to give them a bit longer than that. Since it is the BBC you'd expect the shows to be recorded, at least for radio, so they may be available to listen to later in the year but if you want to witness Katie's performance for yourself then you can obtain tickets from gigsandtours.com.

If you haven't seen Katie live you really need to as she never disappoints.

14.02.24   >   September Song

Following on from the last article, I wanted to mention September Song. This is one that I have always wanted to hear Katie record and guess what! She has! Kind of. There is just a demo version, made right back at the start of her career. Sadly, for whatever reason, it never made the cut for Call Off The Search, or even B-Sides for that matter, and this tantalising taste of what might have been has been gathering dust in a dark cupboard for two decades. It finally escaped out into the world as a bonus track on the 20th Anniversary Edition of COTS.

The song was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for the 1938 Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday. It may not be the most famous of musicals but this song at least has become a standard of the Great American Songbook. And you know a song is good when it has been covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra (and also his Rat Pack buddies, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.), Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. Its roots as a song from a musical are evident in the lengthy introduction verse, which can leave you impatient to get to the proper melody itself. Sinatra draws this out to an almost tedious minute and a half, whilst Fitzgerald gets it over in half that time. Eartha Kitt speaks it but breezes through in thirty seconds. Nat King Cole dispenses with it altogether, preferring a piano introduction. His version is probably my favourite. Katie takes 50 seconds to get to the point in her demo version and perhaps the fact that the track is slow to get going was a factor in it not being used. You'd have to ask Mike Batt. But I feel if she'd been given an arrangement similar to Cole or Davis Jr, i.e. launching in to the main part of the song after a short instrumental intro, then the song would have worked better for her at that time. If she were to revisit the song today and arrange it in her own way I'd back her to absolutely nail it whatever her approach, and I really hope she does go back to it at some point. If I were making the rules I'd put it in law that Katie must do an album of American Standards at some point in her career and September Song must be on it. But I don't make the rules so all we can do is wait and hope and, for now at least, make do with a dusted-off demo.

12.02.24   >   Covers For Katie?

You have to consider yourself lucky when your favourite singer covers some of your favourite songs and in this regard Katie has rather spoilt me with her versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Fields Of Gold, Stardust, Wonderful Life and Here, There And Everywhere. In recent times she has focussed on writing her own material, and rightly so because she is a great songwriter, but the thought never strays far from my mind that she is such a gifted interpreter of songs and I’m always hearing songs and wondering how they would sound if Katie covered them. I’m fortunate in a way because I’m so attuned to Katie’s voice that I can close my eyes and actually imagine her performing certain songs. This is an interesting exercise because it allows me to assess whether a particular song would suit her or not. (It is the lyrics that don’t suit her more often than the music).

So, if I were to get lucky one more time and hear Katie perform one of my favourite songs, which should it be? I have a list that grows longer by the day! It hasn’t been easy but I’ve narrowed it down to three choices. The first two are gems that go under the radar too often and haven’t been covered enough. “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot and “Streets Of London” by Ralph McTell. Both of these songs are a blend of great lyrics and gorgeous melodies and they both would suit Katie’s vocals as well as her guitar picking style. I have no doubt whatsoever that Katie would deliver stunning versions of either of them. My third choice is more of a wildcard: “The Windmills Of Your Mind”. This lovely song was composed by Michel Legrand with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and was first heard in the 1968 movie “The Thomas Crown Affair”, where it was sung by Noel Harrison. It has been covered many times by artists such as Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Elaine Paige and even Sting. Yet it would be fascinating to hear Katie have a crack at it with just vocals and guitar since most versions tend to have orchestral arrangements even though the melody and lyrics are strong enough for a stripped back rendition.

That’s my shortlist then. No doubt you have many songs you’d like to hear Katie sing too. For now, let’s just keep on wishing and hoping. Who knows, perhaps one of us will get lucky in future.

08.02.24   >   End Of Summer (Official Video)

07.02.24   >   Tracy Chapman At The Grammys

Goodness me, what a treat was served at the recent Grammys Award Show! Luke Combs scored a surprise number 1 with Tracy Chapman's iconic and timeless song, Fast Car, last year (Chapman had only reached number 6 herself back in 1988) and dragged the elusive, some say reclusive, singer/songwriter back into the limelight. She rarely performs these days but somehow was persuaded to duet with Combs to perform the song live at this years' Grammys show. It was nothing short of stunning. Chapman sounds as good as ever, whilst Combs voice complements hers perfectly. The respect he shows for her and this song, which in his words was "his favourite song before he knew what a favourite song was", is clear for all to see—his cover remained faithful to the music and lyrics to the extent he even sings the line "I work in the market as a checkout girl"—and there is a beautiful moment during their performance where Tracy is singing solo and Luke is gazing at her and, oblivious to the audience, begins mouthing the words along with her. Fast Car has long been one of my favourite songs and this special performance is one I shall never forget.

04.02.24   >   Australia Mini Tour 2024

Katie has added gigs in Sydney and Melbourne on 3rd and 4th April respectively to her appearances at the Byron Bay Bluesfest, effectively turning her trip down under into a mini tour. Perhaps not of interest to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere but lovely for our upside-down friends on the other side of the planet to see her live for the first time in nearly two decades.

27.01.24   >   The Peasants

Katie has been involved with the soundtrack of a new Polish movie, The Peasants. UK cinema releases are very limited but you can watch the movie on Sky or Apple TV+. Visit The Peasants to find out more. If you want to listen to Katie's track, End Of Summer, the Spotify link is below.

25.01.24   >   Bluesfest 2024

Katie is heading down under in March to play three gigs at the Byron Bay Bluesfest, a five-day music festival in Australia. Now, I'm not aware of anyone in Australia that visits this site and for any of us Europeans a trip to Oz to see Katie perform would not be a trivial expedition but hey, I thought you'd like to know what she was up to. She'll be performing on Friday 29th March, Sunday 31st March and Monday 1st April (and you'd be a fool to miss that). Conveniently, that gives her the Saturday off so she'll be free to take in the one performance of the absolute icon that is Sir Tom Jones. I trust she'll be able to enjoy that without feeling the need to launch underwear in his direction. I would hope that any of Tom's fans attending Katie's shows would reciprocate that restraint and keep their budgie-smugglers to themselves.

14.01.24   >   Katie Bite: Textures Of Memories

01.01.24   >   Happy New Year!

31.12.23   >   Review of 2023

With hindsight, I would probably describe 2023 as being much better than it seemed at the time. Despite the usual ups and downs of life, the setbacks and those occasional sweet moments that make everything worthwhile, and of course all the awful things that are going on in the world, there was also plenty to cheer during the year.

Expectations were low in January—after all, Katie was cradling her son Sandro, a mere few weeks old as the year began. But it soon became apparent she was not going to accept that being a mother and being a music star are mutually exclusive. On the 12th January, “Golden Record” was released, the first single from Love & Money. It more than made up for the fact that season 2 of Katie’s podcast with Polly Scattergood, The Detail, never materialised. Hopefully, at some point it will because it was brilliant.

February began with another single release, “Those Sweet Days”. The early months of the year are rarely sweet but Katie’s drip-feed of new material was pulling us through nicely. March kept the momentum going with “Quiet Moves” being the third release from the album, accompanied by a charming video which featured the unlikely sight of Katie in a chip shop. On March 22nd, Katie performed an acoustic set at Pryzm in Kingston, and two days later her 9th studio album, Love & Money was released. It did not disappoint. The next day, “Love & Money” became the fourth single to be released along with a curious video that seemed to be about a cleaner being possessed.

At the beginning of April, Katie featured in a podcast by Holly Rubenstein, “The Travel Diaries”, which was fascinating and well worth seeking out if you missed it. A few days later she was one of the guest reviewers on BBC’s “Between The Covers” book show. I won’t reveal her pick—you’ll have to poke around on iPlayer to find the episode. Meanwhile, on 11th April, Katie began the Love & Money Tour, European leg, in Warsaw. Finally, normal service was resumed after a couple of years of covid mayhem.

For me personally, May 16th was the highlight of the year. I suspect it was well up there for Katie too. She performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. That venue had long been on my bucket list but to see Katie there was more than just icing on the cake, it was like having your dream cake and eating it. It was made all the more special by having the opportunity to meet up for a meal with fellow Ketefans Angie, Chris, Liliana, Sabrina and Rene—all known to each other through social media but finally brought together in person. An amazing night.

Things went a bit quiet for a while during the summer. Well, we had been spoiled in the early months of the year with song released and a major tour. Germany however, hit the jackpot again as Katie performed a mini-tour there in July.

In September, Katie released “14 Windows” as a single, with proceeds going to the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. A very personal song and for a very deserving cause, which was supported by a beautifully shot video.

The latter months of 2023 saw a spate of anniversaries. September 16th, Katie’s birthday, marked the 10th anniversary of Ketevan. October 5th was the 5th anniversary of Ultimate Collection. Exactly a week later saw the 15th anniversary of The Katie Melua Collection. Then, throughout October, remastered songs and videos from Call Off The Search were released before, on November 3rd, it was the 20th anniversary of Katie’s iconic debut album. A new version of the album was released with remastered tracks and a bonus CD of unreleased tracks and demos. An absolute treasure trove! What an extraordinary round of anniversaries. Please check back here in five years from now for an updated version of this paragraph.

November saw Katie deliver a moving performance of “Fields of Gold” as part of the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, which marked her second appearance at the Royal Albert Hall this year.

Katie’s final performance of the year was in Timișoara, in beautiful (and frosty) Romania before she jetted off to the rather warmer Australia just before Christmas. Hard to believe it is Sandro’s 2nd Christmas. He’s already managed to rack up more air miles than I have managed in six decades!

I have no idea what 2024 has in store for us, and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you. Let’s await the surprises. Join me this time next year to find out what Katie did next. Come what may, I hope you all have a wonderful year.

26.12.23   >   Christmas Thoughts

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I had my best one in over a decade. It can be a very difficult time when you live alone but this time I was determined to put more effort into getting in the mood and enjoying myself and, thanks to some beautiful friends, I broke the curse of not seeing anyone I know on Christmas Day. Friends are so important but true ones are a rarity and to be treasured when you find them.

On the face of it, 2023 doesn’t seem to have been that much better than 2022 when you consider the awful situation in Gaza, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the cost of living in the United Kingdom. Peace and prosperity remain distant dreams for most. Yet if I give thought to my own life over the past twelve months I can think of a number of reasons why life today is better than it was last year. We all tend to dwell too much on the negatives but if you try to focus on the positive things that have happened in your life then you too may conclude it wasn’t such a bad year. There is room for improvement, of course—there always is—but that is why we look to the New Year with hope. I hope 2024 will be better for all of us, yet it is the way of the world that we will have battles to fight and mountains to climb, both on a personal and global level. Just remember that victory tastes sweet and the view from mountain tops is worth the effort of reaching them. The best way to enjoy life come what may is through gratitude. Instead of wishing and wanting for things you haven’t got you should look at the things you have got and feel grateful that you have them. Enjoying what you have instead of pining for what you haven’t is one of the great secrets of living a happy life. Even if you consider yourself to have nothing there will always be something you can be grateful for such as a person in your life, your health or simply the wonder of nature that is free to your eyes and ears. And I am grateful to each and every one of you that reads my humble blog! Enjoy the rest of your holidays and I wish you a wonderful 2024.

17.12.23   >   Katie's Performance in Romania

Katie wowed the good people of Timișoara in Romania last week. It was a cold night but there's no better way to warm your heart than to listen to Katie, as well you know. On a crisp winter's night her voice is like mulled wine for the soul.

03.12.23   >   Katie in Romania

Katie will be performing in the historical city of Timișoara in beautiful Romania on Friday, 8th December. If you happen to live in Romania then this is a rare and unmissable opportunity to see one of the finest musical artists in the world on your home soil. For everyone else, well, if you have the time and the means then why not treat yourself to a last-minute trip to to a beautiful and fascinating country and get a Katie live fix into the bargain! Click the pic for more details.

22.11.23   >   Katie Bite: 14 Windows

12.11.23   >   Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance

Katie looked amazing and sounded a little emotional in a beautiful performance of Fields of Gold as part of the Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall last night. Click the image to find the show on iPlayer. Katie performs at 41:00.

Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance

05.11.23   >   Now And Then: Fitting Closure For The Beatles

The last ever Beatles song has been released. And, thanks to incredible technology involving AI, all four Beatles perform on it. Let's clarify the AI bit—computers have not simulated John and George but the AI is able to separate their original work on the track from other instruments. Hence, John's vocals emerged crystal clear from a tape demo where they had been intertwined, seemingly forever, with muddy piano playing. This is one of the best examples to date of exactly how astonishing AI can be. Isolating voices and instruments that have been mixed together on tape seems like science fiction but it is now a reality, thanks to pioneering work done by director Peter Jackson in developing such software during development of his wonderful Get Back documentary.

Paul McCartney had been in possession of the Now and Then demo tape for over thirty years. It is a song written by Lennon and recorded on a standard audio tape. The remaining Beatles tried, whilst George Harrison was still alive, to record the track but they ultimately had to give up due to John's vocals being compromised by the piano playing. Finally, in 2023, AI was able to separate John's vocals from the piano and Paul and Ringo were able to lay down new performances on bass, guitar and drums to be mixed in with John's original vocals and some of George's work from the abandoned earlier attempt. The result is astonishing. A true Beatles track, one in which all four are participating. It is almost a miracle, and a perfect way to give proper closure to the greatest band of all time. Even the title could not have been better—although intended by Lennon in the sense 'occasionally', it poignantly can also be seen as a nod to the Beatles, both now and then.

If you haven't seen the official video I urge you to do so right away. Just click the pic to go see it on YouTube. Warning: you will probably need tissues because it is one of the most moving videos ever created.

the beatles now and then

03.11.23   >   Call Off The Search is 20!

closest thing to crazy

Happy birthday to Call Off The Search! A truly iconic album and, for yours truly, probably the greatest debut album ever. Twenty years is a third of my lifetime and more than half of Katie'sthis album has been in her life longer than it hasn't. Katie hasn't aged and nor has this album. Newly remastered, it sounds crisp and clean, fresh as forest air on a spring morning. The brilliance of Mike Batt cannot be underestimated, not just for taking a chance on Katie but for writing songs for this album and picking perfect ones for Katie to cover and then arranging them all so beautifully as well as getting the very best out of the amazing raw talent he suddenly had on his hands. All credit to Katie for taking on board the guidance and advice given her and producing work of such maturity and control it beggars belief. Although Katie has spent more than half her life as a self-confessed student of songwriting it is clear that she had already graduated by the time this album appeared. Her songs Belfast and Faraway Voice are gorgeous. Mike Batt was not indulging her including them on this album, they are there on merit and hold their own with all the other material and though Katie's blockbuster early hits were with Mike's songs she was always encouraged to write her own music and be known as a singer-songwriter. She seems to like the process of collaborating with others but she is perfectly capable of going it alone. We'll never know what might have happened if her debut album had consisted of all her own songspersonally, I think she would still have been a successbut I thank Mike for getting her to cover classics because it showed the world what a truly sensational interpreter of a song she is. This anniversary isn't just about a record, it is about the day we all gave a piece of our heart to a young woman who has never let us down in the two decades that have passed since.

29.10.23   >   New Video: Closest Thing To Crazy (Remastered version)

The build-up continues towards the impending 20th anniversary edition of Call Off The Search. The latest video to get a bit of spit and polish is the big oneClosest Thing To Crazy. Yes, the song that launched Katie into the stratosphere and blew our collective minds. It's a sweet little video but if I'm honest the real benefit of this whole 4k remastering is in the pristine audio. There isn't a great deal that can be done with the video and it retains the original soft-focus look. Still, it reminds you how good Katie could have been as an actress since she looks completely natural in her role. You can watch the video by clicking the image below.

closest thing to crazy

28.10.23   >   Quick Facts

The longest studio track Katie has recorded, by some margin, is Millions Of Things from the album Aerial Objects. At 6m 49s it is more than a minute longer than the previous record holder, No Better Magic (5m 46s), from Acoustic Album No. 8. The shortest recording is Cradle Song from In Winter at 1m 43s, just pipping The Little Swallow (1m 46s), also from In Winter.

27.10.23   >   Playlist: Halloween

Goodness me, this is getting ridiculous! It seems like I'm posting about this playlist every five minutes but somehow another year has passed by and once again we are into the spooky season of Halloween. I make no apologies for posting this every year for one simple reasonthis playlist is banging! There is a slight pang of disappointment that Love & Money contains no suitable additions to the list but that doesn't detract from what a wonderful selection of tracks this is. And now you have a choice of platforms: Spotify or YouTube Music. You pays your money...

Play on:

spotify  youtube

halloween playlist

22.10.23   >   New Single: Tiger In The Night (Remastered version)

The latest remastered single from the upcoming re-release of Call Off The Search is Tiger In The Night. These remastered versions sound stunning and they make you realise just what a special album Katie's debut offering was. And whilst the included bonus demo versions of these tracks seem to give Katie equal amounts of amusement and embarrassment, real fans find them fascinating and still entirely listenable. Whilst they demonstrate the amount of refinement the recordings underwent they also show just how much magic there is in Katie's voice, even in those raw early efforts. This re-release is also a wonderful opportunity to own an iconic album on vinyl at last.

You can listen to the pristine track and the original demo on Spotify or YouTube. and other streaming platforms.

tiger in the night cover

19.10.23   >   Song Title Generator

A quick reminder to check out my random song title generator, which can be found in the Miscellany section of the site. This was created for a bit of fun, and often throws up funny or weird results but now and then comes up with some pretty good suggestions. Despite the name, it works equally well for poems or novels. Have a play, and if you end up having a massive hit or best-selling novel then I'd appreciate a gentle nod to Craggie's Song Title Generator!

song title generator

15.10.23   >   New Video: Crawling Up A Hill (Remastered version)

The stroll down memory lane over the imminent 20th anniversary of Call Off The Search has now turned into a brisk walk, if not a light jog. Crawling Up A Hill is the latest release from the newly remastered album and the video is available to chuckle at, I mean admire, on YouTube. If you'd forgotten why you'd fallen in love with Katie then these early videos will bring it all flooding back. Fresh-faced and innocent—I was both of those things back then, but Katie, well, she looked more at home in the music industry than she does now. Though, it has to be said, she looked less at home posing as a humble office worker, bless. You can watch the wonderful video by clicking the image below.

crawling up a hill

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the pic of Grumpy Cat on the wall at her desk. Genius.

katie in an office

13.10.23   >   The Katie Melua Collection 15th Anniversary

Happy 15th birthday to The Katie Melua Collection, released on this day in 2008. Although early in her career, this was more than just a Greatest Hits compilation. It gave us the new tracks "Two Bare Feet", "Toy Collection", "Somewhere In The Same Hotel", "When You Taught Me How To Dance", and "What A Wonderful World" (a duet with the great Eva Cassidy). Worth the price for those alone, but there was also a stunning DVD in the package which contains a live concert from her Arena Tour 2008 and is an absolute gem. If you never bothered to buy this CD/DVD you really should hunt it down.

the katie melua collection

08.10.23   >   New Single: Call Off The Search (Remastered version)

November 3rd will mark the 20th anniversary of Katie’s stunning debut album, Call Off The Search. Hard to believe isn’t it. Social etiquette seems to demand we say she hasn’t changed a bit but in this case it is pretty accurate—if you don’t believe me then compare the still below from the video, when Katie was nineteen, to the album cover of Ultimate Collection in the previous post, where she was thirty-ahem-something. One thing that has changed is the pitch of her voice, which is now much lower (as happens with most people as they age). This is one reason why I am hoping to hear her re-record this album at some point—her sultry lower register is ideally suited to these jazz-oriented songs—but for now we will have to make do with a remastered version of the original album. Perhaps ‘make do’ is an unfair phrase, since I’ve listened to the new single, the title track, and it sounds about as perfect as you could ever hope for. I haven’t directly compared it to the original album version but it is so crisp and clear and perfectly mixed it sounds like it was recorded yesterday (apart from the aforementioned higher pitch of Katie’s younger voice). It is enough to convince me that the remastered version of the album will be a worthwhile addition to the collection, though the deal-sealer is the inclusion of previously unreleased tracks. Some of these did appear on the B-Sides compilation but September Song is something I’ve always wanted to hear Katie sing and here it finally is after being hidden away on a shelf for twenty years—that track alone should make the entire package worth purchasing, but the opportunity to own this iconic album as a gatefold double-album vinyl is a further compelling argument. You can watch the video for the new single by clicking the image below.

call off the search

You can also pre-order the 20th anniversary edition of the album from Katie’s online store by clicking the pic below.

call off the search vinyl package

05.10.23   >   Ultimate Collection 5th Anniversary

Happy 5th birthday to Ultimate Collection, released on this day in 2018. There are a few notable anniversaries this autumn, the most significant being the 20th anniversary of Call Off The Search which Katie, thankfully, is celebrating with a new release of that iconic album on November 3rd. That will be an unmissable opportunity to own Call Off The Search in a double-album gatefold vinyl, which is THE way to own music.

ultimate collection

01.10.23   >   Asteroid 25131, aka Katie Melua

I haven't mentioned this for a while and perhaps some of you are unaware that Katie had an asteroid named after. I steadfastly refuse to make any kind of comment about heavenly bodies, though I can think of a few that might not be so restrained. Anyway, if you are a science geek you can see considerably more data on Asteroid 25131, Katie Melua by visiting its web page. Yes, Katie's asteroidal namesake does indeed have its own web page.

asteroid katie melua

The inner rings are the orbits of the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Asteroid Katie Melua orbits Earth every 4.51 years and is located between Mars and Saturn. It is represented in the diagram by the yellow and blue line, where yellow means it is above the ecliptic and blue below it (which you can visualise as being in the Northern hemisphere or Southern.) I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that because it is so far away and in a steady orbit there is no chance of Katie Melua wiping out life on earth.

16.09.23   >   Happy Birthday Katie and Ketevan!


Happy Birthday to Katie! It is special for her since it is her first as a mother. And it was 10 years ago today that Ketevan was released, the brilliant album that contained the beautiful track "I Will Be There". The song was written by Mike Batt for Queen Elizabeth II but it was for and about all mothers. I imagine it now carries more meaning for Katie too.

09.09.23   >   New Single out now: 14 Windows

14 windows

Katie has released a version of 14 Windows from which the proceeds will go to the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. You can support the charity by buying the single or by making a direct donation to RMBF. To listen to the track, buy it, watch the video, or other options, visit Katie's link page.

royal medical benevolent fund

09.09.23   >   New Wallpapers

I rarely add new wallpaper images to the Wallpaper section of the site, but Katie's new video for 14 Windows is so sumptuously shot it would have been a crime for some of the images to be blinked and missed!

katie wallpaper

31.08.23   >   Lyric Card: English Manner

english manner

27.08.23   >   Katie Conundrum

Unscramble the letters to reveal the title of a Katie track.




31.07.23   >   Katie Bite: Hotel Stamba

27.07.23   >   Summer Tour

The summer tour of Europe is rolling along nicely. However, sometimes even the greatest encounter the odd bump in the road. I should point out however, that I have always said I much prefer Katie's lower register and consider the poncho-clad audience at Lauchheim to be beyond lucky. I can only hope that one day I am in attendance at a show where Katie's high register has a night off and allows the low to be star of the show.

24.07.23   >   Residential Writing Week

Now then, listen up. Do you fancy a holiday at the end of September? Perhaps a relaxing break in a lovely country mansion? How about if you were there with a bunch of songwriters keen on honing their skills in a creative environment? And what if tutors were there to help you, such as Fiona Sampson, Findlay Napier and, wait for it, our very own Katie? If you are a songwriter that wishes to step up to the next level and you have the time, September 25th - 30th, the inclination and the, *ahem*, money, then why not click on the image below to investigate further. Look, I'm not going to sugar-coat this: it isn't cheap. But if you're serious about a career as a songwriter then this could be a life-changing event for you. This would be a good opportunity for anyone interested in songwriting but since you are reading this you must be a Katie fan and just imagine how awesome it would be to get advice and feedback straight from her!

15.07.23   >   Aerial Objects is 1 Today!

On this day in 2022 Katie released her collaboration album with SImon Goff, Aerial Objects. It is utterly splendiferous and unlike anything else she has done. Yet it is hard to believe it has only been one year since so much has happened in that time—Katie has released another album, named Love & Money, she has released a child, named Sandro, and she has completed a tour of the UK and Europe. That is a busy year! It is a shame Aerial Objects didn’t get a tour of its own (Album No. 8 didn’t either, but that was due to covid). It would be nice if Katie could one day do a one-off performance of it in the UK but it seems unlikely. If these things were purely down to the artists’ whim then maybe they could happen but level-headed commercial considerations dictate most decisions of this nature. We’ve said it before—the music business is a business.

30.06.23   >   Royal Albert Hall Set List

For those among you who care about such things (and I am neither admitting to nor denying being one of them), here is the set list from Katie's special night at the Royal Albert Hall last month. The fact that "Nine Million Bicycles" is nowadays referred to as "Bikes" should in no way be taken as meaning Katie regards that song as a tedious but necessary part of her live repertoire, though one suspects that is quite possibly the case and I, for one, would forgive her for it.

18.06.23   >   Katie Bite: Lie In The Heat

18.05.23   >   Katie at the Royal Albert Hall

It was a long road to get there but the musical match made in heaven finally happened as Katie performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday evening. This was the event many fans had been looking forward to back in 2020, only to be devastated when covid restrictions caused the entire 2020 tour to be cancelled. It is sad that not everyone who was going to go three years ago was able to be there this time but for those who were it was a case of good things coming to those who wait.

For anyone interested in architecture, the RAH is undoubtedly a glorious and iconic building. Inside it is something of a labyrinth and contains all manner of impressive bars and restaurants but the auditorium itself is surprisingly small, though it probably doesn't feel that way if you're the one standing centre stage. But if you've only ever seen it on television with an event such as Last Night Of The Proms you might have had the impression it is a large theatre.

The stage is surprisingly small. I say 'surprisingly' because you are hard pushed to imagine how an entire Philharmonic Orchestra is able to squeeze on to it when Katie and her band of four musicians seemed to have gobbled up most of it on their own. I was struck by how amazing the Gori Women's Choir would have sounded there but couldn't imagine where on earth they could have stood.

What the compact vibe of the theatre does do is give an amazing feel of intimacy. For the performer, it must feel like they can reach out and touch the entire audience and the surprising number of levels of boxes seems to reach to the ceiling. Depending on who you are, I guess it could be either intimidating or exhilarating to stand on that stage looking out at the sea of faces all around you. Katie, as you probably know, is a particularly cool customer but there were a couple of moments this evening when you wondered if even she was feeling a tad nervous. That would be quite understandable of course–not just for the weight of history of the venue around her but also, as she revealed to the audience, this show was the only one of the tour that would be recorded. (Possible future live album? Let's hope so.)

If Katie did have nerves they didn't really show during her performance, which was of the high standard that has become one of her trademarks. She was ably supported as usual by her band, with her brother Zurab dazzling with a few solos. I'd love to see that band cut loose for a jam session inside a late night jazz club. There was the odd moment where Joe's drums came across perhaps a tad too loud but it is worth remembering that the show was being recorded and hence the equipment was probably set up to sound as good as possible in the recording, which may not have been the optimal setting for the audience on the night, though it is only nit-picking and Katie's vocals were fine.

There is an unusual demographic with the audiences at Katie's shows. They seem to range from 20s to 80s and include all nationalities. Like many artists that are not so much in the public spotlight, Katie has a core of fans that are familiar with most of her work but the anomaly remains that her two biggest hits are ingrained on the public psyche from her extraordinary Wogan-boosted breakout year two decades ago. It is predictable, and a little frustrating, to hear the raucous applause and whistles when she sings "Nine Million Bicycles" and "Closest Thing To Crazy" and compare it to the gentle, polite applause which follows her other songs (though "Wonderful Life" does get a more energetic reaction, no doubt because of a certain television advertising campaign). However, this does not surprise me in the least. Whenever I mention Katie to anyone it is nearly always her two early chart successes that they know her for and it is quite rare to stumble across someone who is familiar with her work from the last decade or so. That always saddens me because they are missing out on some sublime music. What seems to happen a lot is that when people see Katie is performing in their town it reminds them how much they loved her back in the day (and probably every household has a copy of "Call Off The Search"), so they feel a wave of nostalgia and decide to go see her live. Of course, they are patiently waiting for her to perform the big two, but in my experience they usually end up being blown away by the whole show. Hopefully, they go home and begin to explore more of the back catalogue they have been missing.

As for this particular evening, all I can say is that it must be a special moment indeed in the life of any artist to stand in the centre of the Royal Albert Hall amidst a rapturous standing ovation and that humble Georgian smile as she takes it all in was wonderful to witness. The little girl from Kutaisi has come a long, long way.

One thing that is happening more and more now, mostly as a result of Katie's Instagram chats with fans during lockdown, is that fans are becoming friends and meeting up quite a lot. At one point on Tuesday evening there were eleven of us around a table at the Italian restaurant in the Royal Albert Hall. The group comprised of fans not just from across England but also from Portugal, Belgium and Denmark. We are a wide range of people of varying ages and nationalities all united in our love and appreciation for one special lady from Georgia.

14.05.23   >   AYMHM 18: Passages

A good album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)



Ravi Shankar & Philip Glass

North Indian classical music and Western contemporary classical music are worlds that you might think could never collide. Perhaps that is part of the reason why in 1990 two giants of those genres, Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, decided to have a go at such an unlikely arranged musical marriage.

Now, two such accomplished composers with such different backgrounds working on the same music might have been very difficult to make happen without disagreements and ego clashes. The solution they used to avoid this was genius—both of them wrote three basic themes, a bare structure of a song, and then they swapped them, leaving the other to complete the piece in any way they saw fit. This fascinating strategy worked perfectly and the resulting six tracks are all gorgeous. Whilst there was always the potential for this experiment to go badly wrong, I think the deep mutual respect the men had for each other ensured they put a lot of thought and care into the process and it is hard to imagine the result could have been any better.

Sadly, this collaboration was a one-off. It was a concept that intrigued both men but after creating such a beautiful piece of work there was nothing left to prove and both still had much to achieve in their own musical spheres but in Passages they showed the world that any collaboration can be made to work with mutual desire and respect.

Listen to Passages on Spotify via the link below:

Play on:


02.05.23   >   2023 Germany Summer Tour

Katie's love affair with Germany continues with another summer tour this July. She will be playing seven dates at the end of the month, all at different venues. click HERE to see details and ticket links.

30.04.23   >   Katie Bite: Quiet Moves

11.04.23   >   Love & Money Tour Begins!

Tonight is the first date of Katie's Love & Money Tour. It kicks off in Warsaw, Poland. Have a great time, Katie! Imagine little Sandro, having his first live gig experience at just a few months old. Surely, music will be in his blood. Warsaw is in for a great night tonight, followed by Gdynia tomorrow and Wroclaw on Friday.

04.04.23   >   Between The Covers

You can catch Katie’s appearance on the BBC Two book review show, Between The Covers, by clicking the pic below.

01.04.23   >   The Travel Diaries

The Travel Diaries is a podcast by Holly Rubenstein. Now into Season 9, Katie is the latest guest and gives some fascinating insights into her life. Well worth a listen. Click the pic to go to the podcast episode website or search for it in your usual podcast place.

27.03.23   >   Katie Bite: Golden Record

26.03.23   >   New Goodies Coming Soon

There's a new range of merchandise available for pre-order on Katie's online store. It includes T-shirts, sweatshirts and tote bags, all tasteful and stylish, and available later in April. It isn't cheap but it is cheerful so if you can afford it, treat yourself! And don't ask me what "torquoise" is. A new shade of turquoise perhaps?

25.03.23   >   Love & Money Official Video

The official video for Katie's latest single, "Love & Money" , is out now, to coincide with the release of the new album of the same name. If you've ever wondered what your cleaner gets up to when you're not there you're about to find out.
Click the pic...

24.03.23   >   Love & Money is out now!

Katie's 9th studio album, Love & Money, is out today. It is available to stream from the usual platforms right now and you can buy the CD or vinyl from Katie's web store, if you believe in supporting artists. It is a happy album, which might be just what you need right now, so go and listen and stop mooching around here!

22.03.23   >   A.I. — Is The Future Here Now?

Microsoft have just unleashed their revolutionary artificial intelligence ChatBot upon the world. You can find it by clicking the blue Bing icon in the Microsoft Edge browser. On the face of it, it’s just a pimped up search engine but if you try to give it a stiffer challenge it seems to be game to try and the results can be anything from weird, hilarious, unexpected to genuinely useful, impressive and even amazing. A.I. is getting serious.

It can easily handle obvious search engine tasks like looking for recipes or songs, but where it gets more interesting is in its ability to create. It can write poems, songs or even prose. It can even write computer programs—a fact that, as a programmer myself, I consider intriguing now but I can see the potential for that to become a rather insidious ability.

You could ask it to write a nursery rhyme about an octopus or a poem about a ballet-dancing Womble. No matter what you throw at it, it’ll have a fair stab. The results you get are variable. The more detail you give it in your query the better your response will be.

At first, this all seems like a lot of fun. You ask it to do things like write a poem about a turtle called Donald and chuckle at what it comes up with a few seconds later. But once you get over the novelty, is this the birth of a more sinister phenomenon we are witnessing? Could it make human creativity redundant? After all, if you wanted to write a song about a particular subject it might take you hours or even days whereas ChatBot could come up with something in seconds. It might not be perfect, but it would give you something to tweak and polish. If you then have a hit with that song, who gets the credit, you or the ChatBot? Would you even acknowledge you used the A.I.? Cheating is an obvious abuse of this technology—imagine your child has to write an essay for their homework: how easy it would be for them to ask the ChatBot to do it for them whilst they are on their PlayStation. There is also the thought that it might be able to write a computer virus for you—we have to trust that Microsoft have built in enough safeguards against misuse. It can be a genuinely useful tool though, helping you phrase and reword reports and papers, rather like a grammar checker on steroids.

Bear in mind that this is only the dawn of this kind of technology and it will only get better. Much better. Perhaps in ten years you will be able to ask the A.I. to write a song in the style of Bob Dylan and seconds later be provided with something that has no obvious indication that it wasn’t written by the man himself. It is mind-blowing but scary.

The question of whether this technology can ever replace a human is a very tricky one for which there is no definitive answer. There is no doubt that it is possible to get some very convincing results from ChatBot even today but you could argue that an A.I. will never be able to match the feeling that a human can express due to emotional experiences. As living, sentient, biological beings driven by chemical reactions, we interpret the world around us in a completely different way to ChatBot, which simply crunches massive amounts of digital data to grind out its results. ChatBot is able to write you a poem about the pain of loss but it has no understanding of the concepts of pain or loss. As of now, ChatBot could generate a bedtime story you could read to your daughter and she would have little clue you didn’t make it up yourself. But ask it to write you a new Dickens novel and that would be an entirely different story (pun intended).

The next few years will be interesting. I would not be surprised at all if at some point we see a hit song that uses ChatBot lyrics. I should stress however, that the music will be composed by a human and only the lyrics generated by the A.I., though at some point in the future maybe it could do the whole thing. There may be some things it can never handle. To me, the most obvious thing would be comedy. I would be hugely surprised and impressed if an A.I. could ever write a sitcom or a stand-up routine. But you never know.

At the moment, all this power seems controllable because of how it is presented. Typing queries into a browser does not seem that revolutionary—after all, we’ve been Googling things for years now (incidentally, Google is about to launch its own A.I. engine, Bard, so we will soon be seeing a battle of the A.I.s). But when you consider the growing popularity of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa we are not far away from a time when you can put your child to bed and ask Alexa to sing an original lullaby. As we edge closer to the days of personal robots, imagine one that has all this A.I. power at its disposal. We’ve all seen deep fake images and this can be applied to sound so in theory your robot could mimic any voice. Put all of this together and twenty years from now you could be asking your robot to write and sing a song in the style and voice of Katie Melua. Intriguing, certainly, but is that really where we want to go? For those that have witnessed the genuine article it would never be good enough but for the generation growing up with this technology, will they really care whether their content is created by a human or a machine? Artificial intelligence is a Pandora’s Box, and we just opened it.

Below, I’ve listed some of the queries I put to ChatBot and the responses it gave. See what you think and maybe go to the Edge browser and challenge ChatBot for yourself. It’s all good fun—for now….

> could you translate the lyrics to "Fields Of Gold" into Georgian?

Yes, I found a translation of the lyrics to Georgian on lyricstranslate.com. Here are the translated lyrics:
ველები ქართველისაა, მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა. მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა.
ველები ქართველისაა, მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა. მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა.
ველები ქართველისაა, მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა. მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა.
ველები ქართველისაა, მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა. მისი მეტად საყვარელი ადამიანისაა.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. 😊

(according to Google translate this actually is the phrase “The fields belong to Georgian, to his beloved person. It is his most beloved person.” repeated four times!)

> write me a limerick about bananas

Here’s a limerick about bananas:

There once was a fruit called banana,
It’s yellow and sweet, like a cabana,
It’s great in a pie,
Or just on the fly,
It’s a fruit that’s loved by both man and fauna.

What do you think? 😊

> do you dream?

As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to dream. I’m just a computer program that processes and generates text based on the input I receive. Is there anything else I can help you with?

> do you know a recipe for khachapuri?

Yes, I can help you with that. Here’s a recipe for khachapuri that I found from simplyhomecooked.com:


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Combine flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Then add warm milk. Using the hook attachment, knead the dough until it takes shape.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll them out into circles.
In a separate bowl, mix together the mozzarella, feta, and ricotta cheese.
Add the cheese mixture to the center of each dough circle.
Fold the edges of the dough over the cheese mixture and pinch them together.
Brush the top of each khachapuri with beaten egg.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. 😊

> could you write a song about a cat and his favourite tennis ball?

Sure, I can give it a try! Here’s a song I came up with:

Verse 1: There’s a cat that I know, he’s got a tennis ball, It’s his favorite toy, he loves it most of all, He’ll play with it all day, and never let it go, He’s got a special bond, with that ball, you know.

Chorus: He’s a cat with a tennis ball, he’s got a heart of gold, He’ll play with it all day, and never get too old, He’s got a special bond, with that little ball of fur, He’s a cat with a tennis ball, and he’s always ready to purr.

Verse 2: He’ll chase it up and down, and all around the house, He’ll pounce and jump and play, just like a little mouse, He’ll bat it with his paw, and then he’ll catch it too, He’s got a special talent, that’s for sure, it’s true.

Chorus: He’s a cat with a tennis ball, he’s got a heart of gold, He’ll play with it all day, and never get too old, He’s got a special bond, with that little ball of fur, He’s a cat with a tennis ball, and he’s always ready to purr.

Bridge: He’s a little ball of fur, with a heart so true, He’ll always be there for you, no matter what you do, He’s a cat with a tennis ball, and he’s always on the go, He’s a little ball of energy, and he’s always in the know.

Chorus: He’s a cat with a tennis ball, he’s got a heart of gold, He’ll play with it all day, and never get too old, He’s got a special bond, with that little ball of fur, He’s a cat with a tennis ball, and he’s always ready to purr.

I hope you like it! Let me know if you have any other requests. 😊

I think Katie is safe for a while yet.

08.03.23   >   Acoustic Set at Pryzm

Katie will be performing an acoustic set of songs from Love & Money on Wednesday, 22nd March at Pryzm, Kingston. I know Jamaica is a long way for you all to go... oh hang on, it's the one south of London isn't it? As you were. If you can make it there, I'm sure she won't disappoint.

05.03.23   >   Quiet Moves

The official video for Katie's latest single, "Quiet Moves" , is out now. The new album, "Love & Money", is out in less than three weeks so in the meantime why not entertain yourself with a portion of dubious chip-shop based dancing? Click the pic...

01.03.23   >   New Single: Quiet Moves

The third single from Katie's imminent new album, Love & Money, is out now. It is called "Quiet Moves". You can listen on Spotify or click the pic to listen on YouTube Music. You'll also find it on the other main streaming platforms.

quiet moves

13.02.23   >   Katie Bite: It Happened

03.02.23   >   New Single: Those Sweet Days

The second single from Katie's upcoming album, Love & Money, is out now. It is called "Those Sweet Days". You can listen on Spotify or click the pic to listen on YouTube Music. You'll also find it on the other main streaming platforms.

those sweet days

24.01.23   >   Strange Phenomenon

This is a quote from Katie's blog back in October 2005. (Yes, she did blog on and off for a while in the days before social media ruled the world!). Hard to believe that is almost half her lifetime ago but she was a sassy lassy back then and well on her way to evolving into a warm, wise and wonderful woman. Be warned: if ever you meet Katie you will witness a strange phenomenon!

19.01.23   >   The Complete Katie Melua

I'm aware that a lot of streaming music links are for Spotify. After all, it is considered the King of music streaming. However, I've never really liked it for various reasons. For me, YouTube Music is far more impressive. Why? Well, for one thing, you can upload your own music collection to your account if you can't find it already there, which does sometimes happen with obscure albums. There is also the killer feature–video. If you are listening to a song and there is a video available for it you can seamlessly switch to watching the video at the touch of a button without losing your place in the song. It is a very slick feature beautifully done. Like Spotify, there is a free version but if you are serious about your music you will want to subscribe to avoid annoying ads. Since one subscription gets you YouTube Music as well as YouTube Video it is well worth the money but subscribing to Spotify as well is probably overkill, especially in the current economic climate. But I recommend you give YouTube Music a trial and see what you think. If you are a die-hard Spotifan then that's fine–as you were. For the YouTubers though, I have created a playlist called The Complete Katie Melua. It does just What It Says On The Tin. It contains 263 songs (and counting...) so whether you want to have a serious Katiethon session or just hit shuffle for a daily Katie fix is up to you. And remember, if there is a video available for the song you can dive into it at any point by touching a button on the screen. Enjoy! (Click the pic to go to the playlist on YouTube Music.)

18.01.23   >   Golden Record

"Golden Record", the new single from the upcoming Love & Money album, is streaming now.

Click to listen on YouTube Music
Click to listen on Spotify
Click to watch the official video

13.01.23   >   Love & Money Release Date

Katie's new album, Love & Money, will be released on March 24th. You can pre-order NOW at Katie's online store.

Here is the track listing:

1. Golden Record
2. Quiet Moves
3. 14 Windows
4. Lie In The Heat
5. Darling Star
6. Reefs
7. First Date
8. Pick Me Up
9. Those Sweet Days
10. Love & Money

Check out the new single, Golden Record, on spotify

12.01.23   >   Katie's Track Quiz

Katie has been teasing us on social media again. She has set a challenge to guess the track names of her latest album, Love & Money, based on emoji clues. Now if you were a fan of Catchphrase this could be right up your street. Personally, I found the advice "say what you see" pretty unhelpful since I never seemed to be seeing what everyone else was seeing. Somehow I doubt that track 8 is entitled "Ice pick waving girl upwards". I'm sure you can do better than that so feel free to have a go. Or, just wait a bit longer until the album details are released 😃

Here are my guesses. I don't expect them all to be right.
1. DVD
2. Ponderous Jogger
3. One For Windows
4. Big Nose Into The Fire
5. Baby-faced Sheriff
6. Orange Squiggles
7. One Pair Of Lovers
8. Ice Pick Waving Girl Upwards
9. Toffee Calendar
10. Heart Ampersand Dollar

11.01.23   >   New Single: Golden Record

Tomorrow sees the release and first airing of "Golden Record", the new single from the upcoming Love & Money album. Click here for the link.

08.01.23   >   Katie Bite: Tbilisi Airport

02.01.23   >   Review of 2022

2022 may have been a fairly horrid year in global terms, for reasons I mentioned in my Christmas message, but for Ketefans it actually turned out to be a pretty good year. Katie is normally off the radar in January but this year we had something to keep us going in the form of The Detail, her podcast with friend Polly Scattergood. This weekly dose, which began late in 2021, was never less than fascinating to listen to. Series 2 was said to be in the works but so far there is no further word on when it will drop so all we can do is wait and hope.

February began with a lovely performance from Katie for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room season. It was particularly noteable for her cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. If you go to the blog entry for 5th February you can listen to her performances and her chat with Ken Bruce.

March was a quiet month as we were all digesting the awful events unfolding in Ukraine. In April though, there was more to keep us happy. Katie announced a project in collaboration with Oxford University, called The Silk Roads Project. It was a one-off musical performance involving students and young people as well as the BBC Concert Orchestra. Details also began to emerge of some welcome summer concerts in Europe, though the wait would have to go on for UK fans. On a personal level, mid way through the month I was elated to finally have my first “Katie Melua” tulips blooming in my garden after a search that had taken years. Katie had a lovely conversation with Vikas Shah for his ThoughtEconomics website. Then, towards the end of the month, we heard about a new album to arrive in the summer, Aerial Objects. It was to be a collaboration with Simon Goff, best known for his ambient violin music. This news was music to our ears even though it came with a warning of being unlike anything Katie had done before. We trust her enough that we were all excited anyway.

May was another quiet month before the beginning of June brought the first single from the new album. It was called Hotel Stamba (after a Hotel in Tbilisi) and fair to say it blew our minds. Any fears Katie may have had about fans not liking it were soon dispelled. We loved it. Katie also announced she would feature on a track for William Orbit’s new album, The Painter, slated for an August release. Orbit is something of a legend in the industry, and produced Katie’s fourth album, The House. His new album would also feature a collaboration with Polly Scattergood. The second track and video from Aerial Objects dropped towards the end of the month. Textures Of Memories did not disappoint either. Excitement was bubbling over for the full album release.

Meanwhile, Bad Katie was keeping a low profile this year but she did escape for a while for another episode of mayhem in July, entitled “When Bad Katie Met Bob”. Who knows when we shall see her again. But the big news of July was the release of Aerial Objects. It was every bit as wonderful as we’d hoped. Despite appearing in the seventh month of the year, it would go on to become my most listened to album of the year when Spotify released their annual reports in December.

August saw Katie on the road again at last, with a 6-date tour of Germany. It was so lovely for her to be playing live again after a couple of years of covid nightmare. And Germany won the jackpot again in September when Katie and Simon Goff gave a one-off performance of Aerial Objects in Berlin. Such a shame more fans couldn’t get to experience these wonderful songs live. Indeed, many fans are still waiting to hear songs from Album No. 8 live. It has been a difficult couple of years for all.

In September the world changed. The death of Queen Elizabeth II was so unexpected, despite her great age, and most of the population had never known another monarch. She was like the mother of the nation and her loss left the UK feeling like a rudderless ship. Her Majesty loved Katie and they met a number of times. I’m sure Katie and her family felt very proud of that and it must have been a source of comfort for Katie to know she gave so much pleasure to such a special lady.

October saw the 5th anniversary of AllAboutKatie. It was a personal project of mine for some time before that, keeping my web skills honed on a subject close to my heart, but eventually I realised that Katie didn’t have a good English fan site and she really deserved one so it was time to go online and share the site with the world. Five years have passed so quickly! There have been a few disruptive changes in my personal life but my desire to keep AAK going remains and as long as Katie keeps producing music I hope to keep supporting her through this web site.

November saw the second surprise album announcement of the year. Katie is spoiling us now! Love & Money will be released next spring along with her much-anticipated return to UK live shows in May. 2023 is already looking like a much better year just because of the announcement of that album and tour. Finally, we have something to look forward to amidst the general gloom and doom of news this year has brought.

Katie had one last piece of good news to share with us in December, announcing the birth of her first son, Sandro. I’m sure you will all join me in sending love and best wishes to mother and son but I want to take this opportunity to urge everyone to respect Katie’s private life and resist hounding her for more details on social media. She will share what she is inclined to and we should ask no more of her than that.

So, with 2023 now firmly under way and 2022 decidedly consigned to the past, I wish you all a wonderful New Year. Hope to see some of you at the live shows this year!

01.01.23   >   Happy New Year!

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