From Can the Can to yes, I can

KT Tun­stall re­veals her in­spi­ra­tional, trail-blaz­ing rock‘n’roll idol

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Paul English MAIL@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

Her­look, at­ti­tude and a string of hit sin­gles helped en­cour­age KT Tun­stall to pick up her first gui­tar.

But Suzi Qu­a­tro is not only an in­spi­ra­tion, she’s now a col­league.

KT, who re­leased her new al­bum Wax last week, has been work­ing with Suzi Qu­a­tro, who had a string of hits in the ’70s in­clud­ing 48 Crash and Can the Can, on new ma­te­rial.

The pair struck up a friend­ship af­ter meet­ing at a trib­ute to Elvis Pres­ley at Hyde Park in 2010.

And KT, from St An­drews, hopes she can be the pos­i­tive role model to young girls as Suzi was to her.

She said: “I’ve been work­ing with Suzi Qu­a­tro on some songs. She was the first fe­male rock ‘n’ roll mu­si­cian.

“Her dad was a mu­si­cian and he didn’t treat her like a girl or a guy, she was just his kid. She started out on drums in his band, and then on bass. She said she didn’t even think about it, she just wanted to do it be­cause it’s what her dad did.

“The im­por­tant thing is young girls see women in th­ese roles. Peo­ple like Kim Wilde and Madonna were other women I saw when I was grow­ing up in the 1980s.

“Talk doesn’t mean any­thing, it’s about see­ing women do th­ese things, oth­er­wise there’s that po­ten­tial to get stuck in a rut, to say, ‘girls don’t do that kind of thing’.

“With Suzi, I’d al­ways known who she was, and what she’d done. I watched Happy Days as a kid and the cover of my al­bum Dras­tic Fan­tas­tic was def­i­nitely a nod to her.

“But I think why I par­tic­u­larly loved Suzi wasn’t just be­cause she was the first fe­male rock ‘n’ roll star ever. The fact that I’m a woman is se­condary to the fact that I am a mu­si­cian, and although Suzi was feisty and sassy and fiery, it was about her be­ing a great player.

“There was a very strong con­nec­tion and she was very gra­cious to me, she said that she felt that with all the new fe­male mu­si­cians, that I was the one car­ry­ing on the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll mu­si­cian­ship.”

KT and Suzi have plans to record and re­lease an EP of songs fol­low­ing the cur­rent al­bum, which sees KT em­bark on a tour of the UK and Ire­land in March.

“We started writ­ing to­gether and are do­ing an EP. It’ll be a duo thing. She sent me some de­mos and that woman has not soft­ened with age. Her voice still sounds amaz­ing. She isn’t given the props she de­serves. She’s a to­tal pioneer and I’m hon­oured to be do­ing things with her.”

KT reck­ons the ex­pe­ri­ence of spend­ing time with Suzi has in­flu­enced the sound on her new LP, in­clud­ing new sin­gle The River.

“I got fa­mous on two in­cred­i­bly jolly rock ‘n’ roll pop songs,” she said. “But I was al­ways fight­ing to get that rock ‘n’ roll side of me into things. I think there’s more of that in this new record.”

Ear­lier this year, KT blazed her own trail, right up Sixth Av­enue in Man­hat­tan, as the first fe­male Grand Mar­shal of the Tar­tan Day Pa­rade.

She lives in Cal­i­for­nia th­ese days, the epi­cen­tre of this year’s #metoo move­ment, which fol­lowed in the wake of sex abuse al­le­ga­tions against ma­jor stars in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

It has given her a unique per­spec­tive. She said: “I live in Los An­ge­les, and you can’t be­have in a sex­u­ally abu­sive way in Hol­ly­wood any­more. Peo­ple will out you and it will be taken se­ri­ously. Whereas three years ago that would not have hap­pened.” As well as work­ing with the likes Suzi Qu­a­tro, she also teamed up with former Franz Fer­di­nand gui­tarist Nick McCarthy.

And ex-busker KT’s ca­reer has taken an­other un­ex­pected turn, af­ter she earned her stripes as a com­poser of movie sound­tracks.

She trained at Ge­orge Lu­cas’ famed Sky­walker Ranch in Cal­i­for­nia work­ing with film in­dus­try mu­sic veter­ans like Alan Sil­vestri, who com­posed classic theme tunes like Back To The Fu­ture and For­rest Gump.

She was one of only six peo­ple to be ac­cepted on to the com­posers lab and has worked on a num­ber of short films since.

She said: “I was the only one who hadn’t done any scor­ing be­fore. There was a real free­dom in get­ting away from my usual frame­work.

“Only about two to three per­cent of film scores in Hol­ly­wood are com­posed by women. Young girls and women have to see other women in th­ese roles be­fore they even think about do­ing them them­selves.”

KT Tun­stall is back and ready to rock

Rocker Suzi Qu­a­tro

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