Rising British singer-songwriter KATIE MELUA steers clear from portraying a sexy image, because she fears raunchy stars like Christina Aguilera encourage young girls "to sleep around".

The 19-year-old - who has scored surprise fame when her debut album CALL OFF THE SEARCH topped the UK charts for several weeks this year (04) - is eager to garner credibility for her music, not her image - and rules out the prospect of dating celebrities or attending showbiz parties to attract press attention.

She says, "Christina Aguilera is a brilliant singer, and I admire the fact she has the confidence to show she's happy with her body.

But I don't know if it encourages girls to sleep around and things like that. I think we should ask ourselves if that's a good thing.

"I'm quite shy and I don't flaunt my sexuality. I want to be known for my music, not how I look. I don't think I'll be one of those stars going clubbing with celebrity boyfriends, and I do sometimes think, 'Is fame really for me?'"

22/03/2004 21:24