Jack Savoretti’s latest album is the essence of European holidays | Music | Entertainment
Jack Savoretti tried to inspire his children through music
“It was all written in lockdown,” London-born Jack, 38, tells me. “I was going crazy! I realized how much I missed traveling and also that I couldn’t give my children the memories I had as a child, traveling around the Mediterranean; so I tried to bring that into their lives through music. “I wanted to create the perfect soundtrack for the best vacation we couldn’t go on.”
It worked. Savoretti’s sunny songs send you on a musical magic carpet to the white sand beaches of Italy. It’s more than just an album for raspy-voiced Jack, it’s a mission statement.
“The European style of music is never really respected”, says the singer. “There is no Grammy for European music.”
“There’s Eurovision… It’s more about television than music. Europiana is our answer to Americana. I wanted to keep the elegance and charm of our music and the feelings it arouses.”
Born Giovanni Galletto-Savoretti in Westminster to an Italian father and a half-German, half-Polish mother, Jack left England aged seven and grew up in Lugano, in the Italian part of Switzerland. , where all kinds of music floated on his gondola.
He names Luca Barbarossa, Sam Cooke, Charles Aznavour, Marvin Gaye and Crosby, Stills & Nash. “The music I listened to never defined me,” he says. “My friends took the way they dressed from their music. Not me. For me, it was cool to listen to everything.
Jack wrote poetry before learning the guitar at age 15. “I still don’t consider myself a musician,” he says. “I can’t read or write music, but I use music to tell a story.”
Europaiana Encore is now available
His first song was also the first poem he wrote – My Favorite Season, “About Fall; I wrote on a carpet of red sheets…it was a homework assignment. I wrote it on the way to school and got a good grade – okay, a B, which was fine for me. Then my mother said, ‘Why don’t you try to put it to music?’.
Ingrid’s advice changed Jack’s life.
Europaiana is her fourth top-ten album and second to reach number one. His first ‘pinch me’ moment came in July 2018 when he performed Music Too Sad’s Without You at Venice’s beautiful Teatro La Fenice.
“I was on stage with Kylie Minogue singing a song we wrote together in this beautiful theater; my wife and my father were in the royal box… it was magical.
“If you had told me to the teenager that one day I would do this. I would never have believed you.
An earlier songwriting collaboration with Bob Dylan was less glamorous.
“I would love to say that we had met in a cafe in Marrakech, but it was a story of management. His manager told my manager that Bob had written unused lyrics and asked me if I would be interested in putting them to music.
Jack performs during The Big Festival
“To my surprise, two poems arrived. A [which became Nobody ’Cept You] I felt like Bob was reading my mind.
“I played with it on the guitar for a few days and my wife was like, ‘That sounds so much like Dylan, try it on the piano’ and that’s when it became my song. Then I I had to wait two weeks for him to give it the green light.
It’s on Jack’s fourth album, Written In Scars. “On the label, it says ‘Bob Dylan/Jack Savoretti'”, he beams.
He wrote to Nile Rodgers for Europiana’s Who’s Helping Who. “Nile single-handedly changed the sound of European music,” he says. “He lived in Rome in the 70s and played their equivalent of Studio 54 – all the Italian bands wanted to learn how to play disco, funk and soul; and Spanish bands, even Julio Iglesias.
“Disco was different here. In the United States, disco was part of the counterculture – the gay bar scene or the African American scene. It was all about glamor and the celebration of life here.
“Niles said disco even sounded different in the south of France than it did in New York.
“I told him about the project. I wanted his blessing. He said: ‘You have a goal, do it!’.
Jack performs on stage at Queen Margaret’s Union
Hall & Oates star John Oates took part in When You’re Lonely after the two linked up on Instagram.
Jack lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, actress and artist Jemma Powell, and their three children; they also own a house in Formentera.
“We met at a place called The Station,” he said, his brown eyes sparkling. “It sounds romantic, but it was actually a pub on Latimer Road in West London. I was leaving, she arrived – she was amazing…I thought I’d stay again…That was a while ago 17 years.
For Jemma, her husband’s worst quality is his “identity crisis”.
“When I’m in England I feel very Italian – and in Italy I feel very English,” admits Jack. “I still feel like the out-of-town guy. For her, it’s frustrating; she said in Italy I become like Hugh Grant and in England I follow all the Italian clichés.
“She doesn’t speak as many languages as I do, so there’s a part of me she’ll never know – my secret life.”
Family is important to Jack. His father Guido, a shipbroker from Genoa, died just before Christmas.
“I got choked up on stage,” Jack said, momentarily silent. “His dream was to be an actor – he played a Mexican in Zorro [the swashbuckling 1975 film] and had a line, “Where’s the key?”, which became a family joke. He lived vicariously through my adventures.
Jack’s grandfather, Giovanni, was the leader of the local partisans fighting Mussolini’s fascists during World War II. “He was a war hero; he has roads named after him in Genoa,” he says proudly.
Young Jack spent two months a year in nearby Portofino, a quaint fishing village. “I remember the music coming out of the piano bars while my sister and I were waiting for our parents…”
He speaks fondly of singers like Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg and Patty Pravo.
Before tapping into his continental roots, Jack Rakish played dreamy folk, cutting his teeth in bars like The Cluny in Newcastle. “Most people play it once, I’ve played it twenty times,” he says.
By contrast, his next gig will be at the 3,000-seat Hampton Court Palace where there’s every chance that his deep, warm voice – “a mix of honey and sandpaper” – romantic lyrics and dazzling looks. idol in matinee trigger marriage proposals.
“It happens often,” he says. “I asked a guy why he proposed on my show and he said he wanted to take his girlfriend to Rome but it was cheaper.”
Jack poses in New York in 2010
Falling with his first label at 25 almost ended his career, but now his fan base is growing faster than inflation.
Jack spent the lockdown honing his skills on his Bechstein grand piano. “When I bought it, it was like buying a tuxedo that’s too small for you and needs to be adjusted, my goal was to make the piano work for me; so, I learned a cover a day and played it on Instagram. I did 65, that’s how I got good. I continue to learn.
“I was going to write a book of poetry but I had an affair with the piano instead. The piano seduced me.
Europaiana topped the charts last year. This month’s Encore reboot adds six songs. “I wanted to give the album a second life because the lockdown meant we couldn’t tour. We had built the ship, but we were stuck in port. Now we’re off again.
Its 2022 UK dates have sold out, but UK festivals and European shows abound. Despite critical acclaim, Jack suffers from impostor syndrome.
“I feel like someone is going to understand me,” he says. “The only time I believe is when we’re playing live.
“The only reason we can do this is because of people buying tickets. I never forget that.
*Europiana Encore is now available; go to jacksavoretti.com