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February 2019 Archive
28.02.19 > Lyric cards available in the Gallery
I have added a new page to the Gallery section for lyric cards. If you can't wait to look it is HERE. I am creating them in album order and so far Call Off The Search, Piece By Piece and Pictures have been done. Since I make one about every 7-10 days it'll be a while before you can get your mitts on In Winter ones. Sorry. Saving the best till last!
28.02.19 > Lyric card: I'd Love To Kill You
27.02.19 > Cheltenham Jazz Festival tickets
These are now on sale to members. They'll go on general sale next week but I'd advise you to be quick since there may not be many left — Gregory Porter sold out to members!
Oh how I love days when I have something like this to look at...
26.02.19 > Katie Bite: The Walls Of The World
25.02.19 > Album cover drinks coasters
Since this is entry number 501 I should probably have made some kind of reference to darts or Levi's jeans. Actually, I just did. Anyway, here's an image of Katie's studio albums. If you print them out, laminate them and cut them up you'll be the proud owner of a lovely set of drinks coasters. You don't have to, mind, it's just a suggestion. I mean, you could print out hundreds and wallpaper your house. But that would be bordering on silly.
24.02.19 > 🍾 🎉 💃🏻 500th blog entry 🕺🏻 🎉 🎂
This is the 500th entry in Craggie's Blog. Look, stop yawning — it's an excuse to have a party so grab it. If you're still not getting in the mood, click the little play icon below.
23.02.19 > Katie Bite: Secret Symphony
22.02.19 > Quick fact:
Katie has yet to record a song title that begins with "E". Or "Q", "U", "V", "X", "Y" or "Z".
21.02.19 > TBT: Smuggy MacSmugface
Was I right or was I right?
20.02.19 > Katie Bites section updated
The Katie Bites section of the Gallery has had a right good overhauling. Bites are now arranged alphabetically by song which should make life a lot easier if there's a particular song you want to find a bite for.
(This does assume you know the proper song title. For example, The Closest Thing To Crazy is found under T, for The and not C, for Closest! If that doesn't make sense I suspect one of us may be dim.)
19.02.19 > Katie Bite: Tiger In The Night
18.02.19 > Quick fact:
The House is Katie's most hands-on album in terms of songwriting, with only one of the twelve tracks written entirely by someone else — The One I Love Is Gone.
17.02.19 > Re: imaginings
Some people believe in the multiverse theory — that there are an infinite number of universes and anything you can imagine actually happens somewhere in one of them. I couldn’t give a bag of badger’s toenail clippings for that theory but it does allow me to think that there is a universe out there where all my ideas for Katie albums actually happen. All I need to figure out is how to get to that universe. Back in the only one we know is real — or is it? — all I can do is keep dreaming and who knows, maybe a miracle will happen one day…
As you may have guessed, I’ve been thinking about another idea for an album I’d like to see from Katie at some point. I’m calling it re: imaginings. Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve banged on about this before but I love to hear Katie sing with just her own guitar as accompaniment. So, how about an album of her own songs from the Dramatico days performed by Katie alone in stripped-back fashion. No band, no orchestra, no backing vocals. Now you may think you would lose a lot by doing that but actually it is often more powerful — just listen to Springsteen perform his solo acoustic versions of “Born To Run” and “Born In The USA”. Admittedly, those two examples had an original that was pretty loud and full on rock, but the stripped down versions are slower and more poignant, simply beautiful. The trouble with this idea is that some of the songs are quite restrained to begin with, like “Faraway Voice”. That said, it would still be interesting to hear Katie revisit it — after all, it was more than half her lifetime ago that she wrote it, and her voice has changed since she recorded it. Here is the list of songs that would make up the album. And by the way, how good are all these songs? Who needs collaborators?
Belfast Faraway Voice Forgetting All My Troubles I Cried For You I Do Believe In Love No Fear Of Heights Piece By Piece Spellbound Spider’s Web The House
16.02.19 > Lyric card: In My Secret Life
15.02.19 > The Package
Singer. Musician. Performer. Composer. Lyricist.
I can do one of those five things. I can write lyrics. I have done all my life and I find it quite easy. When inspiration strikes I can bash out a lyric or poem in half an hour. I don't claim they are great lyrics but I can do them. Yet that ability hasn’t got me anywhere. I can sing, but awfully. Me and my guitar have a special relationship whereby we have mutually agreed that what goes on between us will not be witnessed by any other living creature. I couldn’t stand on stage and perform to save my life. And I have written one song; it took ages and it was rubbish.
Perhaps if I could have found the Elton John to my Bernie Taupin, or the Andrew Lloyd Webber to my Tim Rice, then I would be rich and famous by now, writing my next blockbuster hit from a hammock on a Bermudan beach. That’s not quite how life works. Even if you possess all five of the talents I listed it is no guarantee you will succeed in a dog eat puppy industry where those wielding the power don’t give a monkey’s marble collection whether or not you can move them as long as you can be moulded into a product they can make a pot of cash from.
With that message of doom out of the way, let me be more positive. If you do possess the magic five qualities there’s no reason why you can’t make some kind of living from music. It will require a lot of effort, work, sacrifice and dedication, but it can be done. Nowadays, you can write and record music in your bedroom. You can shoot your own video on your smartphone, and upload it to YouTube. You can create your own CDs and print the labels and inserts for them. And you can use FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter as well as having a blog to promote yourself. All the tools you need are there; you just need to add time and talent. There’s a massive amount of work required but it can be done that way. You no longer have to go and plead in front of Simon Cowell and make a fool of yourself on national television. If you think you can just turn up to some talent contest, warble a couple of verses and be declared the next Adele, then you are living in cloud cuckoo land. Put in the time, effort and work and the rewards may come; even if they don’t it shouldn’t matter that much to you. If you are in it for the love of the music you will keep going even if you have to hold down a daytime job as well. If you are in it for the fame and fortune you are a fool.
So let’s look at those magic abilities in more detail:
Singer. This is the probably the most important one. Can you sing? Even if you can hold a tune, does your voice have a quality that will make others want to listen to it? Millions of people can sing, so what makes your voice different or unique? If you have a special voice it could take you a long way, but it won’t harm your chances to tick some of the other boxes.
Musician. Can you play an instrument? Competently? If you can reach a certain level, particularly with piano or guitar, it will make it so much easier for you to tick the composer box as well. If you can sing well then even a modest ability with an instrument will give you options. If you can play a few chords on a guitar then you can busk on street corners. That’s not so easy if you just sing.
Performer. Not to be confused with singer. I can sing like Bruce Springsteen in the shower. What I certainly could not do is go on a stage and hold 50,000 people in the palm of my hand for four hours. Can you learn to be a natural performer or is it something you are born to? I don’t know. It requires confidence and charisma, and yet some of the most outgoing performers you see are painfully shy if you meet them one to one. It is almost as if there is a split personality - the moment they step on to a stage a switch flips inside them and the other persona takes over. And charisma is a powerful weapon that can cover a multitude of sins if you are not actually a great singer.
Composer. For me, this is the big one. It is amazing how many people get by in the music industry performing songs that other people have written for them. The real magic happens when an artist performs a song they have written themselves. It is only then that they are communicating directly with you. The words and music you hear were produced from their minds and they are giving you a privileged insight into their thoughts. It creates a special connection between artist and audience. A talented interpreter of a song can almost make it their own but there’s nothing quite like the real thing.
Lyricist. Ah yes, words. To me, this would appear to be the easiest of the five by a mile and it never ceases to amaze me when I hear of top artists who struggle to add a few words to their musical masterpieces. It is the one area where Katie doesn’t seem to trust herself entirely yet, though I don’t know why. I’ve always liked her lyrics but I suppose being around the clever wordplay of someone like Mike Batt may have made her feel a little inadequate. They may have different styles but Katie communicates just as effectively.
If, unlike yours truly, you can lay claim to more than one of those abilities then there’s no reason why music shouldn’t play a major role in your life as long as you are willing to work hard. If you can do all five — if you have the package — then you will still need to work hard, but if you do then you could become someone very special indeed. When Mike Batt saw Katie perform her song Faraway Voice all those years ago he identified the package right away. He was right. She turned out okay!
14.02.19 > Under The Cherry Moon update
I received confirmation from Mike Batt that Katie did indeed record the Prince track "Under The Cherry Moon". This song is listed as a bonus track on the iTunes version of Pictures but the link doesn't work. Instead, you get "Somewhere In The Same Hotel". Since this track hasn't been released anywhere else there is no way for fans to get to hear it, in the UK at least — maybe the US iTunes store has the correct link but I have no way to tell. Perhaps one day it will get included on another compilation album. That is unless Apple ever get around to correcting the mistake. I wouldn't hold your breath on that happening though.
13.02.19 > Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2019
Katie has been announced as a performer at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival (May 1st - 6th). She will perform at the Henry Westons Big Top on Monday 6th May. Tickets go on sale early March. https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz/whats-on/2019/katie-melua/
13.02.19 > If You Are So Beautiful თუ ასე ტურფა იყავი
On the subject of lyrics, I now have a translation of the gorgeous Georgian song "If You Are So Beautiful" from the In Winter album. I've added it to the Lyrics section, obvs, but can't help sharing it with you right here, right now...
If you are so beautiful
თუ ასე ტურფა იყავი
Tu ase t'urpa iqavi
13.02.19 > Kozmic Blues
I have now added lyrics for Kozmic Blues to the site. This is the version that Katie performs on the Live at the O2 Arena album, a slightly rearranged and modified version of the Janis Joplin original.
12.02.19 > Track Notes 40: I'd Love To Kill You
11.02.19 > One that got away?
I found this Georgian folk song called 'Winter'. No idea how the tune goes, but it seems like one that might have got away from In Winter...
ზამთარი ვარდსა დააჭკნობს
ლამაზსა ქალის თვალთაგან
Winter is withering the rose,
The petals have fallen.
From the eyes of a beautiful woman,
Tears will fall.
Let peace reign there!
10.02.19 > Could a computer write a song?
No. Next question. Oh, all right then, let’s think about it a bit more. After all, AI is advancing all the time. Surely if a computer can drive a car then it can write a song. There are already examples of computer-generated art and literature. Well, for a start, I for one won’t be getting in a driverless car any time soon. Even my ‘state-of-the-art’ MacBook Pro goes all screwy on me and hangs once in a while. I don’t want to be inside a car travelling at 70mph on the motorway that is being controlled completely by a box of electronics that is capable of throwing a hissy fit at any moment and really couldn’t give a chocolate disk drive about the safety of its human passengers anyway. As for the art and literature, it’s pretty rubbish if we’re honest.
Music though? There’s only seven notes for god’s sake, how hard can it be? I mean, if Deep Blue can beat Gary Kasparov at chess…. The thing is, Deep Blue won by sheer brute force. It could analyse millions of potential moves and calculate the probability of which of them would give it the best chance of victory. No human could ever hope to match such calculating power. But that is all it was - programmed algorithms working at high speed to process masses of data. It wasn’t thinking. It never out-thought or outwitted Kasparov. It simply possessed a skill that gave it an unfair advantage. Furthermore, Kasparov’s mental faculties were disturbed by the performance of the computer whereas Deep Blue remained unhindered by emotion and applied nothing but pure logic to its task.
Therein lies the crux of this matter. Emotion. Technically, yes, a computer could write a song. You could program it with the rules of music and it could hammer away at all the permutations of notes until something resembling a tune popped out. But that is only half the story. Could it add the lyrics? Again, AI could potentially accomplish such a task. It could trawl through all the songs of Dylan, Springsteen, Young, Bacharach etc. and try to analyse them in its own logical way. I’d actually like to see the results of that; could be a lot of fun. I doubt if it would be very good though.
Songs are uniquely human things. They are born of the way we as people experience the world - happiness, joy, love, pain, sorrow, loss, anger, rage, humiliation, desperation. We feel such a wide range of emotions. We can look outside the window and be moved by a cloud formation or the last leaf clinging on to the branch of a tree. It is impossible for a machine to ever see the world the way we do. Which means it can never write a song the way we do. How can a computer capture the feeling of longing, unrequited love, loneliness. How can it know the feeling of loving someone so much it hurts? Our feelings can be affected by hormonal changes or chemical reactions - these are things that the computer can have no concept of either. And I haven’t even felt the need to bring humour into the equation. Except, I just did. But you get the point. If the day ever comes that a computer can write a song that truly moves us then we are all doomed and I can only hope that by that point we have learned how to clone Arnie. I for one am not expecting to hear Katie singing Deep Blue covers any time soon.
09.02.19 > Katie Bite: Pictures On A Video Screen
08.02.19 > In Winter notes
If you love the design of the album cover for In Winter then you might like these. Print them out, cut them up and you can write IW themed notes!
They are separate images. Click on them to enlarge and right-click to save.
07.02.19 > Throwback Thursday
To 14th July 2018 - The day when Katie decided she needed to create the Ultimate Collection after attending an event at the Georgian School in London.
06.02.19 > Reasons to be hopeful for a new album in 2019 🎤🎸💿
Since her debut album, Call Off The Search, in 2003, Katie has never gone more than 3 years without releasing a new album. In Winter was released in 2016. (Ultimate Collection is a compilation so doesn't count!). And we know she was working on new songs as far back as last spring. Indeed, on this very day last year I talked about this following a little teaser post by Katie on Instagram! So this could be another exciting year for Ketefans. Maybe around September time? 🤞🙏
05.02.19 > Lyric card: Dirty Dice
04.02.19 > Track Notes 39: In My Secret Life
In My Secret Life
Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson
This song first appeared on Leonard Cohen's 2001 album Ten New Songs, and was also covered by Eric Burdon (The Animals) on his 2004 album My Secret Life
03.02.19 > Katie Bite: Stardust
02.02.19 > Multi-talented 👩🎓
01.02.19 > More reasons to love Georgia
If Katie isn't enough to make you fall in love with Georgia there are plenty of other reasons. For a start, there is scenery to *die* for. It is an incredible place for trekking - check out https://www.caucasus-trekking.com/
Then there is the food. And the wine. Basically, they had me at 'khachapuri'...