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Ketevan "Katie" Melua (Georgian:  born 16 September 1984) is a Georgian singer, songwriter and musician. She moved to Northern Ireland at the age of eight and then to England at fourteen. 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 bestselling female artist and Europe's highest selling European female artist.katie melua

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. Her second album, Piece by Piece, was released in September 2005 and to date has gone platinum four times. Melua released her third studio album Pictures in October 2007, which was the last of her albums to be made in collaboration with Mike Batt.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2008, Melua has a fortune of £18 million, making her the seventh richest British musician under thirty. It was reported in 2009 that she had lost almost half of her fortune as a result of the global economic downturn.

Life and career

Early life
Ketevan Melua, known as Ketino to her family, was born to Amiran and Tamara Melua in Kutaisi, Georgia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. She spent her first years with her grandparents in Tbilisi before moving with her parents and brother to the town of Batumi, Ajaria where her father worked as a heart specialist. During this time Melua sometimes had to carry buckets of water up five flights of stairs to her family's flat and according to her, "Now, when I'm staying in luxurious hotels, I think back to those days".

In 1993, in the aftermath of the Georgian Civil War, the family moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where her father took up a position at the prestigious Royal Victoria Hospital. The family remained in Belfast, living close to Falls Road, until Melua was thirteen. During her time in Northern Ireland, Melua attended St. Catherine's Primary School on the Falls Road and later moved to Dominican College, Fortwilliam. The Melua family then moved to Sutton, London, and some time later moved again to Redhill, Surrey. In 2008 Melua moved out of her parents' home in Maida Vale to an apartment in Notting Hill where she transformed the spare bedroom into a recording studio. Melua speaks Georgian, Russian and English and is partly of Canadian and Russian ancestry.

During the South Ossetia War in 2008, Melua's brother and mother were staying with relatives in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Melua was due to travel to Georgia herself less than a month later.

First television appearance
Due to her upbringing in politically unstable Georgia and troubled Belfast, Melua initially planned to become either a historian or a politician. This changed in 2000, at the age of fifteen, when Melua took part in a talent competition on British television channel ITV called "Stars Up Their Noses" (a spoof of Stars in Their Eyes) as part of the children's programme Mad for It!. Melua won the contest by singing Badfinger's "Without You". The prize was £350 worth of MFI vouchers, with which she bought a chair for her father. Had she lost the contest, she would have been gunged.

Education and religion
Although she is a baptized Orthodox Christian, whilst living in Belfast, Melua attended the Roman Catholic schools St Catherine's Primary School and Dominican College, Fortwilliam, while her younger brother attended Protestant schools. After completing her GCSEs at the all-girls' grammar school Nonsuch High School in Cheam, Sutton, Melua attended the BRIT School for the Performing Arts in the London Borough of Croydon, undertaking a BTEC with an A-level in music. When studying at the school, Melua began to write songs and met her future manager and producer, Mike Batt.

Melua didn't attend University, though she has often stated her desire to do so, saying that English literature, history and physics would be her courses of choice should she get the chance to go to University.

Personal life
Melua met Luke Pritchard, lead singer of The Kooks, when they were both studying at the BRIT School where they began dating. Melua and Pritchard rarely speak of the relationship, but what is known is that the couple dated for three years. However, as Melua became more successful, the relationship came into difficulties and they split up in March 2005.

In late 2006 is was reported that Melua was in a close relationship with photographer Lara Bloom.[29][30] In an interview in May 2010, she spoke about speculation surrounding the relationship with Bloom, saying "I can tell you that I'm single, which is not lovely, but it is what it is. I really don't think whether you are gay or not is The Whole identity of a person. It's just one side; it doesnít have to be the thing that defines you. We live in the 21st century: questions of sexuality are not outdated, but I don't think the lines are very clear and they are not always clear to me."

Melua is occasionally referred to as an 'adrenaline junkie' because she enjoys roller coasters and fun fairs and often paraglides and hang glides. She has skydived four times and taken several flying lessons, and in 2004 she was lowered from a 200 metre building in New Zealand at 60 mph. When asked about Melua being an 'adrenaline junkie', Mike Batt said, "she enjoys extremes, but in life her emotions are always in check." In November 2009, Melua came near to drowning after she breathed in and choked on a lungful of water when diving in a lake near Heathrow Airport.

In September 2010, Melua was ordered by her doctors to stop working for a few months after suffering from 'exhaustion'. All touring and promotional activities were postponed as a result.

[edit]Nationality
On 10 August 2005, Melua became a British citizen with her parents and brother. The citizenship ceremony took place in Weybridge, Surrey. On gaining British nationality, Melua was eligible for a British passport. Becoming a British citizen meant that Melua had held three citizenships before she was 21; first Soviet, then Georgian and finally British. After the ceremony, Melua stated her pride at her newest nationality. "As a family, we have been very fortunate to find a happy lifestyle in this country and we feel we belong. We still consider ourselves to be Georgian, because that is where our roots are, and I return to Georgia every year to see my uncles and grandparents, but I am proud to now be a British citizen."

Mike Batt
It was when performing at a Brit School showcase that Melua caught the eye of Mike Batt, an English songwriter and producer who was originally looking for an acid-rock band, bass player and a singer capable of singing "jazz and blues in an interesting way". After hearing Melua sing "Faraway Voice" (a song she wrote about the death of her idol Eva Cassidy) Batt signed the 18 year-old Melua to his small Dramatico recording and management company and sent her into the studio.

William Orbit
For her album The House (2010) she worked with producer William Orbit. She said about the experience: ďThe Whole thing has been really exciting. It was the same feeling I had the first time I went skydiving. I was really quite nervous, but I knew all I had to do was let myself go and it was going to feel amazing. I wasnít trying to get away from anything. It was more about going towards something. I wanted the music to be inspired by the future, something unknown thatís never been heard before, but at the same time hold on to the values of the music of the past, to try and tap into something thatís so ancient and old that its kind of forgotten. I thought that, if we went far enough in both directions, we could end up in the same place.Ē