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After the Georgian Civil War, Melua's family moved to Northern Ireland when she was eight – she attended St Catherine's Primary School on the Falls Road – and later relocated again to England, where she developed her musical talent at the famous Brit School in London (other alumni include Amy Winehouse, Adele and Rizzle Kicks).
Melua's current album began with her attempting to pen a score for a ballet – which led her to discover the Gori Women's Choir in her native Georgia.
"I wasn't sure the world needed another Katie Melua album," she adds.
"But the artistic goals between Mike and I were drifting and had been for some time." Eventually, she focused, and realised that away from the politics, thinking about her career and "all that self-obsessed stuff", she was still fascinated by music, writing songs and making records, so began working out exactly where she wanted to go next.
"It's a very special thing to watch them perform.
Virgo Kutaisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union Katie attended St. Subsequently, she went to Dominican College, Fortwilliam.
Of course, there were no language or cultural barriers to negotiate.
I'm not sure if it would have worked so well if I couldn't speak Georgian.
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.
"They were very open to trying things out, and I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted it to sound like, but really needed their help and an insight into their way of working to make it come true." The resulting album hears Melua's glass-like voice and virtuoso guitar, backed by the haunting sound of the choir.
It's a startling combination, and Melua's idea of making an album about winter, specifically one that the listener can enjoy while wrapped up indoors, preferably in front of an open fire, is tangible.
Developing the skills and tools to make you better at your craft isn't seen as cool, or even necessary.
"In Georgia, they don't have that, and complete perfectionism is what they strive for.