Over the past few months, this blog has published posts discovering new artists. Musicians that are either new to the industry or those who have become lost among the fresh faces of today. Each artist has brought a new perspective to the way I listen to music. However sometimes, when on the search for another enlightening musical experience, it’s important to remember those artists who helped begin the journey. For me, Paolo Nutini is one of those artists, becoming one of the first musicians I listened to outside of the alternative genre. His music infuses a sense of nostalgia within me that stretches beyond his musical talent but I know he is an artist others will thoroughly enjoy. To anyone who has never even heard of him, prepare your ears for a swirling audio mosaic of pop rock, soul and folk music all fused into one.
Born of parents from both Scottish and Italian descent, Nutini was destined to follow his father into their family fish and chip shop business. A place where his musical talent would have wasted away amiss the wafting smells of salt and vinegar. Fortunately, Nutini had an extremely supportive grandfather by the name of Giovanni “Jackie” Nutini who knew of his grandson’s talent before even he really did. With this encouragement pushing him forward, Nutini left school to work as a roadie for Scottish band Speedway. He then went on to have experience working in Glasgow’s Park Lane Studio where he was able to pick up valuable knowledge of the music industry. With this gained combination of experience both in the studio and on the road it was only a matter of time before Nutini released his first album.
After being signed up for his first live show in 2003, Nutini was discovered by business partners Brendan Moon and Mike Bawden – the latter still Nutini’s manager today. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Nutini created his first demo and was signed to Atlantic Records. Now with a music label behind him, he was able to release his first single, ‘These Streets’, as a free download in 2006. A song about a man and his guitar and the turbulent journey both have been on. The song was Nutini’s first appearance on the professional music scene and a beautiful introduction to his unique voice and music style.
Listen to ‘These Streets’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea3f5R3K96o
From here he continued to release chart topping music until his first album, also named These Streets, in 2006. Nutini worked alongside Ken Nelson on the creation of the album, a producer known for his work with Coldplay. Nutini’s first album had inspirations from his own personal experiences with unsuccessful relationships and offered a glimpse into the artist’s life. These Streets only opened the gates of opportunity further for Nutini as he began playing sell out concerts throughout the UK and supported The Rolling Stones in Vienna.
With the success his debut album brought him, Nutini was able to release Sunny Side Up – the album he is arguably most attributed to and the album where I discovered the Scottish singer/songwriter. Sunny Side Up was released in 2009 and proved to be an instant hit, skyrocketing all the way to number one in the UK charts. The album saw Nutini branching out and exploring himself more as a musician as the album is notably different in sound to These Streets. Although it received a mixed critical response, the success of the album is undeniable with a range of sweeping ballad’s and jaunty tunes to keep you elated in any mood. The album consists of cute coming-of-age songs like ‘Growing Up Beside You’ and always-look-on-the-bright-side pieces like ‘Simple Things.’ However the album also has swinging, jazz inspired songs like ‘Pencil Full Of Lead’ that is hilariously accompanied with a music video containing a dancing animated Nutini.
Watch the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-xd3NuWQI0
The sound of These Streets still remains, however, in songs like ‘Candy.’ A folk rock track that comes across as being about fighting with a lover only to realise you were in the wrong. Containing heart tugging lyrics like ‘I’ll be there waiting for you’ repeated almost endlessly and made harrowing by Nutini’s soulful voice. The song has been said to draw personal experience from Nutini’s own life much like the music of These Streets.
Listen to ‘Candy’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3xYXGMRRYk
Another album was released in 2013 (Caustic Love) where Nutini brought more R&B elements into his music. Lead track ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up) receiving high praise and being likened back to the 70s heyday of soul. Even becoming iTunes Best Album in 2014 and further showcasing Nutini’s talent and how he cannot be pigeonholed into one genre.
Nutini is still active as a musician today and after listening to Sunny Side Up on repeat for the past few days I hope to hear more of his music soon. Whilst Nutini’s other two albums are infused with musical and lyrical beauty, Sunny Side Up will always be a personal favourite and I hope this post encourages more people to discover the joy of it.
By Skye W. Winwood