Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Katie Melua: Putting The Pieces Together

Ketevan "Katie" Melua is Georgian, she's British, she's a singer, she's a songwriter, she's a musician, she's talented, she's gifted, she has an amazing voice and she's beautiful. If ever you've had a troubled day and you need to leave it all behind you, just grab any of Melua's albums, pop it into the CD deck, press play, pour yourself a glass of wine (or other drink of choice), sit in your favorite chair and let Melua's soothing voice wash all of your troubles away... When I listen to Melua I am immediately reminded of Dido. Her voice is particularly reminiscent of her fellow country woman. On other songs, her sound is comparable to Carly Simon, Cyndi Lauper, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. She began her career in 2003 at the age of 19 by releasing her first studio album Call Off the Search signed to the small Dramatico record under the management of Mike Batt. Batt released the album on his label since he could not attract the attention of the major record labels. The album was mainly pushed/marketed by a local radio station but many listeners were sold on the young artist and as a result, the album was a huge success for Melua reaching #1 on the UK Charts and selling over 1.8 million copies in the first five months. The first single of the album was promoted by Sir Terry Wogan, whose breakfast show on BBC Radio Two was at the time the most listened-to radio show in Europe with 9 million listeners.*As per the comment by anonymous below.* She followed up with Piece by Piece in September 2005 and this album has proven to be her biggest success to date having gone platinum (selling 1,000,000 copies) four times! In October 2007 Melua released her third album Pictures and announced that it would be her last record under the Dramatico label. Melua has reported that she needs a fresh start. Pictures sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide and over 450,000 copies in the UK alone in the first eight months became certified Platinum and was the 49th Best Selling Album in 2007. She will release a compilation album - a Best of Collection on 3 March 2009. In 2007 at the age of 23 Melua was the bestselling British female artist in the world. Sales from her first two albums alone were over 7.5 million. Her music has been described as emotionally dark, mainly poetic and sincere and falls into the pop/jazz category. The artist has a reputation for being sweet and wholesome yet has been described as an adrenaline junkie. She enjoys roller coasters, paragliding and hang gliding, she has skydived four times and has taken several flying lessons. A major highlight of her thrill seeking (risky) adventures was achieved in 2004 when she was lowered from a 200 meter building in New Zealand at 60 mph. She has also raced at 160mph around the Grand Prix circuit Silverstone. The young artist can boast of many achievements including having toured America coast to coast, she has met and played for Nelson Mandela in South Africa for his Aids charity, is a dedicated Goodwill Ambassador for Save The Children, learned to dive and parachute freefall and she earned a spot in the Guinness World Record for playing the deepest underwater concert 303 meters below sea level on Statoil's Troll A platform in the North on 2 October 2006. Her career thus far has yielded a number of various prestigious awards within Europe, including a World Music Award, a Golden Kamera Award - Pop International Solo (2006) and two German ECHO Awards - Best International Female Artist (2007) and Best International Newcomer (2005). Katie is a very humble person. She has come from a modest background and admits that she has not fully come to grips with her celebrity status. There are times when she looks around the plush hotel rooms and have a hard time grasping that she has gained such status looking back on her common background. I expect that this young superstar will continue to grow and be successful in her career. It is obvious that she is at a point in not only her career but her life as well where she needs to be in control of her own destiny. Her split from former manager Batt will allow her the time and space to reflect on exactly where she is in her life and career and to choose a path which she feels is fitting to take her to the next level. She is searching to find her own common ground and deeper creative energies. Melua is of the opinion that her best is yet to come, she has a desire to go to the next level and I wish her all the best in sorting her thoughts and ideas out and taking the bold step to attain the level of personal success and satisfaction that she is after.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Piper Perabo Imagine Me And You

Me and Piper Perabo together; I don't even want to begin to imagine the possibilities! Piper Perabo; Me, you, secluded cottage, wine, soft lights, romantic music... *sigh*. Piper Perabo - imagine me and you. There are some blogs that cause me some form of hesitancy; some sort of 'what the hell do I say?', 'how to I put into words, my excitement, my whims and/or my fantasies?' This blog is one of those. When I think of how I feel about Perabo too many thoughts rush to my brain all at once and believe me a brain freeze while trying to compose a blog is down right inappropriate. This is not the time to get so caught up that you sit, stare and sigh at the images of such a beauty on your screen. Piper has not had a very long career, neither does she have a long string of box office hits to her credit, however, what Perabo does have is the love, respect and admiration of quite a number of doting fans (yours truly included) as well as some really nice and well received movies. I was not impressed with the first movie of her that I've seen. And I am referring to both the movie and her performance in said movie. Which movie? Coyote Ugly (2000). It wasn't an awful movie but it certainly wasn't a great movie either. To be completely honest, if the cast members were any different, maybe I would not have watched the movie at all. But in all seriousness, when the main cast of a movie include Perabo, Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks and Briget Moynahan it's kinda hard not to watch wouldn't you say. And moreover, when said movie include scenes of these women dressed in tight-fitting leather apparel doing (dance) numbers on a bar counter then I'd say that my hands were pretty much tied. Now throw in LeAnn Rimes and some truly gratifying and enjoyable songs and you've got, to some extent, a must see movie *smiles*. Coyote Ugly has gone from being an unimpressive movie to a must see movie in 12 seconds flat! (How contradictory can I be? You don't want to know). My next 'run in' with Perabo was when she appeared in the 2003 comedy - Cheaper by the Dozen. I enjoyed every bit of this movie and still take the opportunity to see it whenever I can. By this time my affinity for the young actress was taking root. Then in 2005 it happened! Perabo was paired with one of my eternal obsessions, the gorgeous British bombshell Lena Headey, in one of the most significant and romantic films as far as the LGBT community is concerned - Imagine Me and You. Perabo was at the top of her game and not just because of the role itself. No, it was the way in which she carried the role; she took the role and made it compellingly real. Watching her performance placed you right in the middle of it all, it was not just a movie, you were all caught up in it. She made the emotions real, the conflict, the angst, the indecision, the sense and pressure of the guilt of betrayal. Her performance, in my opinion, was reminiscent of a Meryl Streep portrayal. Also in 2005 she reprised her role in Cheaper by the Dozen 2, in 2006 she had roles in 10th & Wolf, First Snow and The Prestige (alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine). The following year she teamed up with Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore and Lauren Graham in the comedy/romance Because I Said So. In 2008, along with the likes of Drew Barrymore and Loretta Divine, she participated in her second animated film playing the role of Rachel Ashe Lynn in Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Two of her latest films include Ashes (drama) - no release date as yet and Sordid Things (post-production). She won her first and only award to date in 2001 for her role in Coyote Ugly when she won the MTV Movie Award for Best Music Moment (for singing One Way Or Another). She took singing and guitar lessons to prepare for this role. I am waiting for Perabo to make her big break on the big screen. I am confident that she has what it takes and that given the right opportunity, she will do it. In the mean time I will just have to settle for a daily visit to my Piper Perabo shrine. Here's wishing you a fun and safe weekend.