Paolo Nutini in Rome
Part Scottish, part Italian Paolo Nutini is coming to Rome in concert on 28 November. The 22-year-old, whose father’s family is originally from Barga Vecchia in Tuscany, is on tour with his new album Sunny Side Up and it would be a shame to miss out on seeing him live.
Sunny Side Up was released this summer and went straight to no. 1 in the UK charts and reached no. 12 in the Italian charts. It has received varied reviews as it is very different from his debut album These Streets, released three years ago under the production of Ken Nelson, who is known for his collaboration with Coldplay. Nutini mixes genres and styles and his Scottish accent is far more pronounced in the newer material. Although These Streets clearly had a Scottish folk undertone, it was undoubtedly still pop music.
Sunny Side Up is almost completely self-produced and in it Nutini experiments with his own tastes. There is again Scottish folk but also jazz, soul, 1950s-style blues and even reggae. Listening to Nutini is not unlike listening to Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens or Led Zeppelin, but what makes him unique is that he is reviving these genres now and that, unlike other music produced by the current generation, he focuses on the song writing as opposed to what can be produced electronically – essentially an old-school approach applied to modern music.
Sunny Side Up is pensive and nostalgic; it covers friendships, growing up, gained and lost love and the effects of being away from family and partners for long periods. Nutini’s music sounds full of wisdom and age, despite coming from someone so young. Scottish news website Daily Record quotes him as saying “the album has turned out the way I wanted it to. It’s titled Sunny Side Up because it is a positive record.”
So how did it all begin? Nutini left school in Paisley in Scotland to explore his passion for music and began working as a roadie for the band Speedway, getting acquainted with the music business. During and after this time he performed as part of another band as well as alone in small gigs. He eventually got recognition when he won a pop quiz and was given the chance to perform on stage in a concert in his home town. The crowd’s reaction caught the attention of manager Brendan Moon, who took Nutini on and still manages him today.
Nutini had been expected to follow in his father’s footsteps by taking up his fish and chip shop back in Scotland. Instead he moved to London aged just 17 and sang in small venues across the city. This gave him the chance to do radio and live appearances, including support performances for British female solo artists KT Tunstall and Amy Winehouse. However Sunny Side Up shows that Nutini has never forgotten his roots and in actual fact takes great pride in them.
The lyrics of Simple Things from the new album are about his father and his life in Scotland: “My father is a wealthy self-made man. But his wealth does not consist of riches or acres of land and instead he has a family who are his biggest fans, that’s something that I one day hope to have.”
In May 2005 Nutini was signed to Atlantic records. His first single, These Streets, was released as a free online download, a popular “try before you buy” marketing technique that aims to attract a kind of underground fan base before the artist is publicised on television or radio. He currently has accounts with Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, not to mention his own generic website, meaning that fans can keep track of new releases and performances, as well as having the chance to hear the music before they buy it.
In 2006 Nutini performed in several sold-out concerts in the UK as well as other locations all over the world. During the same year The Rolling Stones asked him to perform a support slot for them in Vienna and then again soon after at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, which has a capacity of 50,000. Then in 2007 Nutini performed at the 02 arena in London as one of the supporting groups for Zeppelin. Never one to turn down a challenge, New Year’s Eve 2008-2009 saw him perform at the Hogmanay street parties in Glasgow and Edinburgh, making him the first musician in history to play at both locations for the same event.
Whilst in Barga Vecchia for the shooting of his album pictures, Nutini spent a few days visiting his family’s old home and chatting with local residents. After a meeting with Alessandro Rizzardi, organiser of the Barga jazz festival, it looks as though Nutini will be appearing in the 2010 edition. Two years ago Nutini was awarded The Golden St Christopher medal by the city for his contributions to Barga and its people.
He has spent most summers there since he was a child; now, however, his growing popularity and schedule may mean that work takes precedence over recreation.
Nutini’s four Italian concert dates are 24 Nov at Roncade in Treviso; 26 Nov at the Palasharp, in Milan. 27 Nov at Saschall in Florence; and 28 Nov at the Atlantico, Via Oceano Atlantico, 271/d in Rome. Box office number +39 892101 or go to www.paolonutini.com for more information.
Gemma Lynch – wantedinrome