Ipswich: Regent-bound Katie Melua talks about her new album, new tour and new husband

Most of us party our wedding receptions away to a local band or Dave the DJ. Melua’s guests were treated to a set by William Orbit.

“He’s become such a good friend of mine,” says the multi-million album seller who collaborated with the legendary musician and producer on 2010’s The House.

“When I first told him I was engaged and said you know you’re invited to the wedding he was ‘oh can I DJ’. I was like ‘let me think about it, I need to let Dave the local DJ down,” she laughs.

“Not really, I was like ‘yes please’ because he’s so phenomenal. He really pulled the stops out for this one.”

The Closest Thing to Crazy and Nine Million Bicycles singer married former World Superbike Champion James Toseland earlier this month.

“James bought his mum to one of my gigs. Jim, my pianist, is a massive motorsport fan and recognised him in the audience and said ‘oh my God, you’ll never guess who’s in the audience tonight… James Toseland’.

“I said ‘who’s that’ because I knew nothing about motorsport. He got in touch with James through his website and by some strange luck of fortune James received his invite to another gig; James came backstage and that’s how we met.”

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With August and September off, there was just enough time to enjoy all the build-up, the big day itself and a honeymoon in Cornwell.

So which is harder to arrange – a wedding or a tour?

“Oh God, definitely a wedding,” laughs the 27-year-old. “To be fair, I don’t really have to arrange a tour; I just need to kind of organise the creative parts. With a wedding, and despite the fact I had two really gorgeous friends that helped me out with the organising, it was really full on but incredible.”

The next big date in Melua’s diary is October 8 when her Secret Symphony Tour turns up at the Ipswich Regent.

“[I’m looking forward to it] very much. We’re going to have a string quartet coming with us on the road so that’s really exciting. I’m listening to string players today.

“We’ve left it a little bit late; we decided ages ago and had it all set up but, unfortunately, the lead suddenly couldn’t do it so we had to scramble around looking for new players.”

So, can audiences expect a mellower Melua?

“We’re still rock out and have some fun at the gig; there are more up and lighter moments but I think the intimate moments will have a magical touch with a string quartet attached to it.”

She has resisted the urge to rework some of her hits to use more of the players.

“I think if something’s not broken why fix it? I like how we originally released them; perhaps some people might notice subtle changes because my voice has changed a little bit but overall it’s pretty much how people remember it.”

Audiences can look forward to songs from latest album Secret Symphony; inspired by a live gig Melua did with an orchestra a few years back.

“After that gig I said I’d love to make an album where the orchestra has a very big part to play; last year we decided okay it’s time to make that album now.

“When it comes to orchestral stuff I’ve worked with Mike [Batt, who performed a song written for her and Toseland at their wedding] lots of times; I’ve seen him literally write string arrangements in a night so I knew he was the best one for this kind of project.”

As well as performing her new stuff, Melua loves all the old songs she hasn’t played for ages. With five studio releases, live albums and extra tracks there’s plenty to draw on.

“I think I’ve got overall a catalogue of probably 70-80 songs; that’s a lot to pick from and that’s brilliant. When we did the first tour and only had one album it was like ‘oh crap, where do we get the rest of the songs from’?”

“It got easier, better as we went along. [Having so much choice] really is [a nice problem to have].”

People wanting to hear the classics won’t be disappointed.

“You know, I’m not one of those who hate performing the hits; love singing The Closest Thing to Crazy and Nine Million Bicycles. I have no problem with performing that and I know that’s really what they want to hear because when I start those songs the reaction you hear from the audience… I think it’s good to have the new stuff so people get used to it but you also have to have the oldies.”

For more entertainment news follow me on Twitter @WhatsonWayne

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