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K T Tunstall Part 2 – Glasgow Walking Tour Blog

In part two of our interview with top pop auteur KT Tunstall, she talks about completing her trilogy of albums inspired by the themes of mind, body and soul, and of the sensorineural sudden hearing loss she suffered in 2018 – as well as living through a pandemic in Trump’s America.

Being in America is not great right now. My personal experience of living in my house is lovely but I have to absolutely limit how much I read and what I watch because it’s pretty terrifying. This presidency is absolutely shocking. And it’s really sad seeing the effect of that – it’s down the street where people are screaming at each other in supermarkets saying ‘I’m not wearing a mask, you f***ing Democrat’. As if Covid gives a shit who you vote for.

I think it’s going to be a long haul for America because of the negligence. I think the rest of the world is going to be getting back to business while we’re still not in that situation.

But I have started working on my next album and it’s really crazy because I didn’t expect to write the first one. I was in a massive moment of change in my life – dad had died and I’d got divorced and moved continents and I thought I was going to disappear and write music for films.

But I ended up writing Kin and that was the soul record. So I was going through huge change at that time in my life. Then I wrote the body record, Wax, and lost my hearing during that record. And then I was saying to myself ‘what the hell is going to happen when I’m making the mind record?’ So here we are – this mad situation where the world is on pause. This trilogy is the soundtrack to these crazy shifts in my life.

My left ear is totally deaf. It was some sort of inflammation that stops the blood flow to the inner ear, which then shuts down. They’ve done loads of autopsies on people with this and they can’t see anything wrong at all, so the specialist says it’s the bottom of the sea in terms of ear science, they just have no idea. I’m sure it was a bit of nervous system breakdown from working really hard and not taking enough time out.

It’s definitely made being a homebody more attractive because it’s a nightmare if you’re in a loud social environment. Thankfully I was already in fairly speedy retreat from being social at all. I’ve loved lockdown because it’s so quiet. But there is a danger in that if you’ve got hearing loss it’s quite insidious and you can find yourself retreating from social situations and not really realising you’re doing it and all of a sudden you find yourself not really doing stuff you like doing because it’s challenging.

I think it’s definitely a state of mind attached to how you approach it and I just made a decision to flip it the bird and go I’m not going to stop, I’m just going to keep doing it. The only really annoying thing – apart from being half-deaf – is I’ve still got tinnitus in that ear. And you don’t have locational hearing anymore so if someone is shouting my name I have no idea where they are. And I don’t know where my phone is ever…