Lighting a Candle with KT Tunstall:
I know you know…this tiny love.
Above, you have the first and last thing you hear KT Tunstall say on her latest record, Wax. You can argue that love with all its complexities serves as a foundation for the record, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that’s the last word you are left with. But in-between there’s
“I’m just a human being”
“Running through the middle of
A life that’s full of real love
And everything is mine”
“There is paradise
In the loneliness”
“And I can see myself
Looking from the future
And I smile upon
All the mistakes I made”
“The dawn is waiting for me
At the end of this long night”
“I built something myself standing tall in the wreckage.”
These lyrics, which are pieces of six different songs off Wax strung together, read like a poem in this form. And perhaps that’s the journey of this record. Album number two out of a trilogy Tunstall is composing, takes you floating down river, climbing over mountains and ultimately finding healing in recognizing the normalcy of accepting your dark side. It’s having the strength to avoid the poisons and yielding to the music in your soul that will eventually echo in your scenery.
Now, it’s time for Tunstall to celebrate that artistic expression with the masses as she kicks off a 42-date world tour. Riding the momentum of a very powerful Girls Just Wanna Weekend to start the year, I spoke with Tunstall about the thrill of what’s ahead.
WAX has now been out for about five months, you are about to kick-off this extensive tour, how are you?
I appreciate you asking that, I am really good. I am definitely pushing myself creatively and physically. I’m looking forward to taking a few weeks off before jumping on tour – after this interview, I am literally heading to the airport. I haven’t been able to have any down time and that’s such an important part of being prolific.
As a writer, what do you find has been fueling your fire the most these days?
The thing that is exciting me the most at this point in my life is diversification – expanding tentacles into whatever creative corner I can. It’s not just music, I have gotten very interested in directing after recently directing a few videos. There are so many things I want to try. I am just about to embark on building a home-studio here in Los Angeles, which will afford me the possibility of producing and writing. I am so excited about the year ahead, I’m certainly stirring the pot.
Are there any new challenges that come along with such an approach?
Yes. With the Audience TV piece I recently did with Ted Stryker for example, I started recording the session before I started playing my new material. I knew that it would air after the record came out so I definitely wanted to play some of the new songs. At that point, I had never played any of this stuff with my loop, nor did I have time to really practice it because my schedule was so crazy. I walked into the studio and it was this amazing place with cameras, a crane and ton of people. They were doing a few bands that day, so there was no time for me to run through anything. So, they start rolling and I had to just play the new material. It was crazy – I was so nervous, and I’m not usually that way because I know what I am doing. But this performance was certainly a challenge. It was super-scary and super-fun.
Photo by: Dave Vann
WAX is such a melodic record and loaded with sincerity. I find it to be confidently vulnerable. Is that a fair assessment?
Thank you, I love that you say that. I discovered that it’s very much a personal journey over the years, and it’s best to embrace vulnerability and strength. Equal measure is the essence of being a good writer. There have been points in my life where I became less vulnerable because I was protecting myself. When you do that, you lose so much of your writing.
Now, I have the third of the trilogy still to go. I aiming to do that the second part of this year, hopefully in my home-studio.