Over a scampering, Latin-flavored beat, KT Tunstall's infectious recent single, Hold On, says it all:
"Hold on to what you've been given lately/ Hold on to what you know you've got." Coming from a singer-songwriter-guitarist who made her bones busking in the streets of her native Scotland and in America (she attended high school briefly in New England), and who, by her late 20s, was written off by every record label as "too old to make it," this comes as sage advice, indeed.
That KT Tunstall (whose first name is Kate, although she prefers the "rock sound" of KT) made a cannonball-sized splash with her zippy, glossy pop-folk debut album, 2004's Eye to the Telescope, is reason enough to be amazed. Ever since Britney Spears begged to be hit one more time in the late Nineties, female singers past puberty have pretty much been given the heave-ho. But years of playing in Edinburgh bands (along with all that street performing) sharpened Tunstall's songwriting chops to the point of urgency. Smash hits such as Suddenly I See and Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (the latter of which showcased her biting guitar skills) have shown Tunstall to be an artist with the kind of goods that last.
Drastic Fantastic, Tunstall's new album, proves this in spades. A nearly flawless piece of popular art that takes not an ounce of effort to enjoy, it finds the Gibson and Gretsch enthusiast briskly strumming her way through a collection of spotlessly produced songs that are equal parts enchanting, love-struck come-ons and righteous, poisonous kiss-offs. During a recent interview with MusicRadar, Tunstall, 32, discussed the new album, and explained why she feels relieved to have paid her dues before getting signed.
Listen to the interview podcast here