Italian-English singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti lands in the U.S. this month, hoping to seize the momentum that made him one of 2016’s hottest U.K. breakthroughs after nearly a decade knocking on the door.
Savoretti’s fifth album and second for BMG, Sleep No More, which debuted at No. 6 on the Official Charts Company survey in November, is the focus of a U.S. push by the label that includes a concert in Los Angeles (Jan. 19) and New York City (Jan. 25). The record’s instant top 10 status in the U.K. owed much to the artist’s hugely improved profile since its predecessor Written In Scars, first released in Feb. 2015, turned into an old-fashioned, slow-burning phenomenon.
Scars had an initial U.K. chart run including three weeks in the top 40, and reappeared in the bestsellers several times during the year. But it was the performance by Savoretti and his band on BBC1’s The Graham Norton Show in January 2016 that gave the record a sales transfusion, catapulting it into the top 10. It’s now sold 155,000 copies there, according to the OCC, and more than 200,000 worldwide, with further success in Italy and Switzerland.
Such was the public response to Savoretti’s British TV appearance that he was invited back to play on the show’s Dec. 16 edition, this time giving further impetus to the follow-up. Sleep No More immediately returned to the top 40 and now has U.K. sales of 58,000.
Now, after earlier visits around previous, independent releases, Savoretti is raring to cross the Atlantic anew. He will play Hollywood’s Hotel Café Jan. 19 and New York’s Rockwood Music Hall Jan. 25, and with those previous sorties and his musical predilections, he regards the trip as a sort of homecoming.
“I’ve always predominantly listened to American music, so when I’ve made records, I do always think ‘It’s a shame this isn’t being pushed more in America,’” Savoretti says. “With the last one, BMG had just started as a label and it was the first album we’d done with them, and I think everybody was a bit cautious.
“With Sleep No More, it’s kind of a reboot, and it seems the American guys have got really excited about it. The team is being built for battle, that’s what’s nice to see.”
Savoretti worked the U.S. market around his first album Between The Minds, released in 2007. He scored sync deals for tracks on that record on such shows as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill and, in 2009, had his song “One Day” in the movie Post Grad, starring Michael Keaton. Indeed, the cover shot for that year’s sophomore album Harder Than Easy was taken at one of the very venues he’s about to visit, the Hotel Café.
Savoretti, British-born to Italian parents, studied at the American School in Switzerland as a child. “I grew up in a mini-America in the middle of Europe,” he jokes. “I feel more at home speaking to American people than most people in the world — the humor, the culture.
“All my true, close old school friends are American. So it doesn’t scare me. I moved to L.A. when I was 17, so it was always a place I was drawn to,” he adds. “Career-wise, it started really well in America, and then I never really toured or traveled. But I don’t write songs like an English songwriter, because I was raised on ’60s Californian and Italian music. So that might work to my favor.”
“Jack Savoretti is a global priority for BMG, and we’re targeting North America and Continental Europe for 2017,” says BMG executive VP Alistair Norbury. “We’ve seen how Jack immediately connects and audiences instantly respond whether it be in concert, on radio or TV, where Jack uniquely performed twice last year on the BBC Graham Norton Show. As a result, BMG are committing the necessary resources, and Jack the dedicated time, that it will take to achieve the same results in North America.”
Savoretti’s excitement about his new U.S. team, which also includes agents CAA, is palpable. But his slow climb to success has made him more philosophical than many, and well-adjusted to what lies ahead. “For sure, your skin is a bit thicker,” he laughs. “You’ve been out in the rain long enough to not really give a shit if it stops, you know you can always wait it out.
“But the advice I give to anybody starting out is, get into a place, and understand that no label needs you. Get to a point where you don’t need them. So then when you do work together, it’s really genuine. And that’s when things can be fun.”