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Paolo Nutini on routines, laser beams and…Advocaat…

This Saturday Paolo Nutini headlines Glasgow Summer Sessions at Bellahouston Park. With support from the amazing Grace Jones, the line up also features sets from The View, Soak and one of our own favourites, Tuff Love.

Earlier this year one of Glasgow Music City Tours’ founders, Fiona Shepherd, met up with Paolo for what can only be described as a big blether. We’ve selected some of Paolo’s musings for you below and hope you enjoy.



Glasgow’s a good place for that, the stuff that you actually see when you look up, when you’re not looking at your phone or checking out some girl or guy or looking at some nut-job that’s shouting in the street…

clock tower

…if you ignore all that, all the other things that you just miss when you’re just looking and you’re not distracted, that’s what I find myself doing.


Routines are nice sometimes. It can be good for your sanity—and not. That’s something that for the last few years my life has been absent of — routine. I don’t know what time zone I’m in anymore. I get sleep when I fall asleep. It’s amazing the shit I set out to do at 3 in the morning. Night-time’s for poets…


It’s not the most bright and breezy album I would say, which is why I don’t want there to be a misunderstanding where other people think I’m tortured. That’s why I like the idea of people hearing the song Funk My Life Up. That was a bit of fun. I liked the idea of meeting this girl coming along and knocking you sideways, laser beams, that’s what I kept envisaging, rainbows and laser beams, just knocking you senseless out to this other dimension and you just go and vanish away and you have this period of time where nobody else exists.


When you think about it, what do you do it for? If it’s all about making money and it being a job, you’d be as well sticking in and being a dentist or a doctor if you want that consistency because if that’s the way you’re approaching your music then it’s very restrictive I feel. It’s all about giving people good memories, good times and letting your songs hopefully be a part of that.


I used to drink Advocaat all the time when I was a kid – it was only a few years ago I found out it was alcoholic. My grandpa would say ‘here’s a wee Advocaat’ and on the other side Eddie, who I grew up knowing as my grandfather on my mum’s side, he used to put Irn Bru in my milk. I think I just used to entertain him because it used to send me loopy and he just loved watching this crazy little kid. I think between the two of them, when I trace the steps back, it starts to explain a little bit more about where I’ve got to now.


I’ve been playing a lot more. I should be a better musician than I am, fuck, much better, given that it’s technically been my career. It seems that no matter how much I practise and play—I apply it to my songwriting, I apply it to the work we do in the studio and it seems to be fine — but when I go up and sing a song on the stage, no matter how much I’ve got it in the bag, I just disappear. Everyone always used to say ‘open your eyes’. Everybody’s convinced I’m three-sheets-to-the-wind when I go onstage. I’ve never been drunk once. I might have a couple of beers in the middle of the gig to loosen things up but, I mean, drunk —I wouldn’t go and do that on somebody’s time that has paid to see the show.

I do see myself as a performer but for whatever reason when I’m on the stage and I see people watching me, and I know I’m singing my opinions and my points of view and my experiences, the only way I can do it— and I’m learning how to marry them both better — but the only way I used to be able to do it was to go into my own wee world and just perform it. And then I got more comfortable with it and not only that, I realised that there has to be more interaction. It was like ‘okay, let’s do that’ but even with that I find I just won’t go into where I could go which I think is the best place for me to go vocally.

band Cheering

I’m lucky, the guys in the band just now, they’re fantastic. I know that some people associate that with musical integrity and being a real musician and I agree when I look at it from an outsider’s point of view. It’s always nicer to see somebody playing and singing a song and it always seems to be more credible for some reason. I’m conscious of that but a lot of the time the instrument holds me back as a frontman /lead vocalist from going somewhere that I like, that I think everybody wants me to go to and I want to go to. That’s part of the challenge now, breaking that down, and I think that’s going to come more when I can strap on an electric guitar and go out and thrash on it.


I fell in love with The Buzzcocks. I always knew a few songs. They were always around but in the last three years they’ve been my party tunes and that’s inspired a lot of the songs that are lingering in the background.

Tickets still available for Glasgow Music City Tours on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th August