We all can sing along with KT Tunstall. The Scottish singer-songwriter's two early 2000s mega hits thrust her into the spotlight with her first studio album, “Eye to the Telescope.” Not only did Tunstall dominate the radio charts, her music lent itself as a pop culture plot device — think the “Fight Song” of back in the day.
If there was a television show about an ambitious woman with her eye on the prize, “Suddenly I See” most likely appeared in the trailer. Hillary Clinton nearly chose the song as her official 2008 campaign single (it was later rejected for its use of the word “hell”) while its predecessor, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” earned her a Grammy nom for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Tunstall churned out albums (2007’s “Drastic Fantastic,” 2010’s “Tiger Suit,” and 2013’s “Invisible Empire///Crescent Moon”), but nothing quite stuck the way her 2004 debut did.
“I decided not to make any records for a while,” the 41-year-old remembers. “I had gone through massive shifts in life that were difficult and some that were rewarding. I lost my dad and things had changed in London so I packed up, sold everything, and moved to Venice Beach.”
Tunstall had found herself pining for the sandy California town after passing through on tour. There she found new beginnings and the long commutes that began to inspire her to write again — but not for radio.
“I wasn’t attracted to the idea of writing another album,” she explains of her time at Sundance Institute’s Film Composers Lab. “I wanted to enter into film scoring; I did training for a year and wrote for films and loved it.” Tunstall’s film credits include “Bad Moms” and Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm” — but still, the winding roads of California, with a steady soundtrack of Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young eventually drove her back to writing tunes you could sing along to.
“At first my body and mind were like, ‘don’t do it, give us a break,’” she laughs. “But the songs kept coming, and I had to respect that. I would have been an idiot not to listen to them. I started writing in secret — I didn’t tell anyone, and by the time I told the label, I had done a bunch of demos on Garage Band and the [album] was close to done.”