Some of the finest things in America come from overseas; cars from Germany, cotton from Egypt and Paolo Nutini from Scotland. Expected to carry on the family fish and chip business, Paolo emerged this summer as a VH1 “You Oughta Know” artist that listeners truly ought to get to know. He was born and raised in Paisley, Scotland. Growing up, he was very much influenced by Scottish folk music, which was introduced to him by his grandfather.
First popular throughout the United Kingdom, he performed at several London clubs and opened up for notable musicians, including Amy Winehouse and KT Tunstall. Nutini worked with Coldplay producer, Ken Nelson, to create a dynamic and soulful album that made its way to the United States in late 2006, and started gaining some airtime in Summer 2007.
Classified in the alternative rock genre, Nutini’s music is also drawn from R&B and rock influences. Citing various artists from the Drifters to Ben E. King to Van Morrison as major inspirations to his personal style, his soulful voice and lyrics lift a listener’s spirit in a way very similar to that of Gavin DeGraw or John Mayer’s more modern sound.
In each and every track on his album, “These Streets,” Nutini effortlessly incorporates his personal feelings and emotions not just into the lyrics, but also into the actual vocals of the songs. He may be only 20 years old, but his lyrics prove that he is not lacking in life experiences and his rich, raspy vocals make him seem much more mature. Each song carries a unique message or story from his life. In fact, his age allows listeners of the same age to use his music as a personal outlet for their own life experiences. On his website paolonutini.com, Nutini said, “Basically, the album is an autobiographical journey, a diary if you like…,” Nutini said.
Songs about love lost, love found, losing himself and finding his way back home, allow listeners experiencing similar situations to connect with him on a deeper, more spiritual level without his lyrical stories being clich to other lyrics that have been heard before. His slow, beautifully melodic song, “Last Request,” which gained popularity this summer, forces listeners to face the truths about a relationship gone sour. “Slow down, lie down / Remember it’s just you and me / Don’t sell out, bow out / Remember how this used to be.” Engrossing feelings of remorse, desire to relive the love that once existed and acceptance of what the relationship has become, “Last Request” is a whirlwind of Paolo’s confused thoughts and ideas.
No two songs on his album are the same. Paolo is not afraid to vary the tempo of his songs, allowing listeners to have a deeper, more diversified musical experience.
“Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” is much more up-tempo and has more of rock flare than “Last Request.” This song not only shows Paolo’s variation in tempo, but also shows the range of his personality and the stories that he can tell with his music. Though it is another song about love, it is not touching or heart-warming, but rather humorous. About his experiences with an older woman who discovered his true age, “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” shows a more lighthearted side of Paolo.
Paolo’s music is not about fame or money; it is about having a deeper connection with people all around the world. All anybody in the world wants is to be able identify with someone else and to have a shared experience. Paolo’s array of stories gives that opportunity to listeners of all backgrounds. Paolo says, courtesy of purevolume.com, “All I want now is for enough people to identify with my songs so I can keep on singing them. I like to think they’re worth hearing.” Can’t argue with that.
Anna Moronski is a West Chester University student. She can be reached at AM626969@wcupa.edu.