Friday, December 17, 2021 - 8:00 pm
Sitting, eyes closed in the sunshine in Nashville’s Centennial Park in Spring 2017 on tour, KT Tunstall had an epiphany. It encompassed both her last album, ‘KIN’, that entered the UK top 10 in 2016, and her as-yet-unrecorded sixth studio album.
There were some things she knew instantly. That moving to Los Angeles, whence she had relocated from London in autumn 2014, had been a life-saving move. That she was now in the midst of a trilogy of records, the latest exciting chapter in a career fuelled by a rocket-powered lift- off with 2004’s ‘Eye To The Telescope’, her debut album which won the post- folkie from Scotland the Brit Award for Best British Female. That this trilogy would evoke, separately and in sequence, spirit, body and mind. That ‘KIN’ was already, happily, her spirit album.
“The last album felt like a real success for me, in that it reignited my desire to tour and make records. There was definitely a moment where that was dying,” Tunstall admits. “I’d reached a point where making records felt quite stagnant and the whole cycle was feeling repetitive. One of the reasons I had wanted to become a musician was that I saw it as a constantly evolving way of life.”
Prior to her LA relocation, the Ivor Novello winning, multi-million selling, Grammy-and-Mercury- nominated artist had gone through a divorce and the loss of her dad. Her world had been rocked to its foundations. Motivation naturally suffered. What price music when your personal life has collapsed? And what price music when you’re an artist who’s also a businesswoman, running your own affairs with the licensed help of a record label? As she puts it, “I’d somehow allowed myself to adhere to all these conventions, despite spending ten years grafting to create my own, custom- designed existence.”
But living in Venice Beach, within strumming distance of the Pacific, Tunstall experienced a rebirth. She fell back in love with the west coast rock she’d always adored and with music in general. She fell back in love with herself.
“There was literally a rebirth of me as a happier, more thoughtful, more self-aware person with different priorities in my life. Writing and recording ‘KIN’ was a real unexpected pleasure; it was a way back in, to rediscover that feeling of purpose in going out and playing a gig for people, and essentially being a purveyor of joy for the night, whilst managing to tap into that deep sense of personal fulfilment in the process. Playing live is definitely a kinetic meditation for me.”