KT Tunstall Biography

Kate Tunstall, 23 May 1975, Edinburgh, Scotland. Of mixed Chinese/Scottish heritage, singer-songwriter Tunstall grew up as an adopted child in the laidback Scottish university town of St. Andrews. She learned to play piano, flute and guitar as a teenager before gaining a scholarship to Kent School in Connecticut. While in the USA Tunstall played with a band called the Happy Campers before returning to the UK to attend a music course at Royal Holloway College in London. She then moved back to St. Andrews where she immersed herself in the local independent music scene. During this period she worked with members of the Fence Collective, an umbrella title for an ad hoc group of musicians united by their preference for a style of music loosely dubbed alt folk. Tunstall moved to Edinburgh to work with the band Red Light Stylus but lack of opportunities saw her returning to London where she signed a solo publishing contract with Sony and later a recording contract with Relentless Records.

Tunstall’s growing reputation led to guest appearances with acclaimed UK crossover outfit Oi Va Voi, most notably on record with their 2003 release Laughter Through Tears. While continuing to tour with Oi Va Voi and as a solo artist, Tunstall landed the services of U2 associate Steve Osborne to help record her debut album. The False Alarm EP featured several tracks from these sessions and earned a number of positive reviews when it was released in autumn 2004. The title of her album debut, Eye To The Telescope, was partly inspired by nights spent at the observatory of St. Andrews University, where her father worked as a physicist. The music within reflected Tunstall’s experimental live work, allied to a burgeoning ability for crafting some classic pop rock melodies. The album proved to be something of a sleeper hit, and by the following year had achieved multi-platinum status. Tunstall was also nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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