K.T. Tunstall feeling just ‘Fantastic’

Scottish tunesmith K.T. Tunstall, lunching on bagels at a tiny Manhattan deli, was thinking about a surreal Chinese dinner the previous evening, particularly the fortune in her cookie.

“It’s the best one I ever got,” she says. “It said ‘Do not follow the path — make your own path, and leave a trail.’” Then who should stroll into the cafe but reclusive Strokes leader Julian Casablancas, who recognizes Tunstall, strikes up a conversation, and swears he’s such a fan he wants to record with her some day. Quite a trail, indeed.

Once the Stroke leaves, Tunstall is dumbfounded. “Can you believe that just happened? Who else is coming in for coffee? Timbaland?”

But it’s a great reminder of how far this whimsical singer has come in three years.

After struggling for ages to be heard, she was recruited for a U.K. variety show when rapper Nas canceled. Using her trademark AKAI Headrush looping pedal, the guitarist launched into a one-gal-band version of her “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” and the BBC’s phone lines lit up. Tunstall was a hit, and the song was quickly added to her debut, “Eye to the Telescope,” which went quintuple platinum overseas, won her a Brit and Ivor Novello Award and a Grammy nomination, and found early airplay here in The City on KFOG.

She’ll return the favor by headlining KFOG’s annual Concert for Kids in Oakland on Thursday (David Gray is also on the bill), backing her new sophomore Virgin set “Drastic Fantastic.”

“It recently dawned on me that this is a total comic-book existence, what I do,” says Tunstall, 32. “You go to weird places, meet weird people, and you end up in these mad situations. It’s just crazy. Elton John says hello at a soundcheck, then the next morning you’re in a helicopter, flying to play a party in the French Alps. Then you finish the evening with a cup of tea, looking out your window at the Empire State Building, thinking ‘This isn’t really possible!’ It feels like time travel — a week feels like a month, a day feels like a week.”

Naturally, Tunstall didn’t alter her winning folk-pop formula for “Drastic.” “Hold On” was already a hit, and new single “Saving My Face” boasts an equally chiming hook.

It was inspired, in typically kooky K.T. fashion, by a television documentary, she says, “about these 60-year-old women who were having plastic surgery. Some of ’em were quite obviously looking in the mirror and going ‘Oh my God — I have a neck like a damned turtle!’ I’m just fascinated by our culture’s reaction to, and treatment of, beauty.”

The artist doesn’t fear change, though. “I desperately want to see America with a Democratic president,” she says, aware that her “Suddenly I See” was a final contender for Hillary Clinton’s campaign theme song.

A vegetarian, she’s gone green, touring in a biodiesel bus, helping found environmental group Global Cool, and offsetting album sales through Carbon Neutral, which has planted over 5,000 new trees in Scotland’s Carrifran Wildwood.

KFOG Concert for Kids

Where: Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $30 to $125

Contact: www.kfog.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

National Weather Service flood watch in the San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (National Weather Service via Bay City News)
Storm pounds Bay Area, leaving over 145,000 without power as damage mounts

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Most Read