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Katie Melua hails Sir Terry for helping make her a success

By Lucy Mapstone

Katie Melua has recognised the late Sir Terry Wogan as being the driving force behind the "crazy amount of success" she had when she launched her music career in the early 2000s.

The Georgian-British singer-songwriter's debut album, Call Off The Search, was championed by Sir Terry on BBC Radio 2, and she acknowledged that she was "so lucky" to have had backing from the radio host.

Melua spent her formative years in Belfast, after her father came here to work, and she attended Dominican College.

Now aged 32, she was one of the performers at Sir Terry's memorial service at Westminster Abbey in September, following his death in January.

Melua said: "Radio 2 and the organisers, his family, they asked me to (take part) because they knew that he had a significant influence on the start of my career, on that crazy amount of success I had when I first came out.

"I think about it now, and I was so lucky that it took off so quickly. Now that I've been in the industry for 13 years, I realise how rare and astonishing it was, what happened."

Melua shot to fame with her debut record in 2003 after support from Sir Terry and his show's producer Paul Walters, with her track Closest Thing To Crazy getting plenty of airplay.

She said: "I think he wasn't as known for his musical discoveries as he was for his brilliant personality and that great banter, but I think now that he's gone people are seeing that other side of him too."

Melua this week added to her existing accolades, which include a handful of international awards and two Brit nominations, as she received the Order of Honour in her home country of Georgia.

Following her "mindblowing" win, she said she was "very surprised and delighted".

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