Katie Melua on re-inventing herself as a musician following the release of Nine Million Bicycles.

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Katie Melua on re-inventing herself as a musician following the release of Nine Million Bicycles.

ARTISTS who achieve phenomenal success early in their careers may find it difficult to shake the shadow of a signature hit song.

Katie Melua, whose first seven albums sold more than 11 million copies, has two songs that have stood the test of time: Nine Million Bicycles and The Closest Thing to Crazy.

Mike Batt, the songwriter for the Wombles, discovered Katie, then 19 years old, at the world-famous Brit School in London and turned her into a global star.

She has eight UK top ten albums under her belt and has performed for everyone from the Queen to the late Nelson Mandela, as well as supporting her childhood heroes Queen.

However, her name is usually mentioned in the same breath as Nine Million Bicycles, which was released 16 years ago.

Does she mind?

“You know, I live where I live because of that song,” Katie says over Zoom, gesturing to the opulent west London home behind her.

“I can’t deny that I was able to purchase a home for my parents in Paddington.”

Katie, the daughter of a heart surgeon, was Europe’s best-selling female artist in 2006, and her net worth was estimated at £18 million in 2008.

That’s quite a feat for an eight-year-old Georgian girl who struggled to communicate in English after her family moved to the United Kingdom.

Katie appears more down-to-earth than most high-profile music stars, despite her opulent residence.

She’s wearing a plain white sweatshirt and has soft curls below her chin. She appears relaxed, even happy.

The reasons for this are quickly revealed.

Album No. 1 is the first.

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When it was released in October of last year, it was a languid, sultry record infused with ethereal strings that earned her the best reviews of her career.

She’ll release an acoustic version next Friday, inspired by that “love and respect.”

“I didn’t want it to be just a pandemic record, so I wondered what else we could do to keep it alive,” she says.

“Those are songs I’m proud of, so an acoustic rendition seemed appropriate.”

This time, the lead track is a stripped-down reworking of Remind Me To Forget about how nature can aid in the healing of a broken heart.

Katie’s eight-year marriage to World Superbike racer James Toseland came to an end last year.

Following their breakup, she began writing the lyrics while driving to a recording studio with two of her friends in November.

“Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”

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