Katie Melua – Piece By Piece (2005)

FrontCover1Ketevan “Katie” Melua (born 16 September 1984) is a British-Georgian singer and songwriter. She moved to the United Kingdom at the age of eight – first to Belfast and then to London in 1999. Melua is signed to the small Dramatico record label, under the management of composer Mike Batt, and made her musical debut in 2003. In 2006, she was the United Kingdom’s best-selling female artist and Europe’s highest selling European female artist.

In November 2003, at the age of nineteen, Melua released her first album, Call Off the Search, which reached the top of the United Kingdom album charts and sold 1.8 million copies in its first five months of release.

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Her second album, Piece by Piece, was released in September 2005 and to date has gone platinum (one million units sold) four times. Melua released her third studio album Pictures in October 2007.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2008, Melua had a fortune of £18 million, making her the seventh richest British musician under thirty.

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Piece by Piece is the second studio album by British-Georgian jazz and blues singer Katie Melua. It was released on 26 September 2005 by Dramatico Records. In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at #1 with 120,459 copies sold in its first week.

Its first single, Mike Batt’s song “Nine Million Bicycles”, became Melua’s first top five hit in the UK and caused controversy when science writer Simon Singh said the lyrics “demonstrates a deep ignorance of cosmology and no understanding of the scientific method”. After an amusing and good-natured debate in the Press Melua eventually recorded Singh’s version, which both agreed was scientifically accurate and musically pathetic.

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The second single was a double A-side comprising “I Cried for You” and a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”. The former song was written after Melua met the writer of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and is about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, while the latter was recorded for the soundtrack to the film Just Like Heaven. The single peaked outside the UK top twenty, and the album’s third single, “Spider’s Web” (which Melua wrote when she was eighteen, during the Iraq War) did not reach the top forty.

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Melua wrote the title song “Piece By Piece” after she broke up with her boyfriend Luke Pritchard, and “Half Way up the Hindu Kush” was written by Katie and Mike Batt playing on the unusualness of the title phrase, which cropped up in a conversation about scarves on a train journey. Alongside covers of “Blues in the Night” and Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again”, the album includes “Thank you, Stars”, which was previously released as a B-side on Melua’s debut single “The Closest Thing To Crazy” in 2003.

The album was re-released in 2006, as Piece by Piece: Special Bonus Edition, with three additional tracks and a bonus DVD with concert Moment by Moment and promo videos. (wikipedia)

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Georgia-born (as in the country, not the state) singer/songwriter Katie Melua found herself atop the British charts in 2003 with her breezy debut, Call Off the Search, which sold over three million copies in Europe alone. Her laid-back blend of blues, jazz, and pop with a kiss of worldbeat drew comparisons to Norah Jones, and rightfully so. She sticks to the formula on her lush, ultimately safe follow-up, Piece by Piece. This is Coldplay for the Diana Krall crowd, a perfectly rendered slice of adult contemporary pie for a lazy summer day delivered by an artist whose beautiful voice is almost striking in how unremarkable it is. Her longtime collaborator, producer/songwriter Mike Batt, provides the catchiest number, an odd and endearing little confection called “Nine Million Bicycles.”

Singles

It’s both silly and sweet, two things that work in Melua’s favor. Sure, she can vamp it up with the best of them on bluesy asides like “Shy Boy” and the dreadful “Blues in the Night,” but there’s a whole lot of innocence in that voice that just shrivels in the midst of all that bravado. Only in her early twenties, Melua’s got plenty of time to decide on a persona, and Piece by Piece has enough quality material on it to placate fans until she does, but there’s some tension here, and it doesn’t sound intentional. Besides, anyone who covers Canned Heat and the Cure on the same record is still trying to figure it all out. (by James Christopher Monger)

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Personnel:
Jim Cregan (guitar)
Mike Darcy (violin)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Dominic Glover (trumpet)
Tim Harries (bass)
Chris Karan (percussion)
Katie Melua (vocals, guitar)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
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Mike Batt (piano on 12.)
Adrian Brett (flute on 02.)
Paul Jones (harmonica on 05.)
Peter Knight (mandolin on 09.)
Craig Pruess (sitar on 04.)
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The Irish Film Orchestra conducted by Mike Batt

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Tracklist:
01. Shy Boy (Batt) 3.28
02. Nine Million Bicycles (Batt) 3.15
03. Piece By Piece (Melua) 3.24
04. Halfway Up The Hindu Kush (Melua/Batt) 3.06
05. Blues In The Night (Arlen/Mercer) 4.12
06.Spider’s Web (Melua) 3.57
07. Blue Shoes (Batt) 4.39
08. On The Road Again (Jones/Wilson) 4.38
09. Thankyou, Stars (Batt) 3.39
10. Just Like Heaven (Gallup/Smith) 3.35
11. I Cried For You (Mary’s Song) (Melua) 3.38
12. I Do Believe In Love (Melua) 3.00CD1

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More from Katie Melua:
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The official website:
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