KT Tunstall has had a recurring dream since she was a child. She sees a tiger in her garden and goes outside to stroke it. She returns indoors and is seized by the fear that she could have been killed. Over the years, it has occurred to her that the reason the tiger responds so passively is that she herself is disguised as a tiger. That she is wearing a tiger suit.
Tunstall has tapped into that childlike boldness in the making of her third album, Tiger Suit, which heralds the beginning of a new musical adventure for the multi-platinum, Scottish-born singer and songwriter. Organic instrumentation is blended with dance-friendly textures, the results of which Tunstall has dubbed as “Nature Techno” to encapsulate the album’s collision of raw, upfront rootsiness and sleek electronic textures.
Tunstall hadn’t stepped off the merry-go-round since scoring with her platinum 2006 debut album Eye To The Telescope (which spawned three hit singles, the Grammy-nominated “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See,” and “Other Side of the World”) through its Top 10 follow-up, 2007’s Drastic Fantastic (featuring the multi-week No. 1 Triple A airplay smash “Hold On”). She eventually faltered on an illuminating trip to Greenland as part of the Cape Farewell project, where she lived on a boat with a group of artists, writers, and musicians who were invited to create their own response to the harsh landscape and the specter of climate change.
Over the course of a transformative three months and now suitably recharged, Tunstall began working on new material, demoing tracks in her newly built, solar-powered home studio. She reunited with her long-time collaborators Martin Terefe and Jimmy Hogarth, both of whom contributed to Drastic Fantastic and Eye To The Telescope. She then headed to the U.S. to work with songwriter-producers Linda Perry and Greg Kurstin, averaging a song per day.
Eventually, Tunstall amassed a staggering 75 new songs to choose from and decided to team up with Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Kasabian) to helped her sort through them and unlock a new sound palette. The pair bonded over a shared love of The Cocteau Twins, Bow Wow Wow, Ali Farka Touré and classic club sounds.
Tiger Suit was recorded in Berlin’s Hansa Studios, where several legendary albums, including David Bowie’s Heroes, U2’s Achtung Baby, and Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, were made. “There’s a lovely self-sufficiency in Berlin, where people are just doing whatever they want to,” Tunstall says. “It really informed everything. There was an angular nature to what we were playing and a fierceness that I felt was very appropriate for what I’d written."