In much the same way that José González
hails from Sweden and not Spain, Paolo Nutini
is not a smooth Italian pop star, but rather a soul-influenced adult alternative songwriter from Paisley, Scotland. Raised in a music-loving family, he grew up listening to a range of folk, opera, jazz, and his father's R&B favorites. Shortly after discovering homegrown folkies like John Martyn
, the teenaged Nutini
left school to focus on his own musical development, eventually moving from Paisley to London at age 16 and garnering attention via local gigs. He inked a deal with the British arm of Atlantic Records two years later, just several weeks after his 18th birthday.
Working with Coldplay
and Badly Drawn Boy
producer Ken Nelson, Nutini
generated an impressive amount of buzz before his first single, "Last Request," was released in the early summer of 2006. He appeared at special Atlantic Records showcases at Carnegie Hall and the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as showcase sets opening for the Rolling Stones
and Paul Weller
's debut album, These Streets
, was ultimately released in July 2006 alongside his second single, "Jenny Don't Be Hasty." The album fared quite well in the U.K., where it climbed to double-platinum status and sent four singles into the Top 40. Accordingly, an American release followed in January 2007.
For Paolo Nutini
's second album, the songwriter took a more active role in the production, partnering with Ethan Johns
but helming much of the material himself. The resulting record, Sunny Side Up
, appeared in June 2009, featuring increased contributions from Nutini
's backing band and a bright, sprightly disposition. Sunny Side Up
was a number one hit in the UK -- one of the biggest selling albums of the year -- and went on to claim Best Album at the Ivor Novello Awards.
An appearance on Johnny Boy Would Love This...A Tribute To John Martyn was followed in 2011 by performances at Glastonbury, Latitude and the Montreux Jazz Festival, before Paolo Nutini
reached arguably his largest ever audience as part of London's 2012 Olympics Games concert at Hyde Park.