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“Hot on the heels of her meteoric rise in the U.K., KT is well on the way here. She is a unique performer and her music is magical. We are going to sell a ton of KT Tunstall records in the U.S. Virgin is proud to be the home of this wonderful artist. At least that’s what my caddy tells me.”
—-Jason Flom, Virgin Records Chairman/CEO

KT TUNSTALL'S VIRGIN BREAKTHROUGH

Scottish/Irish/Cantonese Singer Is Translating U.K. Success Here in the States as Debut Album is Set to Street
She’s half Scottish, one quarter Irish, one quarter Cantonese, adopted at birth and a star in the making.

No, that’s not the ethnicity of Angelina Jolie’s latest child, but the heritage of pop-blues singing sensation KT Tunstall, who has already taken Britain by storm and is currently burning up U.S. airwaves with her first single, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” which is working its way from Triple A to Hot A/C in advance of the Feb. 7 release of the album, Eye to the Telescope on Virgin Records.

Newly installed label Chairman/CEO Jason Flom barely had time to unpack his White Lion and Twisted Sister vinyl albums before raving: “Hot on the heels of her meteoric rise in the U.K., KT is well on the way here. She is a unique performer and her music is magical. We are going to sell a ton of KT Tunstall records in the U.S. Virgin is proud to be the home of this wonderful artist. At least that’s what my caddy tells me.”

The three-time Brit Award nominee, whose album is also up for the prestigious U.K. Mercury Prize, just performed the song live on national TV during the Today Show last Friday (1/20). In the wake of that performance, which iTunes is making available as an exclusive download, KT went from #559 to #18 on Amazon.com. She’s also slated to perform on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on the day the album hits stores (2/7).

EVP Promotion Hilary Shaev says “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” is already #1 at Triple A, where KFOG S.F. discovered Tunstall on an import and immediately began playing her. The record is about to chart at Hot AC after three weeks, with WBMX Boston, KLLC S.F. and KALC Denver already on it.

“It’s a really reactive record, getting phones every time it gets played,” Shaev says. “Her record and performance connect immediately with both industry people and consumers. It’s amazing to watch the passion that KT evokes.”

Tunstall, who is currently touring the U.S. on her own,  uses electronic loops and triggering devices to layer her sound while performing solo. She’ll return in March with a full band.

The daughter of a physicist father who grew up in the Scottish university town of St. Andrew’s, Tunstall had a youthful fascination with science fiction. She trained in classical piano and flute, learning to sing from jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, calling her first album a “wonderful baby,” which was the result of “intercourse” between Tom WaitsBone Machine and Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Other artists she’s been compared to include PJ Harvey, an admitted influence, Fiona Apple and Lucinda Williams.

Among the marketing initiatives surrounding the album release are:

*VH1 “You Oughta Know” Artist on the Rise program, mtvU add

*Barnes & Noble Discover Program, Virgin Recommends, Borders Original Voices

*L.A. Times Sunday Calendar piece identifying her as one of five U.K. performers poised for breakout American success.

*Spreads in Interview, Vogue, Rolling Stone

*Up for three Brit Awards, including British Female Solo Artist, British Breakthrough Artist and British Live Act

*Three consecutive Top 10 U.K. singles

*Album approaching quadruple-platinum in U.K.
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