According to KT Tunstall, the best Scottish chips have a lot in common with the best songwriters: they’re “soggy and crunchy at the same time.” World Cafe visited KT in Edinburgh — where the artist was born — the day after a sold-out show featuring songs from her new album, WAX. The record certainly passes the chip test: It has the bite and crunch of a big rock record and the tender heart of a singer-songwriter confessional.
WAX is the second album in a trilogy that explores spirit, body and mind, which the musician says she dreamed up in reaction to a divorce and the death of her father. (2016’s KIN was the spirit record.) On WAX, she explores the body and how it intersects with spirit — or, as she puts it: “How am I meant to transcend with this meat car?”
For our Edinburgh session, KT Tunstall performs live songs from WAX and digs back to the two big breakout hits from her 2004 debut, Eye to the Telescope. In our conversation, she reminisces about a game her physicist father would play with her and her brother when they were kids that involved liquid nitrogen, and describes the first time her brother, who is deaf, was able to hear her music using a cochlear implant. She also shares her theory on why Scotland has such a massive musical output for a country with a relatively small population.