Though his name might seem a bit misleading, Paolo Nutini is actually from Scotland. The 22-year-old British singer-songwriter, who is often lumped with the likes of James Blunt and Damien Rice, offers up his second album of blue-eyed soul this week, rather optimistically titled Sunny Side Up.
“It’s a flat out positive message, what I’m singing about, it’s a good vibe,” explains Nutini. “I really wanted to project from the album a positivity about what’s happening about life. It’s pretty idealistic, but it kind of gets thrown in your face. There’s no room to be an idealist sometimes. But it’s a happy record.”
Nutini says he stays happy, in part, by staying true to his roots. After a brief stint in London to land a record deal, Nutini now lives back in his hometown of Paisley, Scotland, near his family, whose influence come through on the new album, like on the new track “Simple Things,” about his dad. “One thing I have got is the family base, and I’m lucky for it—grateful for it,” he says. “My dad has instilled a lot of the good values in me, I guess I owe a lot to him. Just want to keep my dad happy.”
Sunny Side Up was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in London and at the remote Grouse Lodge studios in Westmeath, Ireland, where Nutini felt especially inspired. “The kind of freedom it gives you to be creative, rather than being intimidated by the studio, and there are not a lot of distractions,” he says. “It was really based on throwing ideas around. It’s all about just making it the way you want to sound, and a lot of it was done just in the studio.”
The album brims with Nutini’s varied influences – from R&B to ragtime – revealing a musician far ahead of his young age. He’s looking forward to playing his new songs across the U.S. this summer, though he admits he’ll miss the comforts of home. “I just got a house and I’ve been in it for a week, so if I could pack that I would,” he says with a laugh. “I’ll miss the Scottish national drink, [Scottish candy bar] Caramel Logs, and things you’ve never heard of.”