It’s been a whirlwind year for KT Tunstall.
The Scottish songstress went from no-name to household-name within a matter of weeks in North America when “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” her first single from her debut album, “Eye to the Telescope,” began playing on the radio in high-rotation last year.
Tunstall, however, thinks she got famous in North America for another reason.
“I think it might be because of Katherine McPhee,” Tunstall tells andPOP.
McPhee, last year’s American Idol runner-up, performed “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on an episode of the show before Tunstall’s name was well known. Tunstall muses she has to buy McPhee a beer for that, something she told andPOP during a previous interview.
“I’ve been saying that in interviews for the last year, [that] I’ve got to buy her a beer. Perhaps she is old enough now,” Tunstall cracks.
Now would be a good time for that outing, because things could get very busy for Tunstall again next month.
The 32-year-old is getting ready to release her sophomore disc, “Drastic Fantastic,” in the UK on Sept. 3 and North America on Sept. 18. To some, it may seem like quick turnaround, considering “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” the first single off “Eye to the Telescope,” only hit the charts last year.
But Tunstall is quick to point out the album was released in the UK in December of 2004 and a few months later in Canada.
“It’s been three years in the U.K., and for me that’s a totally unacceptable long amount of time for a second album. To be honest, a year-and-a-half is perfectly acceptable,” she says.
Tunstall also has no worries about the so-called “sophomore slump.”
“I had a ridiculous freshman year, so in a way the amount of records the first one has sold has taken the pressure off somehow. If selling a lot of records is the prerequisite, then I’ve done that,” she explains, adding that she does not worry about being a one-hit wonder either, because she feels one-hit wonder songs are written that way, and she did not write her first album to produce only one smash hit.
That, and she had another hit with “Suddenly I See.”
The singer-songwriter says that her fans will appreciate her follow-up, but that it is a little different than her first album.
“You’ll recognize me. It’s definitely a lot more rocking, a lot more up-tempo but still some down tempo as well. [It's a] little bit more mysterious.”
When asked to pick her favourite song, Tunstall’s wit comes back quickly.
“[It's] hard to say. It’s like choosing children,” she cracks, before taking a moment to think about it seriously. “It might be ‘Beauty of Uncertainty.’ I just got lost in it when I was writing it, that one is a real departure for me. It was just such a joy to play.”
As well has having a successful debut album, Tunstall was nominated for a Grammy and performed at the London concert of Live Earth earlier this summer. Looking back, Tunstall says it’s hard to pinpoint how her life has changed because of the success she has received.
“I don’t know. It’s really weird, it’s hard to be subjective about what’s changed,” she says. “I suppose the only thing that has really changed is time. I never really have any time. I’m not home any more and that’s weird. I have friends saying, ‘can we meet for lunch’ and I say ‘maybe in May.’
The other difference, she adds, is that she is able to explore the world’s “brilliant places.”
“I love living out of a bag and living with a group of people. It’s always just been a life long dream.
“The dream was to travel and play. It’s quite stunning in the literal sense of the word [that I'm doing it]. What’s very difficult to believe is what happened here in the states because it’s so hard for British artists to get a foothold on the U.S.,” she explains.
Despite all the success, Tunstall laughs off the rumours currently circulating that she hates her celebrity status.
“No that’s a lie, I quite like it. I don’t want to be recognized looking like shit buying apples,” she laughs, “but that hasn’t happened.”