This much I know: Paolo Nutini, singer, 22, London

Paolo Nutini, singer, 22, London

I owe my career to reality TV. I come from Paisley, the same town as David Sneddon, who won Fame Academy. When he was late for his homecoming reception in the town hall they held an impromptu talent show. I ended up singing some songs and that's how I was discovered.

Some people can't understand a Scottish accent. Jonathan Ross was jibing me when I went on his show, saying he could only understand every third word. That's better than most.

Singing the blues doesn't mean you're miserable. Music is a good way to channel your fragile, vulnerable, needy side but it's also something to rejoice in. When you see old footage of [the blues singer] Willie Dixon performing, he was always smiling.

My voice comes from my grandfather. He used to sing a lot of arias around the house. I spent a lot of time with him when my parents were working at their fish and chip shop. He worked there, too, and his father before him.

Alcohol seems to bring out a lot of violence in people but it just makes me a bit merry, then tired and then sick.

It's surprising what you find out about yourself when you become famous. I was walking into a bar a few weeks ago when I heard this girl shouting my name. I thought, "I'm not turning round," and she shouted it again, and I thought, "Nope, I'm going to keep walking." Then I heard her say to her friend, "It's not him anyway, he's not got that big an arse."

You walk with a different air if you're wearing something sharp. Russell Brand does it well - his sexy, dirty look explains why he's always hanging off the arm of a different woman.

Love doesn't go hand in hand with touring but being with my girlfriend just feels right.

There's a big heroin problem in Paisley. You see needles everywhere.

Sometimes the last thing you want to do is to go on stage and bare your soul in front of hundreds of complete strangers. Singing the same songs night after night can remind you of things you'd rather forget.

I smoke pot, I don't see it as being seedy or dirty. There are mental health implications of course, but it's not like you're on a straight path: smoke a joint and then go mad.

I've only once hit someone with precision.

Everybody's slagged off for something where I come from. Most of the time it's in jest and then you get a couple of guys who mean it maliciously. I was teased for being chubby as a kid but it was nothing too scarring.

I'm not rich. I freaked out when I found out how much the tax man takes.

You shouldn't be shy when famous people ask you to perform with them, you should respect the fact they want you to be there. I've sung with people such as the Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock but I didn't let it unnerve me.

I wanted my latest record to convey joy.

Some people don't like to lose at anything, never mind a brawl. In Paisley you have these wee guys talking to you like they're 7ft tall. Ask them their surname and you realise why they're so aggressive - they've got five big brothers, four crazy cousins, two mad uncles and so on.

If you just sit on your success, it will fizzle out.

• "Sunny Side Up" is out now on Atlantic Recordings. Paolo's UK tour runs from 27 September-15 October. For information, visit

Catherine Rapley

The GuardianTramp

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