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January 2022 Archive
23.01.22 > Katie Bite: Maybe I Dreamt It
17.01.22 > The Detail - Episode 10
"For our final episode of Season 1 we speak with BBC radiophonic workshop composer Elizabeth Parker about working at the legendary music studios. Composing for radio and television. Witnessing the birth of electronic music. Working with some of the earliest synthesizers. Conversations with Delia Derbyshire. The realities of being a working mum and supporting women in the music industry. "
15.01.22 > Katie Returns To BBC Radio 2 Piano Room
This February, Katie will be returning to the renowned Piano Room at BBC Radio 2. Back in 2017, she performed "Fields Of Gold" and "Nine Million Bicycles" there and they were two of the best performances the room has seen–yes, I know I'm bound to say that but it is a view expressed by considerably less biased observers as well. What will she perform this time? You'll have to wait and see but if you want to be amongst the first to know then you'll need to tune in to the Ken Bruce show on Friday 4th February.
14.01.22 > Katie at Uni!
Katie is joining TORCH. No, sadly it isn't a new top secret Marvel agency like SHIELD. The Oxford Research Centre In The Humanities will be welcoming Katie as a Humanities Cultural Programme Visiting Fellow. For she's a jolly good fellow. Anyway, no point me trying to explain it all when you can read the statement for yourself:
Click the pic to go to the TORCH website.
11.01.22 > The Detail - Episode 9
"Polly Scattergood and Katie Melua talk to Musician and Songwriter Nerina Pallot about the effects of the muse.
A very honest conversation about where inspiration comes from. The mechanics of commerce and how it makes you feel a writer. What the muse is to a woman and what it is to a man..?
Who are the muses in our own lives, Hiding behind the muse to deflect what songs are really about and of course working with Kylie Minogue."
07.01.22 > The Vinyl Revival
Only 14 million CDs were sold in the UK in 2021, the lowest figure in Katie’s lifetime. Yet vinyl sales topped 5 million for thr first time since 1991. It now seems a very real possibility that at some point in the next few years, vinyl could actually outsell compact discs again. That is a miraculous turnaround for a format that at one point became virtually extinct. Now, the demand for vinyl outweighs the supply by two to one as production plants were simply not geared up for the scale of the revival. Without the production bottleneck sales might have been even closer to the ailing CD.
What is going on here? Why is this happening? How can a hundred-year-old format drag itself off the floor and start punching above its weight? After all, it is bulky, limited to 23 minutes per side and prone to all manner of pops, clicks and imperfections. Well, despite its shortcomings it does have a couple of major things in its favour. First of all, the sound, despite any imperfections, is true. As primitive as a needle in the groove sounds, it is analogue–a faithful reproduction of the original recording as compared to the digital solution of taking thousands of momentary snapshots, or samples, and gluing them all together. The theory was that if you had a high enough sample rate then digital should be virtually lossless. And yet many people who have listened to albums in both formats will tell you that vinyl simply sounds better. Something definitely does get lost, even if it is just the soul of the sound.
It isn’t only vinyl that refuses to die. People continue to prefer books to eBooks against the odds. Modern displays on phones and tablets as well as the ability to store thousands of books on a single device should have sounded a death knell for the heavy and bulky paper format but it just isn’t happening. Reading books and listening to vinyl records are both processes that resonate deeply within us–they are tactile, sensual experiences. The look, the feel, the smell and indeed the almost ritualistic experience of interacting with the physical object provides a kind of spiritual sensation that a digital book or music file can never replicate. The fact that many eBook reader apps have an animated simulation of page-turning (or skeuomorphic interface, if you want to show off) shows just how important that process is and yet in doing so they highlight how inferior the electronic experience is since a swipe of the finger on glass is far less tactile than the feel of paper between your fingertips. Books and vinyl are here to stay not because they are more convenient but rather because they are intensely more satisfying than their digital counterparts.
04.01.22 > The Detail - Episode 8
"Polly Scattergood and Katie Melua speak with inspiring Ivor Novello award winning composer musician/actor Simon Fisher Turner about Aesthetic style and judgement, Looking for authenticity, Not stepping on other people’s feet politically and geographically, Creating something moving and fresh, Securing a record deal by becoming two fictional french girls, Meeting and working with film director Derek Jarman, Artist’s observation of the world, Being married to a fellow creative and balancing family life."
02.01.22 > Review of 2021
How to sum up 2021 then? A frustrating year? Well it certainly wasn’t great, but it did have its moments. In fact, like most years, there were ups and downs. Probably the biggest down was the fact it was another year gone by with Katie not touring. I’m notoriously rubbish at gazing into crystal balls but I’m not sure you even need one to see that 2022 will likely do no better as the year begins with covid still spreading like wildfire. The problem is that planning a European tour is such a massive logistical undertaking that it needs to be done well in advance so that all the desired venues can be accommodated, but until there is some degree of certainty over the status of covid restrictions across Europe then it is difficult to even begin that planning. Typically, tickets for a tour go on sale late autumn for a tour the following autumn/winter. So even if it is deemed safe to start planning a tour later this year, the tour itself would take place in the second half of 2023. So we could be looking at between 18 months and 2 years before seeing Katie touring again. But before you get too depressed, there will likely be a number of one-off gigs and festival appearances dotted around in 2022. And potentially a new album, just to end this introduction on a bit of a high.
In January 2021 I took a decision regarding AllAboutKatie. For over three years I had made daily posts apart form a couple of small blips due to illness. That was possible mainly because of covering Katie’s extensive back catalogue. But by the end of 2020 we were pretty much up to date so new content was going to rely on either new music from Katie, news about her, or my own writing content. When I returned to full time work in early January, I decided to stop posting every day, just for the sake of it, and post only when there was something (arguably) worth posting. My aim was to make at least one post a week but I wasn’t committing myself to that–I would just see how it went. As is always the case in the early weeks of the year, Katie was flying under the radar and there was little news to report. But I’m a writer and I have lots of ideas. Some are good, most are rubbish. One day early in January, I had a good one. I’d used Katie as a role model for a character in my writing before but this time I was going to turn her squeaky-clean image on its head! I’d been thinking about the frankly ludicrous theory in which there are an infinite number of parallel universes and anything you can think of will happen in one of them. Since the only side of Katie we get to see is the side she wants us to see, I imagined a parallel universe where behind that pretty face and gorgeous voice there was a right monkey of a girl. A mischievous, Minnie the Minx type of character constantly plotting, scheming and generally causing trouble. My instant thought was to call her Bad Katie. And the moment I did that, she appeared in my head as if she was a real person I’d met. That happens with all the best characters and I knew I was going to have a lot of fun with her. I started with a silly title, “The Fish Song”, and just started writing. The episode poured out as though Bad Katie were writing it herself, channelling through my fingers on the keyboard. It was done in about an hour. On the 17th January, I posted it on AAK. I was a little concerned that calling her Bad Katie would seem to some fans as though I was having a dig at her in some way. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth–you don’t invest nearly five years of your life (and a fair amount of money) into a web site about someone unless you have nothing but respect and admiration for them. But humour is in my DNA and I was careful to stress that Bad Katie isn’t our Katie but a version of Katie in another universe. That holds true for all the characters in the stories–no fun is made of people in the real world, only in the alternate one.
Bad Katie has been well-received. People have enjoyed it who don’t particularly know much about the real Katie but obviously it is so much more fun for those that do. Much of the humour lies in the fact that Bad Katie gets up to so many things, and says so many things, that seem so utterly at odds with the Katie we know and love that you can’t help musing “what if she was like that”. Episode 2 was posted just four days later and I quickly decided she was so much fun to write I wanted to post weekly episodes for as long as I could. It would turn out to be 4 months before I decided to give her, and myself, a break.
Three weeks into January, Katie posted a video on Instagram of her playing from home, a gorgeous rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice”. After two more episodes of Bad Katie, the month ended with Katie treating us to another delightful home performance and another Dylan song, “Girl From The North Country”.
February brought another 4 episodes of Bad Katie and another home performance from Katie, this time it was The Beatles’ “Blackbird”. If you missed any of these little video gems you can find them by delving into the archives of AllAboutKatie, which are always available at the bottom of the home page.
Katie got March off to a cracking start for us with a home video of her performing “Althea” by The Grateful Dead. Indeed. Later in the month she treated us to a performance of Donovan’s “Deep Peace”. Katie is like a box of chocolates–you never know what you’re going to get. Meanwhile, Bad Katie had another 4 adventures during the month.
April was a quiet month in Katieland with nothing to report from the lady herself other than a gig alert on the last day of the month. There were 3 more tales from BadKatieland. She disappeared for a well-earned holiday after that but promised me she’d return later in the year…
May and June were a little frustrating, with some tour dates being announced in Germany and others having to be put back to 2022 due to the persistent covid issues. There was also news of an acoustic gig on the Isle of Wight in July. There was little else happening.
During July and August we were treated to a couple more of Katie’s home performances and she actually got to perform in front of a crowd at last for the Robin Hill Woodland Sessions on the Isle of Wight in July. In August, a limited edition of Ultimate Collection was announced on silver vinyl.
In September, Katie managed to play a couple of gigs in Germany, which was amazing for all concerned, and she also teased us about an upcoming announcement with her friend Polly Scattergood. That would turn out to be “The Detail” podcast.
Early October saw Katie moving into a new studio, where, hopefully, amazing new things will happen. But the big news really was the announcement of a new album, or at least a re-imagined one, in the form of Acoustic Album No. 8. This was exciting news indeed for anyone that had heard her perform some of those tracks from home. It was also revealed that Katie was in the all time top 30 female artists album chart, with Call Off The Search hitting number 25, one place above Eva Cassidy’s Songbird. At the end of the month we were treated to some live performances as part of the Other Voices live event from the Irish Embassy in London. Katie was accompanied by her brother Zurab and violinist Simon Goff. October also saw the return of Bad Katie, raring to go with some new adventures.
November was an eventful month. Katie and Polly launched their podcast “The Detail”, with weekly instalments every Monday. Even better news was the release of Acoustic Album No. 8, which was even better than we’d dared hope and for some better than the studio version, which is saying something.
December saw more episodes of “The Detail” and one or two live performances from Katie as she promoted the new album in Germany. Finally, to close the year out, there was a Christmas Special adventure for Bad Katie.
All in all, a fairly eventful beginning and end to the year with some rather quiet summer months sandwiched in the middle. Right then, let’s see what 2022 has to offer…
01.01.22 > Happy New Year!