Have you heard of’Katie Melua? Perhaps if the airwaves weren’t cluttered with junk, you would know this 24 -year-old’s clear and vibrant voice. She’s a musical descendant of’Stevie Nicks and’Natalie Merchant. Last night the 24 year old from Georgia (in Russia, not Atlanta), who was raised in Belfast and London, wowed a packed house at the Highline Ballroom. She’s on an acoustic tour of America, not to be missed.

Melua sang songs from her new live album, played guitar and piano (standing, hello!) and was basically very impressive. Melua’s on’Mike Batt’s very cool indie label, Dramatico, which is distributed in the U.S. by Universal (of course).

At last night’s show, Melua’who is cute as a button and tiny, with a huge pile of brunette locks’sang several songs from her American release, “Pictures,” including “Sailboat”’-which should be on the radio, and “What I Miss About You,” which was lovely.

She also has a song about’silent film legend Mary Pickford that name-checks the movie stars who created United Artists in th3 1930s’Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and’D.W. Griffith. UA should build a whole campaign around it. It’s much nicer than “Valkyrie.”’ Check out this video for more info on that.

One poignant note: there were a lot of Georgians in the audience last night. They all sang along to a Russian song at the end of the show, very quietly, in and out of tune. They all know about her and are very proud.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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