Music

Interview: George Ezra

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Eleanor Wilson chats to upcoming singer-songwriter George Ezra about what 2014 holds for him.

You’re currently in the middle of your first UK headline tour. How has it been going so far and how have your audiences been?
It’s been brilliant! It’s really interesting because a lot of the people coming to the gigs have just heard the first EP, so they’ve heard a handful of songs and I’m doing a forty minute set. It’s lovely how patient people are being and that they’re getting involved so early, and they’re interested in what I’m doing.

You came fifth in the BBC Sound Of 2014, how helpful was that recognition for gaining new listeners and fans?
It was amazing. Alongside all of the tours that I’d been doing for 18 months, when BBC sound came along it did the world of good. I think coming fifth was brilliant because I didn’t feel like there was any pressure put on me. It’s put my name into a lot of people’s heads, so it’s meant that I can do this tour and have people want to come and see me!

Am I right in thinking that your debut album is now finished?
Well it’s all recorded, but I’ve recorded nineteen songs. So now it’s a case of picking which ones go on the album which is hard. We’ve worked so hard on all of them, so I feel bad about the ones that won’t make the cut. 

Do you think those which don’t make it will still be heard at some point?
Yeah, definitely. I think with the way that music is consumed nowadays, they will all see the light of day. Whether that’s B sides or an extended album, but I kind of want to release them all together.

What inspired the songs on your album?
A lot of the inspiration came from when I went interrailing around Europe. It’s lovely because you can look back over them and they’ve all been written at times, but on that one trip.

So did you meet some interesting people out in Europe?
[Laughs] Yeah I met some brilliant people! But also, it was a bit of a test to see if I could actually live with myself, if that makes sense? It was just me for such a long time, but I did alright!

In terms of your songwriting process, are you always writing even when on tour?
I am writing, but I’m not writing songs. I’m writing what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing, so like a journal. Then I’ll come back to that and make some songs out of it.

On this tour it was just you and a guitar. Will you be progressing to play with a band at some point in the future?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve actually got a band, so we’ve just got to practice now. I think it’d be nice to get that rolling in the summer time. But it’s nice to know that I can perform on my own if I need to, and there are some opportunities where I’d prefer to play on my own, so it’s good to have that experience.

Your latest single is ‘Cassy ‘O’, and the video was released this week. Is making music videos something that you enjoy doing?
Yeah I do. For me it’s still a new thing, so I get very excited when I know that I’m going to be filming a new video. The Cassy ‘O video was the first time where other people were also involved, so it was nice to get the chance to go and take a break! [Laughs] But I’m happy with how the video turned out, I think it’s the right balance of fun.

There are lots of people listening to your music at the moment, but what music are you listening to while on tour?
Because I’m on tour, I’m listening to a lot of music that I listened to when I was younger. It’s more comfort music, so I’m not really listening to a lot of new music at the moment. But I had a nice change earlier today and put some Johnny Cash on!

You played at Glastonbury last year on the BBC Introducing stage. Will you be playing at more festivals this summer?
Yeah I’ll be playing at quite a few festivals this summer. Some of them are definitely confirmed, and there are others which are penciled at the moment. And it looks like we’ll be finishing the album around festival time too, so that’s perfect.

Finally, what is your musical guilty pleasure?
I’m a big fan of ‘Timber’… we like to start the day with a bit of Pitbull!

Thank you George! We’ll hopefully see you back in Cardiff sometime soon.
Yeah definitely, thanks very much!

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