It was 2005 when the name KT Tunstall first started popping up, and once she began to make waves, they turned into monsters that enveloped the entire planet, soaking everyone with her signature sound of deep acoustic guitar-pop. Songs like “Suddenly I See” and “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” remain staples of that era in Top 40, and when they come on these days, people are reminded of just how insanely catchy they are.
In the decade-plus since she first exploded onto the pop scene, KT Tunstall has made a conscious effort not to attempt to chase stardom, but rather to make the music she wanted to make. It’s tempting for many people to always look for that next radio smash, and while she has found some success there, it is not her goal, and, to be perfectly honest, she just doesn’t need it.
KT just recently released her latest album WAX, which follows in the wake of another album that’s connected thematically. The Grammy-nominated musician talks about her new tunes, looking for chart success, and what fans can expect from her next record, which she promises to us exclusively will be out in exactly two years!
Your new album WAX is the second in a trilogy, isn't it? What made you want to take on such an ambitious project?
I love literary and film trilogies, great TV series; longer projects that give you more time to digest a bigger idea. I had this really strong vision that it was time for me to take on something grander than one album. I was also getting frustrated at how long it would take between releasing records, and at the strain of losing momentum and working to regain it. My creative mind responds very well to puzzles and deadlines, so I set myself the challenge.
What was the inspiration to create a story that needed to be told with a three-album arc?
It’s a ubiquitous concept, that of soul, body, and mind as three separate entities, yet also totally assimilated in one person. After writing KIN all about a transcendence of soul and spirit, I needed some visceral, dirty realness to balance it out, and I had a compulsion to really get me teeth into playing electric guitar. I felt aware of the absurdity of being made of this cosmic, spiritual energy, and yet having to drive a meat car through this existence, and all the so-called “flaws” that it entails. And then next it’s all about the brain...
Where does WAX fit into this project and what do you want fans to take away from it?
It’s part two—the “body” record—it’s a very present, visceral album. About how I feel right now. I want them to be able to listen to this and feel unlocked somehow, set free a little from all the tightness we carry. The lyrics are very personal as always, and I hope they find things to relate to within them. But mostly I want them to let go and be taken for a ride.