(born June 23rd 1975) is a singer-songwriter from
Tunstall was born in Edinburgh, and was subsequently
adopted. Her father is a physicist, and her mother is a
school teacher. Tunstall also has an older brother named Jo
and a younger brother named Daniel, who has a hearing
impairment; the Tunstalls brought up their children in a
home without a television or stereo, as the devices
interfered with Daniel's hearing aid. (Not being a
television fan, Tunstall did not know that Katharine McPhee
sang "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on American Idol
until later on when somebody else notified her).
twenties, Tunstall met her biological mother, who told her
that her biological father was a folk musician.
spent time performing on the famous
in Burlington, Vermont and at a commune in rural Vermont.
Tunstall is currently dating drummer Luke Bullen (The
Mescaleros, John Squire). She has indicated her intention to
Tunstall studied at the High School of Dundee; Madras
College in St Andrews; Kent School, Connecticut; and at
Royal Holloway. Throughout her twenties she mostly played in
independent bands including Elia Drew and Tomoko, and
focused on songwriting. Her debut album, Eye to the
Telescope, was released in late 2004. Tunstall's style
of music varies from folk to pop. In
and St Andrews she played in a band called
Red Light Stylus who were
regarded as one of the better bands to emerge from the
Tunstall's first appearance of note was a solo performance
of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Later with Jools
Holland. The performance was notable as she had only
twenty-four hours to prepare after scheduled performer Nas
cancelled due to his father's ill health. Her performance
caught the eye of many viewers, upstaging more established
acts such as The Cure, Embrace, and The Futureheads, and she
then went on to top the post-show poll on the website for
after the "Later" appearance, Eye to the Telescope
was rereleased, and shot up the
charts, eventually peaking at three (on its first release it
had entered at seventy-three); it was nominated for the 2005
Mercury Music Prize. It was released in the U.S. on February
Tunstall released a new acoustic album in May 2006, KT
Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza, which is only
available as a CD from her website, although downloadable
versions are available from online music shops.
Tunstall is currently working with Scottish band Travis on
their newest album, due for release in 2006.
Tunstall is known for her live performances in which she
becomes a one-woman band. She has toured extensively since
and plans to tour after the release of her next album, which
is to be recorded in late 2006.
her debut appearance on Later with Jools Holland, she
has returned to the show to perform "Suddenly I See", "Under
the Weather", "Tangled up in Blue" (she performed the same
song, as well as "Simple Twist of Fate" and "This Wheel's on
Fire" on a BBC 4 Bob Dylan tribute) and an Ella Fitzgerald
song ("Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller) with Jools Holland
ended 2005 on New Year's Eve by performing at
Concert in the Gardens alongside Scottish band
her concerts, Tunstall uses an AKAI E2 headrush loop pedal
on stage, which she affectionately calls "Wee Bastard".
addition to the Mercury Music Prize nomination, Tunstall
received three Brit award nominations when they were
announced on 11 January 2006. Tunstall was nominated for
Best British Live Act, British Breakthrough Act, and British
Female Solo Artist. At the ceremony on 15 February 2006,
Tunstall performed "Suddenly I See" and won the award for
Best British Female Solo Artist, remarking that she wished
to share it with fellow nominee Kate Bush.
Tunstall also appears on the Sophie Solomon song "Lazarus",
on the album Poison Sweet
Madeira, and provided guest vocals for three
tracks, "Ladino Song", "Refugee", and "Yesterday's Mistake",
on the Oi Va Voi album Laughter Through Tears (2003).
She has also performed "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliott
and "High and Dry" by Radiohead at Live Lounge. Tunstall's
seventh single, "Another Place to Fall", featured a cover of
Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees". She appears in the last
album of the japanese singer YUKI, where she wrote "Yume
Miteitai" and "Birthday".
her early songwriting career, Tunstall has also written and
performed music for children's television shows, but remains
secretive as to which shows in particular.
asked about her nickname, "KT", by Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2
in a pre-BRIT Awards 2006 interview, she said that it is
just an abbreviation of the initials of her name, Kate
Tunstall. While a student at Royal Holloway, University of
London she performed on an acoustic guitar in a student bar,
under the name "Katie". She was also known as the Princes
Street Busker, and headlined the 2006 Edinburgh's Hogmanay
interview on XM Satellite Radio (Hear Music, Channel 75) in
2006 she said that PJ Harvey was the inspiration for her
abbreviating her name.
Tunstall sparked some controversy in 2005 when
she publicly bashed singer/songwriter Dido, stating that
the artist "can't fucking sing" after several fans
compared the two musically. Tunstall later apologized,
stating that she did not want to be involved in a public
Due to some of her songs containing ambiguous
lyrics, some fans (especially lesbians) were interested to
know whether she is also gay, but she has stated that she
is not. The lesbian rumours were fuelled by a demo version
of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" which surfaced on the
Internet in April 2005. It has different backing vocals to
the released version, with the phrase "pubes in the teeth"
being chanted between the "woo hoo" refrain. Tunstall told
lesbian magazine Diva in June that the recording had been
made as a joke during some drunken hijinks at a recording
session and was later leaked without her knowledge.
In May 2006, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
was covered twice by Katharine McPhee on American Idol,
as well as young Croatian singer, Nika Turkovic.
"Suddenly I See" was used during the opening
credits of the Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway film The
Devil Wears Prada, as well as the farewell music for
female contestants eliminated from the television show
So You Think You Can Dance.
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" is used in the
trailer for Men in Trees, due to its boost
popularity from Katharine McPhee's performance on American
Some critics believe that Black Horse and the
Cherry Tree's "woo hoo" refrain was similar (or copied)
from The Pointer Sisters song "Neutron Dance."
Tunstall Official Website
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