Why singer KT Tunstall had no interest in becoming a ‘famous pop star’

If you don’t know her face, perhaps you’ll know her familiar voice.

Does the song Suddenly I See ring any bells?

The catchy hit was released in 2004, but it really gained momentum two years later in 2006 when it was featured in the opening scenes of the film The Devil Wears Prada.

Watch the video above.

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KT Tunstall in music video for Suddenly I See

It landed singer KT Tunstall (real name Kate Victoria Tunstall) onto the international music stage following the release of her debut album, Eye to the Telescope.

The Scottish-born singer moved to London in the early 2000s in order to “make it” as a recording artist.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2022 about her pre-fame struggles, Tunstall admits she was once “so skint I stole broccoli from a field”.

Tunstall says the opening line of her hit song Suddenly I See had some interesting inspiration.

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KT Tunstall

She recalls seeing Patti Smith on the cover of her album Horses, without makeup or any glam whatsoever.

It made her think of the now-iconic line, ‘Her face is a map of a world’.

And it was at this point where Tunstall decided what kind of musician she wanted to be.

“Not a famous pop star with lots of money, but like this woman who’s living her life as an artist. I’d been trying for more than 10 years to be a professional musician,” she wrote.

“I was just exhausted from trying to persuade other people I was good enough.”

Tunstall said she wrote and recorded the song within just 30 minutes. It changed her life.

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KT Tunstall

But she says interpretation of the song after it featured in an Anne Hathaway film took her by surprise.

“I didn’t realise the lyrics could perfectly fit a chick flick, and it could sound like I was singing about wanting to be a f—ing model!” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2007.

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In 2008, at the height of her musical success, she began losing hearing in her left ear and, a decade on, she went completely deaf on one side.

“I am completely deaf in my left ear. I lost my hearing on tour a couple of years ago overnight,” she revealed in 2021.

“I had tinnitus and some high-end hearing loss for 10 years before that.”

KT Tunstall

In 2013, Tunstall took a long hiatus from music and moved from her home in the UK to California.

Her last solo album was Nut in 2022.

Now aged 49, the singer is still touring and most recently collaborated with fellow musician Suzie Quatro.

In 2018, she split from her second husband Alexander Preston.

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