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Gulfnews, 16/11/14

Say you’ve just found out there’s a spider living in your ear. What would you do? Katie Melua found that out recently, and here’s what she did next: Went shopping.
At Selfridges, no less.
Then again, she had two hours to wait until she could free the tiny creature — which she suspects had crawled in a week before via some earbuds she wore on a flight.
“I wasn’t really terrified, because I was petrified that something was going on with my hearing, which would have been devastating. Then I was amused when I found out what it was. It actually wasn’t much hassle apart from the noises. The funny thing is, I had to wait two hours between finding out what it was and having it taken out. James was with me and he was freaked out, he doesn’t really like spiders. I don’t really mind spiders. I’ve got a thing about frogs.
“So we were like, right, what are we going to do? I had to go pick some stuff up at Selfridges, and he was just staring at me while I was discussing shampoos and conditioners. Then we got it out and it was fantastic because I could hear immediately.”
Hearing loss would have been crippling for the singer, who found global fame with her 2005 album Piece by Piece, and now has six studio albums under her belt. Next up for her is a greatest hits album.
tabloid! spoke to Melua on the rooftop of the newly opened Le Meridien Royal Club on the evening of November 15, just before she performed a private concert for Starwood hotel’s loyalty programme, SPG, and their highest earners — people who rack up hundreds of hotel nights a year.
Frequent traveler Melua can count herself among their ranks.
“I’ve grown up in hotels. The airport is my office,” said the 30-year-old, who emigrated from Georgia aged eight. “I do bring my own throw with me, because that is my consistency. It’s this gorgeous throw that my mum got me last Christmas. It’s cashmere, super-luxurious but I always travel with it because it makes everywhere feel like home.”
Excerpts from the interview:
What are you working on right now?
I was in London, in the studio working on some bonus tracks for my greatest hits release. I was quite busy doing that, then for another project that I am doing next year that I can’t really talk about yet because it’s completely strange and always going left to right, left to right.
How did you approach the greatest hits?
It’s quite an odd concept. Last year, I realised it’s been six albums, which is probably over 150 songs. To pick the best ones is tricky. But there are highlights from the albums, and they do tend to follow what I do live — the ones that are still exciting you and still feeling fresh. Also you pick the songs that… seem really of that time. For example, there’s songs from my first album such as Mockingbird Song, that seems like such an 18-year-old girl singing — really not caring about the fact that she’s just taken on a giant jazz-blues standard, just singing her heart out. And even though it’s not perfect, and it’s not that great, I like the fact that you can hear that it’s a kid singing.
Does it take you back into that 18-year-old girl’s mind?
It’s a strange sensation. I don’t feel like I actually remember what it was like. You look back at it from the perspective of now, like “wow”, what was I thinking?
So there’s new music on the way?
You always work on new music. My biggest thing is getting inside the guitar. Up until the start of this year, I bluffed it at the guitar, I really did. I’ve been able to get away with performing with very, very simple pared-back guitar work in accompaniment to my music, because really I am a singer and I want to write songs, and the level I play the guitar at, it’s enough. But at the start of this year, we did a Simplified tour, which was really paring back the band. I was the main guitarist, so I had to really spend a lot of time figuring [it] out. I am not suddenly going to become Eric Clapton, but I have to make what I do… do really well.
Tell us about the Dubai show.
This gig is going to be like the Simplified tour, which is probably one of my favourite tours. There’s so much space and you have to be so on it in every single song, you can’t hide behind anything. The songs really have to be very special. That’s why I’ve chosen classics in the set, like Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon. I mean, I am still trying to make classics myself, but I’m a young kid. I’ve got a long way to go.
Katie Melua’s guide to visiting Georgia
The singer may have left her native land aged eight, but she visits every year that she can. So we asked her for her highlights for a Georgian holiday.
“You have to try the hachapuri. The other thing I would highly recommend is Georgian dancing, the guys do knife dancing, and create sparks, and the women float. They have these long gowns, and they way they float, they look like ghostly creatures. It’s beautiful. I’d also recommend the folk music. Usually the dance shows have Georgian traditional music. Then I would say get out of the city, hire a car, find a local -— essential to have a local to take you to the most beautiful nature views. I highly recommend wild swimming, although Georgians won’t recommend it because they get worried about foreigners being too prim and proper and health and safety.”

Source : http://gulfnews.com/arts-entertainment/celebrity/katie-melua-stops-off-in-dubai-1.1413156