x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Paolo Nutini pleasantly surprised by Emirates fanbase

Scottish pop star due to play for first time in Dubai discovers existence of far-away fans.

Scottish popster Paolo Nutini is making his first trip to the Middle East
Scottish popster Paolo Nutini is making his first trip to the Middle East

ABU DHABI // Paolo Nutini, the Scottish singer-songwriter who will play for the first time in Dubai on Friday, says he was surprised to find that he had fans so far from home. The 23-year-old star, whose second album, Sunny Side Up, topped the British charts last May, said: "With that amount of people who want to see you play, you know it's really about the music and not about the other rubbish."

Nutini, best known for his hits Candy and Last Request, said he was always pleased to find new listeners discovering his songs. "After having the two records out over the last three or four years, and having been trying to make something of myself for a few years before that, it's always surprises you to think that people are still finding out about your music," he said. Nutini, who grew up in Paisley, near Glasgow, said he travelled with his family around Europe as a child, but this would be his first trip to the Middle East.

"We would travel a fair bit within Europe but never too far astray. But over the last few years I've been nearly everywhere." Nutini said he was "very curious" about Dubai. "I try not to come in with a lot of preconceptions. I try to just wait and see. Everybody says something just a little bit different about it. I'm curious to see this Irish Village," he said, referring to the Garhoud venue where he is due to perform.

Nutini, who lists Fats Domino, John Martyn and Carole King among his influences, said there were no plans in the works for more shows in the region, but he was open to the possibility. "We'll see how this one goes. If people come and they want us back, then yes, of course. It's not that far away - six hours. "I'm always looking for people to play the songs to. "I know in Dubai, I understand it's obviously a very British audience but at the same time it's the setting - it adds some more romance to the show. Really, if you've got people who want you to play, you play."

The pop legend Elton John and the guitarist Carlos Santana will entertain 60,000 horse racing fans at the Dubai World Cup on March 27. @Email:klewis@thenational.ae