Nutini but nice

Italo-Scottish crooner Paolo Nutini was raised on chips and deep fried Mars bars, but listening to his swooning torch songs you’d never guess it.

Paolo Nutini, despite the Italian name, is as Scottish as bagpipes and fried Mars bars.

Which are incidentally a bit of a specialty in the Paisley chip shop his family have run for four generations.

“We don’t have it on our menu,” explains the 19-year-old, “but if someone comes in and asks for it... I’ve tried it, I think it’s fucking amazing. Imagine a crispy melting hot chocolate bar.”

Deep-fried chocolate must have been one of the things Nutini missed when he left for London in order to record his debut album. He still prefers home to the big city, and admits to feeling scared when he moved there, something the title track from his debut These Streets touches on.

“I just hated it. Moving there was the last thing I wanted to do,” he says, but with his career taking off, he must now be glad he did.

Perhaps it’s his nature, or perhaps because his exposure to the media is still fairly limited, but Nutini’s a refreshingly honest interviewee. Take for example his reaction to being told that he was in for a hard slog if he wants to break America.

“I just looked at him and said, ‘Is that supposed to be an incentive?’ If life’s shit, I’m not going to deliver, that’s it. The moment you look at your voice being the only thing you’ve got, your life dependency, that’s too much pressure to be put on something as natural as singing.”

He worked with a number of producers on the album, including Rollo from Faithless and Guy Chambers, most famous for working with Robbie Williams and James Blunt. I ask Paolo about working with Chambers, having heard they didn’t get on well.

“It was like working with a fucking head teacher,” he vents. “It was disgraceful... I don’t think he had it set in his mind that this was a co-writing session. This was me maybe singing a few of his ideas. I wanted to get the hell out of there as soon as I could.”

Being a handsome young chap, it’s not unimaginable that the record company might try and market Paolo to the teenyboppers. They’ve already asked some favours of him in order to promote the album, and he’s not impressed. “There’s some stuff you don’t find out about until perhaps it’s too late to change it, and that is when it gets really annoying. I’m not going to get gunged on SM:TV. The man that gunges me is the man I kill.”

Even Noel Edmonds?

“No,” he laughs, “that’d be alright.”

Given the maturity of his voice and some of his lyrics, it’s easy to forget that Nutini is barely out of school. But every so often that youthful passion slips out, like when he discusses the idea of record company executives telling him to do something he doesn’t like.

“Fuck the fact that it’s a business. You’re telling me to do something I don’t want to do. You’re not my dad or my mum. If anybody starts treating me like a kid...” Paolo trails off, but he’s already made his point. You just wonder how many times he'll need to make it in the future.


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