KT Tunstall Biography
Her debut album Eye to the Telescope was released in 2004, and was a worldwide success. In the United Kingdom, the album charted at #3 on the UK Album Charts, and to date has been certified 5x Platinum by the BPI; this indicating that the album has sold over 1,500,000 copies in the UK. In the United States, Eye to the Telescope charted at #33 on the Billboard 200 album charts, and has been certified Platinum in the United States, selling over 1 million copies there. Her first live album was an acoustic album entitled KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza, released in 2006, and charted at #33 on the UK Album Charts. Her second studio album, Drastic Fantastic was released in 2007, and debuted at #3 on the UK Album Charts. In the United States, it debuted at #9 on the US Billboard 200 album charts.
Tunstall is to release her third studio album entitled Tiger Suit in late September 2010.
KT Tunstall was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a half-Chinese, half-Scottish mother and an Irish father, and was adopted 18 days later by teachers who lived in St Andrews, Scotland. She has never met her biological father. Her adoptive father was employed as a physics lecturer at the University of St Andrews, and her adoptive mother was a school teacher. Tunstall's family also includes an older brother named Joe and a younger brother named Daniel. Her parents had no interest in music and owned no records—the only tape her father owned was a comedy recording by mathematician and musical satirist Tom Lehrer.
Tunstall grew up in St Andrews, a town in Fife, attending Lawhead Primary, but spending her last year of high school in New England at the Kent School, a selective prep school in Kent, Connecticut.
"After school, having learned the piano, flute, and guitar, she left her native St Andrews to take up a scholarship at Kent School in Connecticut, New England, where she formed her first band, The Happy Campers."
She spent time busking on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont, and at a commune in rural Vermont. Tunstall studied at the High School of Dundee in Dundee, Madras College in St Andrews, Kent School in Connecticut, and at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has said that: "...My earliest memories are Californian...", attributed to a sabbatical that her father took at UCLA in 1979.
She is influenced by David Bowie, Patti Smith, The Velvet Underground, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
Throughout her twenties, she played in indie bands including Elia Drew and Tomoko, and focused on songwriting, as well as performing with members of the fledgling Fence Collective including work in the Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra with King Creosote, who recently supported her UK tour. She also lived with Gordon Anderson (The Beta Band and The Aliens), whom the song Funnyman, on the album Drastic Fantastic, is about. She toured with the Klezmer band Oi Va Voi, and guested on their album, Laughter Through Tears.
UK-based label Relentless Records heard about Tunstall through their scouts and quickly put forward an independent offer. However, Tunstall had decided to sign with a US major, and initially passed up the offer. That deal didn't work out and so she eventually decided to go with Relentless.
Although he recognised the potential in the quality of her voice and songs, at this point Relentless co-founder Shabs Jobanputra's assessment was that she "wasn't ready yet" and so together with her manager, Jobanputra discussed "the process of how we saw her happening and how we would work, why we thought the songs were great, why we thought she was great, and why it could really work if we took enough time." After the signing a lot of time was spent developing certain songs and honing her live performance before she was ready for release.
Eye to the Telescope (2004–2006)
Her debut album, Eye to the Telescope, was released in late 2004. Tunstall's style of music varies from folk to pop. In Edinburgh and St Andrews, she played in a band called Red Light Stylus, which was regarded as one of the better bands to emerge from the limited Fife scene.
Tunstall's first appearance of note was a solo performance of her blues song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Later... with Jools Holland. The performance was notable as she had only 24 hours to prepare after scheduled performer Nas cancelled. Her performance caught the eye of many viewers, although she had previously performed it on French television only some weeks before, upstaging more established acts such as The Cure, Embrace, and The Futureheads; she then went on to top the post-show poll on the website for that episode.
Shortly after the "Later" appearance, Eye to the Telescope was re-released and shot up the UK charts, eventually peaking at #3 (on its first release it had entered at #73); it was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Music Prize. It was released in the U.S. on 7 February 2006.
Tunstall's North American break came when American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee contacted her asking to use "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" as her choice for a Billboard-themed week. At the time, the song was #79 on the Billboard charts. Tunstall had not been shy with her opinions regarding shows like Idol saying "The major problem I have is that it's completely controlled... they're told what to say. They're told how to sing." She chose to license the song as she felt that "no one on that show told Katharine McPhee to sing my song because no one knew it" Tunstall's belief was correct—the song was suggested to McPhee by Billboard columnist and author Fred Bronson. The song immediately jumped to #23 on the Billboard charts the week following McPhee's performance. She has later said "My status as a musician in America is pretty much cemented by Katharine McPhee, which is really interesting and funny for me because I've never been polite about how I feel about shows like that."
Acoustic Extravaganza (2006–2007)
Tunstall released a new acoustic album in May 2006, KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza, which was first only available via mail order from her website. The album was re-released in stores worldwide in October 2006.
Tunstall sang with Scottish band Travis on their 2007 album "The Boy With No Name", on the track "Under The Moonlight", a song written by Susie Hug (late of Katydids).
Drastic Fantastic (2007–2008)
Tunstall's second album, Drastic Fantastic, premiered on 3 September 2007 in Scotland, followed a week later on 10 September 2007 with the London release for the UK and 18 September 2007, in the US. In its first week, Drastic Fantastic reached #1 on the Scottish Album Charts, #3 on the UK Charts, and #9 on the U.S. Charts. The album's lead single "Hold On" was released in August 2007, debuting at #34 in the UK, before peaking at #21 in the United Kingdom. The song was also very successful in certain European nations peaking at #19 in Italy, #19 in Norway, #26 in Switzerland and #39 in Ireland. The album's second single "Saving My Face" was released in December 2007. The song did not make the UK Top 40 Singles Charts, but however did managed to peak at #50 on the UK Singles Charts, managing 3 weeks on the UK Charts. Despite missing the UK Top 40, the song made the Top 40 in Italy, making #23 and in Switzerland peaking at #93. The album's third single, and final worldwide single, "If Only" was released in March 2008, becoming the second single from the album not to make the UK Top 40, it managed #45 in audition.
On 5 October 2007 the U.S. discount department store chain Target, in association with NBC, released a special KT Tunstall Christmas EP on CD. Sounds of the Season: The KT Tunstall Holiday Collection contains six exclusive tracks:
* "2000 Miles"
* "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
* "Mele Kalikimaka (Christmas In Hawaii)"
* "Sleigh Ride"
* "Fairytale of New York"
* "Lonely This Christmas"
On 10 December 2007 it was released in Europe through Relentless Records as a digital download only, under the title Have Yourself A Very KT Christmas.
In 2008 KT Tunstall recorded a song for the album Songs for Survival, in support of the indigenous rights organization Survival International. In a video for Survival International, she speaks of music as being a force for good, and about what she has learned about tribal people on this project. She also discusses various issues concerning our culture of consumption and greed, our relation to the earth and the importance of indigenous rights in the world today.
Tunstall also worked with Suzanne Vega on her 2007 album Beauty & Crime, singing backup on songs "Zephyr and I" and "Frank and Ava". It was revealed in the booklet by Vega that the two had never met during the process of making the album.
Tiger Suit (2009-present)
On February 11, 2010 The Daily Record reported that, " 'KT TUNSTALL has recorded her new album in Berlin's famous Hansa studio. The studio, beside the site of the Berlin Wall, was used to make legendary albums including David Bowie's Heroes and U2's Achtung Baby. Kt said: "I had an amazing three weeks recording in Hansa in Berlin in January and am finishing it all off in London." The Scots singer, who has been quiet of late, reassured fans she has been busy. She added: "I am still very much alive and have every music-making limb and muscle working in my laboratory of fierce-new-album-ness." Before her album comes out, KT will be playing a stripped-down set at the Haiti fundraising gig at the Roundhouse in Camden on Thursday February 25. She hopes to jump up with her old pal Seasick Steve for a song or two. Kt added: "My shizzle will feature some new faces and definitely some new songs, so come and have a listen and chuck some dough at a good cause." '
According to her website, Tunstall has finished recording her third studio album.. The album has been titled Tiger Suit. It will be released in the UK on 27 September 2010 and in the US on 5 October 2010. The album's first single will be "Fade Like a Shadow" in US and "(Still a) Weirdo" in UK.
The official artwork for the sleeve leaked on 2 August 2010 appearing first on Kuwaiti music blog Loft965.com.