By Kathia Dawson, Staff Writer
Four years since her last album, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall has released an energetic new single “Private Eyes,” tackling the theme of how vulnerability and shame coincide.
“Private Eyes,” is off her newest album, Nut, which is the last in a trilogy of albums focusing on the soul, body, and mind. She started the record seven years ago. It features 10 new songs that focus on covering the mind with vulnerable and inspiring lyrics.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND “PRIVATE EYES”
Tunstall's newest song “Private Eyes” has a pop-driven tune that’s upbeat and electric. She co-wrote the track with friend and collaborator Tommy D. It recounts a celebrity encounter early in her career where she faced the downside of fame.
Tunstall described: “Early on after my big success, I would dip my toe into accepting invites to random parties. At one party in a little club in Soho, London, a beautiful actress – who I didn’t know personally – in a big puffball gown, grabbed my hand and pulled me down the stairs into the basement kitchen in a panic. She was terrified of the paparazzi stalking her outside— she couldn’t face them.”
Tunstall continues to share, “Mascara was running down her face as she had a meltdown on the floor. I had to break it to her, there was no door down here; the only way out was back up. But I remember through my own boozy haze how tragic it seemed that this person had so craved a life that had now felt like a prison. Beautiful eyes that didn’t want everyone looking into them.”
The lyrics of “Private Eyes” channel the stress of fame and consistently trying to be someone else.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF KT TUNSTALL
KT Tunstall is familiar with being in the spotlight. You may know her hit from the mid-2000s “Suddenly I see,” featured in the famous film cult classic The Devil Wears Prada. And her other hit song, “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree” has been frequently played on the radio since it was released in 2004.
Tunstall describes her music as a balance between “introspective folk and propulsive rock.” I find her lyrics to be vulnerable and dream-like with a flowery acoustic sound.
Tunstall started writing the album which features “Private Eyes” during the pandemic. She found that the pandemic pushed her to let go of some control for her music and she documented her intense personal journey through songwriting during. She stated that this album is a soundtrack to “creating a new version” of herself.
Tunstall derived the idea of creating an album trilogy from a journal ritual she would enact where she would write multiple entries on a single topic from the different perspectives of mind, body, and soul. She states that this way of creating an album helped her dig deeper into the separate topics she was covering.
She also limited the stylistic boundaries of “NUT’s” music to the idea of learning and repetition, wanting the music to emulate the inner-workings of our brains when it hears sound. Tunstall draws sounds from African desert blue artist Guitarist Ali Farka Touré, Nigerian musician Fela Kuti and many others.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR KT TUNSTALL?
KT Tunstall is currently on a European tour with some stops in the U.S. in Park City, Utah. Now that the last album of her trilogy is out, fans who attend her shows can experience her vision in whole. Her aim to capture aspects of the soul, body, and mind through her music can now be fully appreciated.
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