For 9am on a Monday, KT Tunstall is remarkably bright and chipper. “I’m very well – perhaps a little hoarse, from rehearsals.
“Manuka honey is the only thing that ever helps,” she continues, “but it’s £25 for a jar – incredibly expensive.”
Maybe this plug could lead to a sponsorship deal… “I wouldn’t mind,” she admits. “That’s it for me just now – yelling for hours a day, coffee, andyelling again”.
And there’s another health tip – as is it turns out, this is no ordinary coffee. “Bulletproof” coffee is, it transpires, “full of butter.” What crazy diet is this?
“It’s very LA, but I follow a lifestyle more than a diet – high grade coffee, no grains or complex carbs, no fruit, but it’s transformative,” she enthuses. “It not only completely changed my body, but my resting mood is so much better than it used to be”
And so a theme emerges. Tunstall’s new album ‘Wax’ is the second of a trilogy following up 2016’s ‘Kin’ – which dealt with the spirit.
Whereas the new release concerns, as she puts it, “the conscious soul being trapped in these meat vehicles we’ve got to deal with.
“When I made ‘Kin’ it hadn’t occurred to me to do the trilogy, but I was always frustrated at how long it took to put records out. I’d lost the passion for making albums – maybe got a bit stagnant... I thought about giving up and writing music for films.
“I’d basically made a folk record for my fourth album,” she continues. “There was maybe a perception I was getting older and making quieter music, and it wasn’t that at all, because the gigs are always pretty rock’n’roll – this record is maybe the first time I’ve been able to capture the way I am live.”
The health regime must be working as she has indeed adopted a more rock’n’roll persona, if not lifestyle.
Indeed, readers of a certain age may be interested to know she has been working with Suzi Quatro – who “still sounds amazing”.
And anyone catching KT on tour may spot Honeyblood’s Cat Myers on drums, and former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley as part of a rockin’ live band.
That carries into the studio too, where Nick McCarthy – who left Franz Ferdinand in 2016 – has been helping bringing that harder edge to the new material.
“He’s just an exceptional songwriter,” Tunstall says of her new “writing buddy for life – it’s rare to find that connection, so I’m chuffed.”
However, she’s not rejected her folk roots entirely. “I still love playing solo shows,” she insists, and indeed still makes acoustic fanclub CDs – a tradition which go all the way back to her days with the Fence Collective in Fife, King Creosote asking her to join his band when she was just 17.
That was a long time before she burst onto the scene via a TV appearance with Jools Holland’s Later, famously using her loop pedal on ‘Black Horse & the Cherry Tree’. But does she tire of the Akai Headrush taking centre stage, given her nickname for it is unprintable in a family newspaper?
“I went through a period of resenting being known for this gadget,” she confesses “But that lasted 15 seconds – I said ‘Shut up and celebrate, you should be absolutely grateful you’ve been become well known for something that required talent and achievement’.”
Even if the loop pedal has become rather, well, commonplace nowadays?
She laughs. “I’m Ed Sheeran’s mum!”
‘Wax’ is out now.