Hi, my name is Jack Savoretti... What else would you like to know?" The UK singer-songwriter said as he let out a laugh when he stopped by the Baeble offices. Well, there were a couple of things we wanted to know: how he got into making music, the meaning behind his latest album Sleep No More, and of course, if he could play some stripped down songs for us. Savoretti started with "Only You" and we were immediately head over heels in love with his raspy growl and understated charm. He continued with "I'm Yours" and the first song he wrote for the album, "When We Were Lovers."
"It is about all the things that keep me up at night, and those are good things, bad things, and things that haven't even happened yet. I think those are the typical situations of most men and women my age," the singer said when asked to explain the meaning behind the title of his album. "It's a combination of the life I used to have... And now it's different to parenting, being a good husband, being a good man, working more, and trying to provide and be responsible. It's a combination of passion and responsibility and doing that, I found there's not much time for sleep." That balance between being passionate and responsible is evident throughout his songs. There's so much passion and feeling in his performance and when you listen to the lyrics, you hear that he's singing about being faithful to the one he loves, "Now I really get what love is for, it hit me at the stroke of midnight," he sings in "I'm Yours." "Only you is all I need, only you know where to go to get to me," he loyally pledges once again in "Only You."
For anyone going through a new phase in life, for anyone who feels like it's time to grow up (and don't we all feel like that sometimes?), Savoretti's captivating lyricism and unique voice will stick with you for a while.
Hi. My name is Jack Sovoretti. What else would you like to know? Yeah. When I was a kid, I loved writing poetry, so to speak. I mean, it's a big word to use, the word "approach. " I liked scribbling ideas that didn't need rules and regulations and want essays basically. I wasn't a very academic young man and so poetry was the first thing I came across that, sort of... Little did I know, but to me at the time, at least it didn't have many rules, any rules, if that. So it was a very free way of creating, but I wasn't very good at it, and then the same thing kind of happened with me in music. I started playing drums at a young age and then wanted to learn more instruments, and I wasn't very good at that either. So it was kind of the combination of two things that I was pretty half-assed at doing that allowed me to really express what I wanted to express. So I wasn't good enough to be a writer, wasn't good enough to be a musician, but a musical writer, so to speak, a songwriter, kind of just worked for me. It kind of allowed me exactly the amount of space I need to sort of say, what I need to... what I felt like expressing. Hi. I'm Jack Sovoretti, and this is my song, Only you. Traveled rough to get ourselves here Left our indifference behind With your courage, I escaped my fears You learned to say what's on your mind Now we live our loving memories Growing heart to heart Burning like an open fire We came out from the dark Only you is all I need Only you know where to go to get to me Only you can set me free Stop me living behind the lines of enemies Waiting for someone to rescue me We traveled far to get ourselves here Now laughter dries the tears we cried Through the good times and the bad, my dear We suffered for each other's crimes So I took the love you gave me closer to my heart You took the songs I sang for you alone in the dark Only you is all I need Only you know where to go to get to me Only you can set me free Stop me living, stop me living behind the lines of enemies When I'm with you, baby It's a beautiful life Together this world feels like home Walk beside me now until the end of time Without you, I feel so alone Only you is all I need Only you know where to go to get to me Only you can set me free Stop me living, stop me living, now Stop me living, behind the lines of enemies My new album is called Sleep No More. The reason I called it Sleep No More is kind of to define the album. It is about all the things that keep me up at night, and those are good things, bad things, and things that have even happened yet, and I think those are the typical situations of most men and women of my age leaving the naiveness of, sort of, adolescence behind and taking on responsibility and that famous old growing up tag. I think it's a combination of the life I used to have, which meant very little sleep and a lot of work and a lot of fun as well, and now it's different to parenting, being a good husband, being a good man, working more and trying to provide and be responsible. So it's a combination of passion and responsibility and finding a balance between the two, and doing that I've found that there's not much time for sleep. I had no master plan I had no grand design I got a little out of hand I got a little out of line That ain't me no more I'm leaving that life behind I'm yours Now I really get what love is for It hit me at the stroke of midnight You give me a reason I didn't know I was looking for I'm yours Never going back Not now, I can be the man I couldn't be before I'm yours Now I really get what love is for It hit me at the stroke of midnight You give me a reason I didn't know I was looking for I'm yours I knew where I was going When I looked into your eyes Right when I least expected You set the room alight Now I'm yours I'm yours, yes You give me a reason I didn't know I was looking for I'm yours Now I really get what love is for It hit me at the stroke of midnight You give me a reason I didn't know I was looking for I'm yours I'm yours, yes I'm not a perfectionist at all, but I really want to capture the moment the song sort of comes to life, and I think that's what excites me about songwriting and about songs in general, is the spontaneous side to it. I find when I go back and edit and rethink, it loses a lot of what is genuine about it. It might get better in a technical sense or in a commercial sense, but it usually loses, for me, the actual meaning that I was obviously trying to get out when it showed up. This is my love helplessly fading I'm a father of two kids so when I'm at home, writing is not really an option, and when we're on the road, this sort of dream of being in the tour bus writing songs isn't an option either. We're usually pretty busy doing stuff when we're on the road, so there's no time, and it was really frustrating me, because I was trying to write during those periods anyway, initially, and then it was kind of like I was dripping these ideas all the time, and then by the time I'm going to the studio, the tank was half empty, because I'd let all these little ideas go, so I decided to sort of bottle it all in, which isn't, probably, the healthiest thing, but when I get to the studio now, at least I'm pretty guaranteed something is going to show up. Something is going to come out. I remember dancing in the pouring rain Calling you up just to say your name We felt like lovers We felt like lovers Reaching for your hand when you pulled away Every time I'd leave you'd beg me to stay We felt like lovers Living life under covers We sailed through love and war We'd fight for everything and more To save the night The night was all we saw That's what the darkness is for Look at the time And the time that it's taken Is this love like the love we were making When we were lovers When we were lovers Two hearts beating in stereo Never needed maps to tell us where to go We followed the stars, But they took us too far So we sailed through love and war We'd fight for everything and more To save the night The night was all we saw That's what the darkness is for Look at the time Ad the time that it's taken Is this love like the love we were making When we were lovers When we were lovers Giving it all was everything we were giving Living for each other Was why we were living When we were lovers Living life under covers Here we are slowly falling apart Every broken promise is a broken heart Look at the time and the time that it's taken Is this love like the love we were making When we were lovers When we were lovers Giving it all was everything we were giving Living for each other was why we were living When we were lovers Living life under covers It felt like love, love, felt like love, love When We Were Lovers was the first song I wrote for Sleep No More. It is reminiscing as to what we were, but it's also definitely coming to terms with how great and how much better at what we are today is. I hope people find comfort in it. I definitely hope it's an album that... It's the album I would like to listen to now, not that I do listen to my own album, but it's speaking about the things that I'm going through at this age, at this time of my life, and I found that not many other albums out there were really giving me that same sort of comfort. So I hope people find comfort in it.
Sometimes you dont know what your story is until you step away from the page. With Jack Savorettis last album, 2015s 100,000 selling Written In Scars, it was clear. Having been feted as the next big thing as a 20-year-old singer-songwriter, Savoretti quickly realised that the people around him didnt share his vision for what his songs could be. Instead of keeping quiet and playing the game he wrestled away creative control for himself. He won his artistic freedom, but he lost his golden ticket to fame. Tossed back down to the bottom of the pile, the next seven years were spent on spirit-crushing tours as he struggled to make his way and support his family. Frustrated, veering off the rails and about to give up on it all, he poured his anguish into those battle-worn songs. The albums title couldnt have been clearer: these songs were forged in his struggles.
A top ten album and a sold-out worldwide tour later, Written In Scars had made him a star. So what was his story now?
Wed been touring and everybody around me was like, 'Lets get another one, this is working - Do you have anything to say? recalls Savoretti. I kind of panicked. I thought, 'Im not sure. Ive been too busy touring and working to think about it. You have this illusion that as a musician on tour youll be writing on the tourbus, writing in your hotel room fuck that. The last thing you want to do is write because you dont have time. I used to get really disappointed because I was coming back with nothing so I decided, 'Im not going to even think about writing. Just lock it up, bottle it all up. So when I got back I was literally knocking on the doors of all my friends studios going, 'Somebody let me in!!!
With music practically bursting out of him, Savoretti set himself a rule that each song would be written, recorded and completed from scratch in one single day. I wanted to capture how you sing a song for the first time, he recalls. Its really hard to replicate, you can never beat that performance. It might not be pitch perfect but there will be something in it the connects.
Stick Sleep No More on your stereo and that edict seems even more preposterous. How on earth could a song like Troubled Souls propulsive soul-bearing or the surging atmospherics of Deep Waters have gone from inception to completion in roughly the same amount of time it takes to complete a couple of spreadsheets, go to the gym and pick up a few bits for tea?
Was it incredibly difficult? he thinks before letting out a rasping chuckle. No its actually lazy. Im not a perfectionist. On the contrary, Im like 'No, thats great! Lets go with this!
That intuition has paid off in spades. Sleep No More is even richer, more varied and emotionally affecting than its predecessor. Its musical waters are deeper, the palette broader and - even though its creator didn't realise it at the time - it has a story that rings just as true as Written In Scars' anguished tales.
"It's a love letter which I hadn't realised," notes Savoretti. "I listened to it the other day just me and a mate and he was like, 'Is everything OK?'... 'Yeah, I'm fine!' [laughs]"
That's not to say it's a love letter in the Clintons Cards, Cadbury's Roses sense. Sleep No More is an album about the very real struggles of holding on to love against the odds. About the trouble, the turmoil and the ultimate realisation that you can't fight the battles life throws you into on your own.
"Its the first album Ive written as an adult... as somebody trying to be an adult at least!" laughs Savoretti. "It's no longer me against the world. Written in Scars was my final hurrah: 'Its me against the world, fuck you, were doing it for ourselves'. This one isnt. Its a late-night conversation. Its 2 oclock in the morning, by a fireplace, coming to realisations, insomniac ideas. Its the stuff that keeps you up at night."
Lead single When We Were Lovers is the perfect opening act. A dramatic snapshot of love as a tempestuous adventure. Maddening yes, but thrilling and perfectly captured in the song's stampeding rush. Before there's time to catch your breath we plunge straight into Deep Waters. One of many songs to show the increasing adventurousness of Savoretti and his band, it swirls around the listener, pulling you into its depths with shapeshifting waves of sound and shadowy guitar twangs. Savoretti may have started out as a lonely acoustic troubadour, relying on not much more than his songs and that singular, careworn growl, but this is an album with its viewfinder set to widescreen. Helpless's tessellating guitar lines and switching rhythms owe as much to Arcade Fire and Broken Bells as they do to the likes of Bob Dylan or Neil Young. The title track is a gorgeous cinematic sweep that draws from Savoretti's rich Italian heritage, both in its Morricone-like musical flourishes and the images of battlefields and emotionally exhausted last stands. Savoretti's paternal grandfather was a revered partisan who liberated Genoa from the fascists during World War Two, while his mother's father was a refugee who made his way through war-torn Europe to eventually raise a family in the UK. The singer concedes that hearing tales of his family's heroism growing up shaped the way in which he frames his own stories as a songwriter.
"Not only does it come out in the song writing, it comes out in the man I want to be. These were men that fought in wars, that lost their own to save their families, did some amazing feats and succeeded as men. Created families, did their jobs, provided, were successful at what they did while having all this fucking baggage behind them. We have our issues, but these guys have some serious fucking issues. Its always an inspiration."
Thanks to the directness of Savorettis writing and the universality of the truths he sings about, the themes on Sleep No More could apply as much to those in his grandfather's generation in the Italian mountains as they do to a father of two trying to make ends meet in West London in 2016.
"I thought, 'Maybe I should try and write an album for guys like me, what were going through,'" he notes. "How it is hard being a dad, its hard keeping a job, its hard paying bills, its hard not to turn into an alcoholic or a drug addict at the same time. It was kind of accumulating all that as a theme. The struggles of the modern man! [laughs]"
Savoretti may have not known it when they came pouring out of him, but each song is its own story that serves as a chapter in Sleep Now More's arc. Just as he knew the album had to open with When We Were Lovers, it was clear it had to finish on Lullaby Loving. Combining the dry lyrical wit of Leonard Cohen and the romantic poeticism of Mediterranean gypsy folk music, it begins by painting an image of himself as a wandering, roguish musician who is transformed by love, marriage and fatherhood; pleading as the song comes to a close "Don't give up on our love, don't give up on us..."
"This album is very much the acknowledgement that Im still a mess, Im still lost, Im still against the wall, but you guys are here, and I really need it," thinks Savoretti. "Its a declaration: I need you guys, don't go anywhere just yet."
It turns out he did have a story to tell after all.