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Music / KT Tunstall

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You can hear she's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember what you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on a wire
Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me.
— "Suddenly I See"

Kate Victoria Tunstall, alias KT Tunstall (born June 23, 1975) is a Scottish Singer-Songwriter. She first gained recognition after performing her Signature Song and Breakthrough Hit, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Later... with Jools Holland. She released four albums before moving to L.A. to work on movie scores. On September 9, 2016, she released her 5th album, KIN.


KT Tunstall provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable:
    • "Difficulty," the title of which ends up being pronounced like "difficulTY"
    • "Another Place to Fall"
      See yourself as a fallen anGEL
    • "The Other Side of the World"
      And most of every day
      Is full of tired excusES
  • Break-Up Song: "The Other Side of the World" is about her friends' breakup (which happened in KT's apartment). Both people lived in England, but one had to move to America. They later got back together, though.
  • Caps Lock: The 2016 album (and its Title Track) is not Kin, it's KIN.
  • Cover Version:
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles:
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: She painted eyes on her hands in the "Evil Eye" video.
  • Face on the Cover: One version of the Eye to the Telescope cover.
  • Fangirl: Of Patti Smith if "Suddenly I See" is anything to go by; the song was inspired by a magazine cover Patti did, hence the line "I can see her eyes looking from the page of a magazine/She makes me feel like I could be a tower..."
  • Gainax Ending: "No Better Shoulder" starts very softly and calmly, but from around the 2:30 mark to the end, more and more dissonant guitar sounds are added until, by the end, it's an echo-y, wail-y mess.
  • Go-to Alias: With a cockney accent and a Snapchat filter, KT becomes "Cockney Leslie," a foul-mouthed advice-giver
  • Inspired by…: "Madame Trudeaux" is probably inspired by Margaret Trudeau—who is wife of Pierre Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada—and her affairs with some members of The Rolling Stones. Interestingly, she sings "President's wife" instead of "Prime Minister's wife," though that might be because it fit better.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon is notably more laid-back and quiet than her previous 3 main albums, even though the songs are about her divorce and her father's death.
    • Her cover of "Boys of Summer".
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "No Better Shoulder." The only words, repeated over and over, are
    "There's no better shoulder
    there's no finer place
    one word of warning
    you'll never be replaced"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Invisible Empire" is a calm, peaceful, major key song in which she describes "burn[ing] this house" and "jump[ing] into the fire," and how her "dynasty is falling".
  • Mistaken for Gay: At one point, because of the rainbow suspenders she wore on the front of one version of the cover for Eye to the Telescope.
  • Murder Ballad: Lyrically, "Made of Glass" isn't one, but the music video would have you believe otherwise.
  • My Nayme Is: KT, which is an oversimplified form of "Katie" is a combination of this and Xtreme Kool Letterz.
  • New Sound Album:
    • Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon, which is noticeably calmer than her previous albums, with a more folk-ish flavour.
    • Tiger Suit is just as upbeat as her other stuff, but with more electronic and dance elements.
    • KIN seems to be a return to pop, perhaps a blend of the electronic sound from Tiger Suit with the pop/rock style of her earlier albums.
  • One-Woman Band: In many live performances she uses loop pedals to supply her own back-up vocals and percussion.
  • One-Steve Limit: Katie Melua was breaking through around the same time, and Tunstall didn't want to be mistaken for her. Hence, KT.
  • Overcrank:
    • The entire "All or Nothing" video is KT jumping around with her guitar in very slow motion.
    • The "Love Is An Ocean" video is in reverse slo-mo.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Push That Knot Away".
    May you always, may you always walk in hope
    And may your days just be a way
    To walk upon a great high road
  • Pop-Star Composer: She's not a pop star per se, but she did take a break from recording to write songs for movies.
  • Precision F-Strike: Swearing in general is surprisingly uncommon in her songs, considering how sweary she is when she talks, but she gets an f-strike in in "Hallowed Ground".
    ''I'm going to get the fuck away from here
    Get the fuck away from hallowed ground''
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Especially live. (See "One-Man Band".) On some songs, like "Come On, Get In," she backs up her own lead vocals for virtually the entire song.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • She sometimes starts concerts by telling the audience what else they could be doing in town instead of attending her concert.
    • When she posted a Facebook tribute to the late Prince, a commenter recalled that when she performed in Minneapolis once, Prince had a concert there the same night. KT asked the audience, "What the fuck are you doing here?"
    • "Lost":
      But I got lost, following you,
      —->What did I do that for? Am I an idiot?
  • Shout-Out: It's been noted that her first three album covers might be subtle references to those from other musicians; Eye to the Telescope to Patti Smith, Drastic Fantastic to Suzi Quatro, and Tiger Suit possibly to Katharine McPhee.
  • The Something Song: "Uummannaq Song".
  • Title-Only Chorus:
    • "Push That Knot Away," though she adds a barely-audible "yes, you can" to the beginning of the sentence.
    • "It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am," though the accompanying vocals have their own unique lyrics.
  • Title Track:
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz:
    • "Universe & U".
    • "KT". It's an oversimplified spelling of "Katie" (and also a reference to "KT Impact", which killed the dinosaurs).