British singer-songwriter Katie Melua has sold more than 10 million albums, mostly in the U.K. and Europe, and even has a Dutch tulip named after her. Breaking the U.S. is also on her agenda, but she doesn’t expect to be an overnight success.
“People go, ‘Oh, you have to break America!,'” Melua, who’s in the midst of a brief North American tour to promote last month’s release of her third album, “Pictures” (an October 2008 release overseas), tells Billboard.com. “To me, it’s just another place with a bunch of lovely people. Yes, it’s bigger and harder to break, but I don’t mind a bit of hard work. It’s not really any different than taking in anywhere else.”
Melua, who’s just released a live album recorded at London’s O2 Arena, wraps up her North American swing on Friday in Nashville, with an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” set for Wednesday. She’ll be in Europe during July and early August but says she plans to spend most of the rest of the year working on her fourth studio album. It will be her first not produced by and co-written with her manager, Mike Batt, who discovered Melua while she was studying at the BRIT School for the Performing Arts.
“It’s exciting and scary because he’s been such a huge part of what I’ve done, and so sort of incredible and nurturing and just inspiring with it all,” Melua notes. “I’m kind of going out on my own for the first time. I’m excited but a bit worried, too. But it’s time to grow up a little bit and take full responsibility for myself. I suppose you have to take that leap from a bridge once in awhile, don’t you, and see if you can fly.”
Melua isn’t offering up any details about her flight plan, however. “It’s too early to talk about it at the moment,” she says of the next album. “I just think it feels too soon. I want to get it done before I’m talking about it. I really do believe in doing before talking, so…just watch this space for the time being.”