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February 2018 Archive
28.02.18 > Katie's Instagram story from Sweden
27.02.18 > Should Katie do an album of covers?
No. Not yet. She seems to get asked this a lot. I love her cover versions, she's an incredible interpreter and always brings something fresh to the songs she covers but personally I think she should hold back on the idea of an album for the time being. For one thing, she is still evolving as an artist and beginning to explore new pathways after parting with Dramatico. I can't wait to see where those pathways lead her (and us). Furthermore, she has suggested that she will probably have children at some point. Should that happen it would be natural for her priorities to change. I imagine she'd be an amazing mother but her current children - all her doting fans - might get left in the cold for a few years :-( That's when an album of covers could work. If she became pregnant she could quickly compile a list of twenty or thirty songs she'd like to cover, pop into the studio and crank them out in a couple of months. That would give her a couple of albums worth of material to release over the following four or five years. By the time the child ( or children - she could have triplets!) was ready to start school, Katie might be able to think about writing songs again, assuming motherhood hasn't permanently deflected her focus (unlikely - I think she loves performing too much!). But we could reasonably expect something like an eight-year gap in albums of her own songs, which the two volumes of covers would go some way towards plugging. If she released a covers album before then it would ruin that strategy. Katie is first and foremost a singer-songwriter and I don't think it would be a good thing for her to make too many trips to the covers well. But of course, this is all idle speculation and what Katie does next is entirely up to her. I for one will support come what may.
26.02.18 > In Winter still going strong
The Beast from the East has arrived. It seems winter has decided to go out with a bang rather than the usual whimper. For the rest of the week at least we are set to be stuck in a winter wonderland (lovely at Christmas, a real pain in March!). All of that means - don't pop In Winter back on the shelf just yet, it is still very much needed!
25.02.18 > My Top 10 Katie tracks
I like making lists like this once in a while. It is interesting to review them every few years and see what changes. But deciding on my ten favourite Katie tracks was pretty difficult. There were a few I hated leaving out. But in the end, all the ones I settled on are in there for a particular reason. Some of them affect me deeply, others I can connect with on a personal level and some are just damned good songs. The fun thing about it is knowing with almost 100% certainty that if I asked every Ketefan to do this no two lists would be the same. And if you went through all those lists you could work out the top ten most popular tracks overall - and I bet no one person would have made that exact list! One oddity about my selection is that there are no songs from "In Winter" even though that is my favourite album. That's because I like to experience the entire album as one long work and immerse myself in the atmosphere of it so I don't really focus on individual tracks. The other thing I noted was that Secret Symphony didn't get an entry either. That's not a reflection on the album, just the fact that Katie has so many great songs and ten spaces ain't a lot!
24.02.18 > Sketch effect
23.02.18 > How many bicycles exactly?
I've talked about Nine Million Bicycles before. For Katie it's the gift that keeps on biting your backside. Today I put right yet another Twitter idiot who was demanding that Katie should change the lyrics to reflect the fact that there are no longer nine million bicycles in Beijing. (Who knows that anyway? How can you actually check such a thing?) It happens with tedious regularity. And they all think they are so clever. Yawn. Never occurs to any of them to actually check if she wrote the song in the first place. Katie doesn't really do Twitter, and to be honest I can see why. She does tend to get a lot of crap in her timeline and frankly she has far better things to do with her time, such as writing the next album :-)
This guy said it keeps him awake at night that the song is incorrect. Really? Well, I added to his insomnia by pointing out that there are now 7.6 billion people in the world and we are actually 13.8 billion light years from the edge. Triple whammy. Hope he can live with the devastating truth. Seriously people, it's just a song. It is what it is. When art is created it is a snapshot of a moment in time. The world is ever-changing but it is ridiculous to expect things created in the past to be updated accordingly. Should the Mona Lisa be given a piercing or a tattoo? Should George Orwell's 1984 be retitled 2084? Indeed, will I have to dig this post out of the archive in a year or two to change 7.6 billion people to 8? No, I won't. And when Katie is sixty she'll still be telling us there are nine million bicycles in Beijing and she'll still be blowing me away with her artistry and I won't give a damn if there isn't a single bloody bicycle left in Beijing!
<END OF RANT>
22.02.18 > A Note about Instagram posts
Whenever Katie posts something on Instagram I like to share it here. One reason I do this is because not everyone has an Instagram account and I don't want them to miss what Katie is up to. Up until now I have been using a technique called embedding. This involves going to the actual post on Instagam and obtaining embed code, which you then add to your web page. This is HTML code provided by Instagram themselves and it effectively places a little mini window within your web page that contains the required post. Unfortunately, I have noticed some problems with this approach lately. There have been one or two display glitches, where the Instagram post "window" has overlapped and obscured other entries beneath it. So far, I haven't been able to find a cure for it. On top of that, the embedding technique requires this web page to go off and fetch the required post from Instagram. This takes time and causes the page to take longer to load. If there are multiple Instagram posts on the page then every single one has to be fetched, one at a time. This can cause the page to take far longer to load than is reasonable for most people.
Because of this I have decided to take a different approach to showing Katie's posts. I am now doing screen grabs of them and putting them on this page as an image. The drawback with doing it this way is that if, as is often the case, Katie puts more than one image in a post you will only get to see the first one (in an embedded post you could click an arrow to see the other images). If you click the image it will take you to the actual post on Instagram, so if you have an account you can see the rest of the images there. This is a compromise that I consider worth making because it allows this page to load much faster without you having to miss out too much on what Katie is up to. Life is full of little compromises. It is what it is.
21.02.18 > Sketch effect
20.02.18 > Katie's Instagram Posts
Two posts from Katie in quick succession this evening. Makes me think about buses for some reason...
19.02.18 > Katie back In Germany
Katie was in Germany once again on Saturday for a duet with Peter Maffay. Although she doesn't speak German she had obviously learned the song well judging by the reaction of both Peter and the audience. Seems like a lot of travelling for one duet but that's Katie for you. I don't know how she does it. She's just a force of nature I guess.
18.02.18 > A Study In Purple
17.02.18 > Katie on German TV
Here's a nice still from a performance Katie gave for German television last December.
16.02.18 > Choices, choices...
Katie just posted an instagram story. Seems she's spoilt for choice! Here's a grab of it:
15.02.18 > Katie on Instagram
14.02.18 > Valentine's Day
Have a lovely day, James and Katie. Love Is Life.
14.02.18 > Katie's Valentine message on Instagram
13.02.18 > Gig Alert from Katie on Instagram
katiemeluaofficial Iceland, the land of the midnight sun... Looking forward to going back and visiting this magical country in the Summer. I'll be playing a show with my band at #eldborg in #reykjavik on Tuesday 10th July and tickets will be going on sale on 21st February. Kx
12.02.18 > FLAC? Is it worth the effort?
I saw a Twitter post saying how amazing Katie sounded in FLAC format. The implication being it was noticeably better than simple MP3. Notwithstanding the fact that Katie sounds amazing full stop, I was sceptical about the claim and decided to give it a little test myself.
I already had a copy of "In Winter" in digital format, standard MP3 encoding. I dug out the CD and configured MusicBee to rip and encode to lossless FLAC files.
The first thing I did was compare file sizes. The entire MP3 album was 48mb. The FLAC version weighed in at 189mb. That's over three times the disk space. With over 600 albums on my hard disk, FLAC was going to have to be pretty amazing to make me switch.
Sadly, it wasn't. I listened to both albums carefully, both through speakers and headphones, and I can in all honesty say I could not detect the slightest difference. Had I noticed even a tiny improvement in the FLAC version I'd have had no hesitation in ripping all of Katie's CDs again but my conclusion was it is simply a pointless exercise. Now, I will add that this is just the opinion of me and my ears - if you have audiophile equipment and audiophile ears to match it may be worth trying the test for yourself, but I remain unconvinced. I suspect 99.99% of people can appreciate Katie's stunning voice in ordinary MP3 format. The other 0.01% can make the switch, then head to Twitter to let us all know how clever and special they are!
11.02.18 > Katie sketch effect
10.02.18 > Katie attends Poetry Evening
Katie was back in London last night to attend an evening of poetry at the Georgian Embassy. Here's a pic posted by Georgian ambassador to the UK, Tamar Beruchashvili, in which Katie appears to be rocking the elf look! I have to say, I'm not a fan of her gorgeous hair being restrained so harshly but with that beautiful face I can forgive her anything. Oh, and where's James? He seems pretty supportive usually but perhaps Georgian poetry was one step too far ;-)
10.02.18 > New ringtone guys??
Whilst on the subject of Mike's songwriting, here's a little gem from Idiot School. Delivered exquisitely by Katie. I thought it would make a nice little ring tone!
Right click --> Kick in the ... <-- and 'Save Link to' to download.
09.02.18 > From the man himself!
There was a little discussion on Twitter yesterday about "I Will Be There". Initially it was praising Mike Batt's songwriting but it soon turned in to praise for Katie's performance. Which prompted this comment from Mike...
09.02.18 > Katie on Instagram
08.02.18 > Believability of Lyrics
One of the things I love about Katie is how much she draws me into her world when she sings. She has the ability to make me believe almost every word. Almost every word. The thing is, when you listen to someone sing and watch them at the same time your brain tries to imagine them in the scene they are setting, and it doesn't always ring true. When an eighteen year old girl warbles a Sinatra standard it is frankly ludicrous (geddit?). Your brain knows that it is the song of a world-weary middle-aged man and regardless of how well the girl can sing you just can't reconcile the person you are watching with the words you are hearing.
This is one of the reasons why I like artists to perform their own songs. When they write from their own experience believability isn't an issue. It's when they voice the words of others that square pegs can get hammered into round holes.
It doesn't often happen with Katie, thankfully. But it has. The one that stops me in my tracks most of all is "My Aphrodisiac Is You". It is the line "I could go to bed in rubber gloves." Now, Katie was still a teenager when she recorded that song but even if she performed it today that line wouldn't sit right with me. It just doesn't match with her character (public character that is - for all we know she may be kinky as hell in private!) The point is, when she sings those words I don't believe them and it's like losing your phone signal in the middle of a conversation.
Another example appears in one of my favourite songs "What I Miss About You". When she sings "the way you turned the lights out when I knew you were home", I just have to shake my head. I don't mind this one so much because it is not her but her "boyfriend" that is displaying the weird behaviour. I mean, if you had a girlfriend as gorgeous as Katie would you really do something like that? It beggars belief. If it had been Katie turning out the lights and hiding it would have made more sense but most guys would chew their own arm off to be her boyfriend and I simply can't imagine anyone treating her like that. It is a stunning song and I could see someone like Alison Moyet doing a poignant version of it, but, for me at least, Katie is simply too gorgeous for me to believe she is the girl in that song. That said, she probably doesn't see herself like that at all - which is why she performs it with such conviction; she can clearly imagine being that jilted girl even if I can't! But the point is, if you're writing lyrics you should keep in mind the person that you intend to sing them, whether yourself or someone else, and imagine them performing the words - then ask yourself if they would sound convincing. If you are an artist looking to cover someone else's song then you need to be sure the song fits you. Thankfully, Katie is particularly good at that.
07.02.18 > Mars Dream
Yesterday, something astonishing happened. Elon Musk sent his old Tesla sportscar up into space on a trajectory for Mars. I've long been fascinated by the Red Planet, and often dreamed of going there. And of course, Katie is never far from my dreams either. So, my ultimate fantasy I guess would be to open the first pizzeria and American Diner on Mars, and have Katie as the first guest artist to perform to a lucky few customers as I performed dough flinging wonders in the reduced gravity atmosphere. And Musk's red Tesla, miraculously having escaped burning up in the atmosphere or being smashed to pieces on landing, would sit proudly on the roof as testimony to how bonkers human beings are. Here's an artist's impression. Well, my impression anyway...
06.02.18 > New Material
A few days ago Katie posted a brief little tease story on Instagram in which she said she was gathering together a bunch of new songs to go and run by her manager. How much are we able to read into that little nugget of information? Well, for one thing I think it reinforces my thoughts that the next album will appear mid-2019. The fact that she has enough material to present suggests that her song writing has been going pretty well but it sounded quite like a preliminary meeting, as though Katie has ideas about the album and wants to get some feedback from her manager. I'm not sure if much is cast in stone yet. If the meeting went well she'll probably have a clearer idea of where she's going with the new material and then she'll get back to the writing process. I imagine it will be summer at the earliest before she is ready to hit the studio. I think it would be quite a rush to get a new album out before the end of the year, and of course she is touring again in November and December. That would make promotion of any new album more difficult. Katie has already hinted that we may hear some new songs during the winter tour so it looks promising for a spring/summer launch next year with another tour hot on the heels. I'm looking forward to 2019!
05.02.18 > Katie On Holiday
Katie posted some Instagram stories from her break back in Georgia. Here's a screen grab of her relaxing on a beach by the Black Sea and proving what a natural beauty she is. That beach doesn't look so comfy though!
04.02.18 > Katie Bites in the Gallery
No, that isn't a sensationalist Sun headline! If you like my daily Katie Bites cards they can now all be found in the Gallery section of the site!
03.02.18 > Sketch effect
02.02.18 > Katie's Instagram - 2018 Tour edges closer
01.02.18 > More Instagram Frolics