Short of venturing out into the cold and going to an actual concert, there may be no better way to see and hear live music than on Ovation TV's terrific new weekly series Livefrom the Artists' Den (tonight at 8 pm/ET). Somewhat similar to MTV's 2001-'02 Music in High Places, Artists' Den stages concerts in striking settings: Ben Harper sings on a farm in Tennessee, Fountains of Wayne play on a ship in New York and, in tonight's premiere, Scottish singer-songwriter K.T. Tunstall performs at the early 20th-century Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. We spoke to the down-to-earth Tunstall, who recently released her second CD, Drastic Fantastic, about the importance of location, location, location.
TVGuide.com: As an artist who tours extensively, is the venue just as important to you as the crowd?
Oh, enormously. I think the venue can really lend so much to the gig and make the crowd feel differently. If you put people in an unusual setting or a particularly beautiful setting, then it can really kick-start the evening. [The Prince George Ballroom] was absolutely beautiful... a beautiful, gilded gold venue. I loved the vibe of the place.
TVGuide.com: What other venues that you've played have left an impression on you?
I love the Olympia in Paris. The Fillmore in San Francisco is absolutely brilliant. And Shepherds Bush Empire in London is a very special venue to me. Everyone is standing on the ground and in the balcony, so you have a kind of rock element to it. But where I most enjoy watching a band is probably the Bowery Ballroom in New York.
TVGuide.com: Where would you like to play that you haven't yet?
Madison Square Garden. I bet that's a pretty fun place. [Laughs] We're doing some gigs this summer in the U.K., where I'll be playing in forests. I love festival gigs. I'd love to play a festival in the desert in Africa. I'm very excited by the idea of playing unusual venues, places you wouldn't usually expect to see a show.
TVGuide.com: In tonight's show, you perform "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," the song that helped launch your career here in the U.S. when Katharine McPhee performed it on American Idol. Do you credit Idol with some of your success?
Absolutely. It got my song to [tens of millions of] people who probably wouldn't have otherwise heard it. I still have people coming to gigs who say, "I heard your song on American Idol and bought your album."
TVGuide.com: So are you an Idol fan?
Tunstall: No, I hate it! [Laughs] It's really good television and when it's on, it's very difficult to turn off. But as far as music goes, I feel the whole culture of it really chokes up the market where very unique, original talent would be able to come through. Not to take away from the fact that many of them are good singers, but music for me is about being moved and enlightened by someone saying something in a new way. And hearing someone sing a standard isn't inspiring.
TVGuide.com: You recently got engaged. Will that event find its way into your songwriting?
I doubt it. I'm not at the point in my career where I need to start singing songs about weddings. But if it all crashes and burns, then maybe I'll do some wedding songs! [Laughs]
Get to know K.T. Tunstall in our Online Video Guide.
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