Monday 26 February 2018

Interrogation: Paulo Nutini on Ireland and why Metallica might beat him up

Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini

Eamon Sweeney chats to Paulo Nutini about loving Ireland and how Metallica might beat him up over something he never said

Profession: Singer, Musician and Songwriter

What are you promoting today, and why?

I'm in Cork doing two shows in the Marquee and I've got Electric Picnic and the O2 in the pipeline. I've lots of good memories of playing over here. I remember flying over for the Arthur's Day shows. I squeezed in four different sets. At that point a real buzz started. I've since come back and recorded parts of the last two records in Grouse Lodge in Westmeath. While I was doing them I could go out in Moate and Athlone and have a good laugh in the bars and meet really nice people. The vibes have always been very good and I've always had a lot of fun.

What is the most rewarding thing about your life?

I've been very, very lucky since I was kid in the way that my life has unfolded. I've got to experience a lot of different cultures and travel a lot, which has given me a lot of perspective on the world. I can take family and friends with me and I've had a lot of good memories so far. Communicating with a lot of people through music is amazing. You can make yourself kindred with somebody you haven't even met.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

It is just my way of expressing myself. I was aware of that from a very early age that I was expressive, so it was just a case of finding out what that was. There is something very primal and feral about singing. Also, it's not competitive. The voice is a very simple and pure instrument. Otherwise I'd probably still be working in my parents' chip shop.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd like to be a bit more patient at certain times. Maybe to take a little bit off my nose. It keeps on growing all the time. Sometimes I look back at some of the dodgy outfits I wore in the past and wonder what on earth was I thinking. Why did I wear so many waistcoats?

What's the rumour about you that's bothered you the most?

Ha ha ha! Most of them have been fairly accurate. None of them really bother me. There was one about me in Glastonbury refusing to watch Metallica because I thought they were old and boring. I actually went to see them and dragged a load of people along. They put on a really good show in a very prestigious slot. I'm actually a big fan, so I've no idea where that came from. Maybe one day I'll be walking down the street and James Hatfield will give me a smack in the jaw. At least I will know why.

It's Sunday night, you're curling up to watch TV. What's on your DVR?

I've been watching a good bit of Reeves and Mortimer. There is a new HBO thing called The Leftovers coming out which is good. I've just finished watching Fargo.

What's the most shamefully uncool album you own?

Is Jive Bunny uncool? I'm also an ABBA fan. I've a lot of early Elton John stuff that my friends say is not cool, but it works for me.

Who is your best friend?

Ha ha ha! Why you are my friend! That's a good question... I've a right hand man who is my mate Mark. He knows me better than most. He's an architect and all round party man.

Do you like being well known?

I don't think about it too much. There are times when it comes more apparent than others. It's really nice to meet new people and most of the time they are very cool and really lovely, so it's all good.

What drives you on a daily basis?

Curiosity and a desire to discover what that day has in store for me. My approach is to do it with real conviction, or else just forget about it. As soon as I start singing, it all goes out the window. When it all comes together and kicks in with the band and the songs and the crowd, I'm like, 'Yeah, I'll have this'.

Who is your hero?

My old man. I got a lot of respect for him when I started working in his chip shop and only then realised how many sacrifices he made. After the pubs closed there could be trouble. He'd work incredibly long hours, but he'd never even treat himself to buying a new shirt.

What makes you emotional?

Many, many things in various different ways. After a heavy night, just about anything. Even watching a soap opera.

What's your favourite day of the week?

Sundays seem to be pretty good to me.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Probably on some couch somewhere drinking. At least let's hope so. I'd love the new album to be the start of something new and get all my ideas and opinions out there in the next few years. I've been very, very lucky boy so far.


1987 - Born in Paisley, Scotland.

2009 - Second album Sunny Side Up goes to number 1.

2014 - Relases third album Caustic Love, the fastest selling album of 2014.

Paulo Nutini plays the Electric Picnic and the O2, Dublin on November 3. Caustic Love is out now.

Irish Independent

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