Katie Melua, 36, (pictured) shared a selection of items with personal significance in her home studio in West London
This room is where I write and work on my songs and where my music takes shape.
I couldn’t tour this year and I’ve really got into photography – during lockdown I took this self-portrait, wearing a vintage silk shirt, for the cover of my new album.
I’ve since bought this Pentax camera so I can pursue my new hobby. I feel so lucky to have a career in music though – life is unpredictable but I hope to be doing what I’m doing for the rest of my days.
2. HEART OF MY FAMILY
This photo of me, aged two, with my father Amiran is special to me. It was taken in Georgia [then in the Soviet Union], the land of my birth.
Dad got a job as a heart surgeon in Belfast and he, my mum Tamara, younger brother Zurab and I moved there when I was eight.
My family are hugely important to me, but as I tour a lot I don’t see them as much as I’d like.
3. MY TOP… 21!
Before I started work on my new album, the executive producer asked me to list the ten songs I considered the most perfect ever recorded, to give him an insight into the sort of sound I was after… but I couldn’t stop at ten.
Katie bought this Pentax camera (pictured) to pursue her photography hobby
My 21-song list includes artists who have influenced me, such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Henry Mancini – although I’ve just realised I’ve missed off The Beatles! Every so often I look at the list to remind myself why I’m so passionate about songwriting.
4. A NEW LEAF
I’m a huge fan of the artist David Hockney and visiting an exhibition of his work at Tate Britain in 2017 was such a transformative experience.
I suddenly looked at the city around me in a totally different way – it was like he’d done something to my eyes! I bought this giant book of his paintings as a memento, and sometimes turn to it for inspiration when I’m writing songs.
I flick through, and every now and then chance upon something that sows the seed of an idea.
5. KEYS TO MY CITY
I was so proud to be given the keys to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, by the city’s mayor in 2018 – it means so much to me.
I also like having mementoes of my ‘homeland’, like the vintage Georgian phone on the wall that I bought in a market there, and the oil lamp on the windowsill that reminds me of the blackouts of my childhood, when we would play music by candlelight.
6. OH, TO BE TOURING AGAIN!
A lot of my songs begin with me singing as I strum away here on one of my acoustic guitars. I can’t wait for the time when I can pick one of them up again and play my new songs in front of an audience, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
Nothing beats playing live with a great bunch of musicians – and not being able to do so this year has been a source of real sadness for me.
My heart goes out to all the roadies and production people, who musicians like me rely on so much when we’re touring. They have been hit so hard by the pandemic.