Our Top 10 KT Tunstall Songs list features a selection of the most popular and best-loved songs recorded and released by Kate Tunstall. Fans of Kate Tunstall are likely to remember her as KT Tunstall, the same singer-songwriter who first took the world by storm with her musical talent in 2004. Since then, it’s been one memorable song after another that’s dictated the direction of her career into the path of stardom. There are at least ten top ten songs that come to mind when going over KT Tunstall’s musical portfolio, each of them showcasing the songstress at her best as a performer.
Born on June 23, 1975, KT Tunstall’s life began in Edinburgh, Scotland’s Western General Hospital. Her parents were coworkers at a bar that shared a romance that would result in the conception and birth of a daughter with a mix of Chinese and Scottish ancestry. When she was eighteen years old, she was adopted by David and Rosemarie Tunstall. The couple already adopted a son before her, Joe. There was also another brother, Dan. When asked about her childhood memories, KT Tunstall is quick to make reference to her experience in California. She was only four years old at the time but the musical influence she experienced was enough to ask for a piano. Although she primarily grew up in Fife, Scotland, she did spend her final high school year in Connecticut and Vermont before attending and graduating from university in London, England. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama & Music in 1996.
Before making her big debut in 2004, KT Tunstall was content performing with a series of independent music bands. When Relentless Record signed Tunstall up for her first record deal, this marked the beginning of a new era for her as a singer-songwriter. This, however, was not an overnight accomplishment. At the time, Relentless felt Tunstall needed to develop further as an artist and as a person before making the kind of impression they knew she would make.
Eye to the Telescope was KT Tunstall’s debut album, which was released in 2004. It had a slow start at first until she became a last-minute replacement for a scheduled performance on Later… with Jools Holland. her bluesy folk performance of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” was enough to catapult Eye to the Telescope into what became a five-time platinum seller with the British Phonographic Industry. This recording earned her a BRIT Award for Best British Live Act and another for Best Breakthrough Act. She also earned the Best British Female Artist Award and the European Border Breakers Award. For KT Tunstall, this debut marked the beginning of a stellar career that continually earned her critical acclaim and awards across the globe.
Since Eye to the Telescope, KT Tunstall has recorded and released six additional studio albums. This begins with 2007’s Drastic Fantastic, then 2010’s Tiger Suit. In 2013 it was Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, then 2016’s Kin. In 2018 it was Wax and in 2022, Nut. In addition to these recordings, she’s also written and performed music for a series of movie productions and soundtracks. She remains one of the most prolific songwriters in the industry and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Since 2014, Tunstall has been living in Los Angeles, California, focusing on her career as a contributor to soundtrack music.
Top 10 KT Tunstall Songs
#10 – Feel It All
From the 2013 album, Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, “Feel It All” was one of many songs from the recording that earned critical acclaim as one of KT Tunstall’s best musical performances to date. On the official music chart belonging to Ukraine, it was a number thirteen hit. “Feel It All” was a song that fused organics of country and folk music with the intent to deliver a personable song. At the time of writing it, she was dealing with the death of her father and separation from her husband at the time, Luke Bullen.
#9 – Fade Like a Shadow
When KT Tunstall worked on her third studio album, Tiger Suit, the inspiration came to her after experiencing dreams about a tiger in a garden. She concluded the tiger in the dream was a version of herself, which prompted her to come up with the album’s title. “Fade Like a Shadow” shared the same dream-like feel. This was the album where Tunstall experimented with a new sound that mixed organic and electronic music together. This song came to Tunstall after experiencing an awkward relationship with someone that gave her cause to treat them like a ghost whose shadow was destined to fade away. This was one of Tunstall’s more aggressive songs as a singer, which seemed to work with the radio stations in the United States. On the US Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart, it peaked as high as number twenty. It was also a minor hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at number forty. It also made a solid impression on the Japan Hot 100 at number eleven.
#8 – Saving My Face
Released from the 2007 album Drastic Fantastic, “Saving My Face” was a song that had a ghostly music video of KT Tunstall as a guitarist dealing with issues as a performer. Across Europe, it was a solid hit, especially in Turkey where it topped that nation’s official music chart. It was also a top-ten hit in Belgium and Ukraine. On the US Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-four. One brand of music KT Tunstall excelled in was delivering uplifting songs designed to lift a person’s chin up. Not only has she sung “Saving My Face” as a phenomenal pick-me-up, but as a reveal of her own self as someone who’s been there, done that, as well.
#7 – Hold On
“Hold On” came from KT Tunstall’s second studio album, Drastic Fantastic. Released during the summer of 2007, it became a number twenty-one hit on the UK Singles Chart. On the US Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-seven. This song was designed to behave like an amusement park ride and that’s exactly how it sounded. On the US Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart, it peaked as high as number one. What makes this song so great has as much to do with the song’s message as the catchy beat itself. This is a great inspirational tune that encourages people to hang on in a world that’s always so determined to throw you off.
#6 – If Only
Drastic Fantastic‘s “If Only” was a mellow song written and performed by KT Tunstall that would work its way to the 2018 movie, Winter’s Dream. While music critics had mixed opinions about the song, the fans loved it enough for it to peak as high as number forty-five on the UK Singles Chart and as high as number twelve in Ukraine. “If Only” was one of those perfect daydreamer-type songs that allow the listener to embark on a musical journey of their own. In Tunstall’s case, the music video showed a ski jumper failing to succeed in her task. On a visual level, it dealt with the “what-if” issue many people deal with when looking back at something that could have easily had a different outcome “If Only” fate allowed it.
#5 – Other Side of the World
“Other Side of the World” was the opening track to KT Tunstall’s debut album, Eye to the Telescope. Released in 2004, it was a song that dealt with the issues that come about in long-distance relationships. The inspiration for this song came to Tunstall as she knew of a couple that tried to stay together despite living in separate countries. On the UK Singles Chart, “Other Side of the World” became a number thirteen hit. On the Irish Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-five. In the Netherlands, at number twenty-one. This mix of blues and folk was Tunstall’s trademark as a performer, as well as an easy song to relate to for fans who dealt with similar situations. In 2008, it won a Pop Award from the BMI London Awards, along with another one of Tunstall’s hit singles, “Suddenly I See.”
#4 – We Could Be Kings
“We Could Be Kings” was a song that came from the movie and soundtrack, Million Dollar Arm. Released in 2014, this Hindi-style song for the Disney production focused on the biography of a sports agent who needed to recruit new athletic talent. The focus was on baseball, as well as eyeing the talent of potential star athletes from India to fill a void the main character of the story felt needed to be filled. However, the primary sport in India is cricket, not baseball. In the story, the sports agent had one year to find two qualified candidates that could compete in Major League Baseball’s tryouts. “We Could Be Kings,” performed as a cultural inspiration that even the impossible can be possible. This is a great motivational song, sung by an incredibly talented KT Tunstall at her best.
#3 – Made of Glass
From Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, “Made of Glass” was a touching ballad that dealt with the reality of how fragile life really is. Released in 2013, this was an incredible song performed by KT Tunstall as it was an emotional connection with the memory of her father. Of all the gifts he gave her over the years, the most precious she received was a vase that was designed to hold flowers. Since its release, the popularity of “Made of Glass” has made this song one of KT Tunstall’s most popular. This has been a favorite at funerals and wedding ceremonies, as well as memorable events that find “Made of Glass” perfect for the occasion.
#2 – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
In 2004, KT Tunstall first made a name for herself with a live performance of her single, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” This song played an instrumental role in earning Tunstall a series of BRIT Awards, as well as international recognition as an elite performer. This was also the song that earned KT Tunstall her big North American breakthrough when an American Idol contestant named Katharine McPhee asked if she could cover “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” as a cover for the popular television program. After McPhee sang Tunstall’s debut hit on the show, it was enough to send it from number seventy-nine to number twenty-three. The inspiration behind “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” came to Tunstall while she was in Greece. She observed a large black horse behaving erratically, an image that remained in her head for years. She combined that experience with a blues concert she attended, along with medical issues she had while she was an infant. The song was all about tapping into that wild horse spirit and watching the branches of opportunity blossom like a tree. This came at a time when Tunstall was on the verge of becoming an international superstar and is, without a doubt, her signature song.
In addition to charting on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” was a number-one hit on the US Billboard Adult Top 40 and the US Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. It was also at least a top ten hit among the nations of Belgium, Canada, Italy, and Scotland. In sales as a single, it became certified platinum with Music Canada, as well as gold with the Australian Recording Industry Association, and silver with the British Phonographic Industry. This remains Tunstall’s most recognized song coming from her portfolio as a recording artist and for good reason.
#1 – Suddenly I See
In 2006, “Suddenly I See” won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song. This also became a song of choice featured in a series of movies and television episodes as this was a huge fan favorite around the world. It was even used in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 political campaign. Inspired by singer-songwriter Patti Smith, KT Tunstall offered her own brand of musical tribute to female power. Smith was credited as one of the reasons why Tunstall opted for a career as a recording artist. When Tunstall wrote “Suddenly I See,” she also concluded it would be an ideal song for a classic chick flick. In 2006, that’s exactly what happened in The Devil Wears Prada.
This bluesy country pop tune has often been used in political and social movements where women have been the center of attention when it came to pushing for change and defending women’s rights. “Suddenly I See” joined the ranks as one of Tunstall’s signature tunes that fans best identify her with. On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Suddenly I See” peaked as high as number twenty-one. It was at least a top-ten hit in Australia, Belgium, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s also her best-selling single to date as it became double platinum in Canada, platinum in the UK, and gold in Australia. If you want a song that perfectly illustrates girl power, “Suddenly I See” is it.
Top 10 KT Tunstall Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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