A couple of months ago, you couldn't turn on the tube after 11 p.m. without seeing a virtually unknown kid by the name of Paolo Nutini singing about his "New Shoes". Thanks partly to that network blitz, he is now able to pack mid-size music halls across the States. Mind you, that hasn't slowed down his TV schedule any.
"We're on a late-night tour–anything we can book, basically," confirms the Scottish singer-songwriter, calling from an Alabama hotel room. "We're going to be on Ski TV up in Colorado at one o'clock in the morning. I'll be performing on a ski slope," he says, taking the piss out of himself. "I'm only joking, but if the company could, they would."
The record company he's referring to is Warner Music, where the promotional department has been working overtime giving its pretty boy from Paisley and his debut album, These Streets, one monster of a push in North America–something that Nutini is mindful of.
"I don't want to be on every late-night TV show on the air–or morning TV show, for that matter, because I've been on a couple of them too," he says. "You run the risk of being like a little petulant kid, which is really cute for an hour. But after that, you feel like picking him up, taking him into the next room, and leaving him alone because he's annoying."
So far, though, Nutini has only had to put his foot down once or twice with regard to possible overexposure.
"Your priorities and prerogatives have got to come into play sometimes, so it doesn't get too ridiculous," says the 20-year-old, who has yet to be sandwiched between Rosie and Babs on The View. "But the thing is if you come in with guns blazing like, 'No I'm not fucking doing this or that,' they [label execs] don't tend to work any harder for you. You're really just shooting yourself in the foot if you do that."
And there's no denying that the TV appearances, "next-big-thing" write-ups, and the pimpin' press pack are all paying off. Vancouver is one of several stops on a tour where shows have been bumped up to bigger venues. (Richard's on Richards was upgraded to the Commodore.) But to credit all this hype to a big-label budget would be grossly unfair. The wee lad does have one hell of a soulful voice and just as important, he knows his way around a hook. Joe Cocker-esque rockers like "Jenny Don't Be Hasty", "New Shoes", and "Alloway Grove" are worthy of every marketing dollar spent. And the ballads aren't too shabby either, even if "White Lies" sounds a tad too much like Jeff Buckley lite. But aside from that, Nutini is definitely, ahem, one to watch.
Paolo Nutini plays the Commodore Ballroom on Thursday (March 29).