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"I wanted to dive into that, and pitch it against the reality of 21st century life in London and that feeling of needing a break over the winter, to get away from the madness of living in the city, and the desire we have for things to be still." As for working together – a new experience for both parties – she says communication in the studio was paramount, noting that "as we got going, they said they would be open to the idea of collaborating with other artists, but only if they had a clear idea, as I did"."In the West, we have this romantic notion that artists are constantly inspired by the heavens, and just pluck it from somewhere."I wanted to really capture that nostalgia for my past, looking back at my homeland and my family.There's a mythical notion of the Russian forests covered in snow, cultivated by shows filmed in Moscow, but there are also the stories my granddad would tell us about escaping from Siberian labour camps.
"It's a record that's quite different to the ones I've done before." She explains how she knew she wanted to try something new this time around and that it was time to work on her own – though there was a period of adjustment.
"I thought singing on the stage with an orchestra was the most majestic thing, but singing with a choir, I can't really describe what it's like," she says.
"It's an orchestra of voices, really, and to me it's a bit like surfing on a wave of voices.
AFTER just a few seconds listening to Katie Melua's new album, In Winter, it's immediately clear she's changed.
Since releasing her debut album, Call Off The Search, in 2003, she's carved a niche as one of the premier singers of jazz-tinged ballads.