‘I panic every time I see Boris’ – Jack Savoretti’s anguish as music and culture ‘pushed aside’ by COVID rules | Ents & Arts News
Like so many musicians Jack Savoretti is finding it tough not being able to promote his new record on the road like he usually would.
His seventh studio album, Europiana, is out later this month, and while traditionally a release is followed by a string of live dates, the singer is not due to tour until March.
Postponed concerts have become the norm since the coronavirus outbreak, and with the live sector hit by yet more uncertainty following Boris Johnson’s announcement that restrictions will no longer be lifted on 21 June, Savoretti admits he doesn’t welcome the prime minister’s news conferences.
“I get a panic attack every time I see Boris show up on television,” he told Sky News.
“Everything I thought I knew, he’s probably about to tell me that was all nonsense and it’s going to be completely different as of tomorrow.
“That seems to sort of be his game plan I think, like let’s just wait and see and then I’ll let you know in the last minute what happens, which is all fine for him, but for everybody else I think it makes it really hard.”
It’s almost two years since the musician last played a gig with his band, and while he’s finding it tough personally, he’s far more concerned about the wider impact on the arts and hospitality industries.
“When you look at some of these industries and what they’ve given back financially as well as culturally, the lack of support they’re getting is something to be ashamed of,” Savoretti said.
“I think the lack of respect a lot of these industries have got is shocking, especially here in the UK where they are so prominent, they are so important – probably some of the greatest things that we export from the UK is the culture, is art, is theatre, is entertainment.
“For those to be sort of pushed aside, it seems to be the industry getting the least support, that I find really, really sad.”
The artist, who is half Italian and lived in Switzerland for a time while growing up, says seeing how other countries are responding to the issues caused by the pandemic, has for him highlighted failings in the UK response.
While realistic about the challenges posed, Savoretti says he’s frustrated by what he sees as the government U-turning.
“I don’t really think anybody is getting it completely right, this is new ground for everybody but I do think the inconsistency and the continuous sort of last minute change of plans, I don’t understand that strategy,” he said.
“I have been able to travel over to Italy and to drop in to Switzerland during some promo for work and visiting my family over the last few months and there seems to be the same amount of safety.
“You know nobody’s rushing in to any madness, but there seems to be a lot more understanding about what is to come, where here the rug keeps getting pulled from underneath people’s feet.
“I don’t really understand this last minute thing – I’ll let you know tomorrow – and then suddenly there is a change. I don’t understand how that’s supposed to benefit people, but, you know, that’s the way it is… It’s heartbreaking is basically the only thing I can say.”
The international nature of Savoretti’s life is celebrated in his new record which he wrote during the first lockdown last year, when much of the UK experienced a Mediterranean-like summer.
He says that while he was inspired by the weather, he also wanted to capture the need for escapism.
“It was a combination of having that summer, but also lacking that sense of occasion, that glamour, that romance, that salt on your skin that you get when you go on holiday.
“I kind of wanted to create the holiday we couldn’t have and make the soundtrack for that so-called holiday.”
An album celebrating Europe released in the months after Brexit may sound like it’s bringing a political message, but Savoretti is clear that it’s not a political album.
“Although there are political and economic differences between us, there’s one thing that as Europeans we can’t argue is that culturally we are very much united.
“We are very similar, we relate to a lot of the same things when it comes to our culture, and you really notice that when you leave Europe, you realise how intertwined we are as Europeans and musically, so much.
And that’s really what I wanted to celebrate, was the things that kind of bring us together rather than the things that make us different.”
Europiana is out on the 25 June.