Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Singer KT Tunstall Talks About Being Adopted

Interviewed by Michel Martin on NPR's Tell Me More, KT Tunstall talks a little bit about being adopted:
MARTIN: I read in an interview that you have a very interesting background, which you talked about some. You are adopted. You're multiracial, raised in Scotland but you know that your birth mother is Chinese. One of the things that you said in an interview that I was very touched by was that you said, you know, you have talked about this, but you don't talk about it a lot because you don't want to wind up hurting someone.

Ms. TUNSTALL: Mm-hmm.

MARTIN: Is it because if you sort of plant your flag in one country, then it kind of leaves out all the other countries and...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TUNSTALL: It's politics - all politics. No, it's more that it's such a sensitive issue, and I think that certainly as an - I mean, I can't talk directly on behalf of my parents, but, you know, I can only imagine what it's like bringing up an adopted child and, you know, making them feel as loved as you possibly can. But there's always going to be that slight disconnect, where I'm not going to understand what it's like for them to adopt a kid, and I'm -they're never going to understand what it feels like to be adopted.

But I think the thing that I've noticed, which I didn't realize, was it never becomes that much less sensitive. You know, we've all got very deep, fragile feelings about this issue and - although we're a very, very strong family. And I did make contact with my birth mother about 10 years ago. It was very fulfilling. It enriched my life. But it's not plain sailing, and that's all I'll say. It's...

MARTIN: Was she nice?

Ms. TUNSTALL: Yeah. She's a good person. But it's just something that I'm dealing with all the time myself. So it's not something that I'm actually qualified to be able to talk to people I don't know, because it's just - it's very private and very sensitive.

MARTIN: But I am always fascinated by the question of an artist who, by definition, plumbs the depths of things that are very difficult for the rest of us, often faces things that often the rest of us don't want to face, how much you share and how much you keep to yourself. And how do you make that decision?

Ms. TUNSTALL: Yeah. I mean, well, exactly and people might question, you know, why is she talking or why did she tell anyone in the first place? And it's like, well, that is an important part of me as a creative person, because no one else in my family is musical at all. So there is this wild card in me that doesn't really make sense unless I say, well, actually, maybe this is part of why.
Read the transcript here and listen to the interview here.

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