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Interview: Katie Melua Talks About the US Release of Her Third Album, 'Pictures'

Katie Melua
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UK-based singer/songwriter Katie Melua has sold more than 10 million records, performed for the Queen and headlined at Wembley Arena. Even though she can sell out larger venues, Melua still enjoys playing more intimate spaces. Tonight, a lucky few will have the opportunity to hear her play a set at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood.

Melua's current tour coincides with the US release of her studio third album, Pictures, which mixes jazz, folk and pop influences. LAist recently spoke with Melua to learn about her childhood in the country of Georgia, the new album and her favorite roller coaster in Southern California.

Many people write their first songs on a guitar or piano, but is it true that you wrote your first songs on a computer?

I did, and it was so bizarre! I couldn't really play the guitar or the piano, but I knew I wanted to write songs. I used the computer to help me program keyboards and get a backing track going before writing a song on it. But I ended up spending all of my time on the backing track. Then I realized that the kind of music I love, the singer/songwriter stuff of Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Nick Drake, was more acoustic-based and focused more on the melody and lyrics. So I knew I had to switch to a guitar or the piano, and that was good because then I could really concentrate on those aspects.