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Folk/Acoustic

KT Tunstall

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Three years ago, KT Tunstall stepped out the front door of her flat in Harlesden, north-west London. She was off to work, and to play. She didn't get to go home again until she'd recorded debut...

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Three years ago, KT Tunstall stepped out the front door of her flat in Harlesden, north-west London. She was off to work, and to play.

She didn't get to go home again until she'd recorded debut album Eye To The Telescope. Wowed the nation with her one-woman blues-stomp 'Black Horse And The Cherry Tree' on Later... With Jools Holland. Toured the world a fair few times. Become a festival favourite from Glastonbury to T In The Park (and back again). Secured a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Outsold every other female artist in the UK in 2005 (bye bye Madonna, see ya Mariah). Won a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.

Won the Ivor Novello Best Song award for writing Suddenly I See. And a Q award for Track of the Year for Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. Landed a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Lent her tunes to choice American films and TV shows (eg, Suddenly I See, used in the opening scene of Meryl Streep flick 'The Devil Wears Prada'). Watched her songs become staple audition material for contestants on American Idol. Found time (OK, it took a day and a half) to record and film her lo-fi 'living room' album, Acoustic Extravaganza, live with her band on the Isle of Skye. Signed up for the GlobalCool campaign, which took her to Tony Blair's house in attempts to put pressure on the government to reduce carbon emissions. Sold almost four million copies of Eye To The Telescope, including over 1.5 million in the UK alone and over 1 million in America.

In those years Tunstall had become, at least in part, that elusive music business holy grail: a word-of-mouth phenomenon.

'You can allow it to become a bit of an albatross if you're not careful - where you think you have to just go out and slavishly recreate what people liked. I heard a theory that you cease to mentally progress from the age at which you become famous! It's easy to be frightened to move on and change what you do. But because I've never really been a studio artist, that's just never really applied. It's always been about getting onstage and trying to do a mindblowing show. And if you're playing the same set night after night, that means playing around with it, you know, and experimenting with what you've got. It's not a cd, it's a gig.'

Then, after all that - the tours, the awards, the nightly mixing-it-up, KT Tunstall got to go home and put her feet up. For five minutes. She'd been working on, and with, and for, the tunes on Eye To The Telescope for so long that there was a backlog of new songs needing some attention. And if you'd worked as hard and as long as Tunstall had to secure a record deal in the first place, you wouldn't hang about either. It was time to work on her second album, a collection of thumping pop songs and intimate, oftern mysterious ballads that she's called Drastic Fantastic - a title that popped into her head as she was writing her journal on an aeroplane.

But at the heart of all this is Drastic Fantastic. An album rich in beautiful songwriting and beautiful sentiment. An album made in scruffy, comfy environments but that sounds rich, deep and intimate. An album to go round the world but that won't cost the earth.