Following an outstanding performance at Longitude George Ezra has announced he will return to Dublin to play a headline show in The Academy on October 13th and The Limelight 1, Belfast on Tuesday October 14th 2014. Tickets €17.50 go on sale now!
At 20, George Ezra has seemingly sailed in to his position as one of pop’s most talked about new artists. Even he seems unsure how it happened. The hype around the Hertford-born singer with the booming, bluesy voice certainly hasn’t gone to his head. Of his appearance on umpteen One To Watch lists for 2014, he remains refreshingly non-plussed.

“I keep being told that this is my year,” says Ezra. “Which is nice, but problematic because I’m planning to be around in 2015 and long beyond.”

With his second EP, Cassy O’, just released and a debut album, Wanted On Voyage out now , Ezra has continued to do as he has since moving to Bristol aged 17 to study songwriting – get on with making music.

“The way I approach songwriting is to tell myself to just shut up and do it,” shrugs the singer. “It’s the same with performing. I don’t get nervous, I just get on stage and sing. I have no airs about being a musician. I make clear that I’m a bloke with a guitar, nothing more. Then if anything goes wrong, I look like less of a knob.”

In January, Ezra took off on a completely sold out UK and Ireland tour that lasted almost two months, with barely a day off. The tour included a sold out show at Dublin’s Sugar Club. When it finished, he headed for Europe, where his song Budapest was rapidly becoming a hit, reaching the top 10 in no less than nine countries on the continent. In Italy he stepped out of a radio station to find fans holding up photos of himself to sign.

“It was weird,” says Ezra. “A couple were in their 30s and it was a Tuesday afternoon. All I could think was, Don’t you folk have jobs to be at?”

By the time he signed to Columbia aged 18 he had, he says “only four or five songs – and I’d done twice that number of gigs. It was really early doors. I’d just met my manager and we’d decided to leave it a year before trying to contact anyone.”

But Ezra’s gloriously gutsy and ridiculously catchy blues, country and folk-infused pop was already making waves. BBC Introducing had fallen for Angry Hill, a song Ezra had uploaded to its website in early 2012 and which later appeared on his debut Did You Hear The Rain? EP. Last summer, he played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury and watched, wide-eyed, as fans filled the tent and sang along to his lyrics. In autumn, Budapest – from that debut EP – was put online as a free download and picked up and played by a host of DJ fans at Radio 1, long before his record label had even sent them a copy.

A couple of songs on Wanted On Voyage date back to Ezra’s college days. A lot of the album was inspired by a solo trip around Europe last summer. Budapest is, in part, about not making it to Budapest, but equally a surreal subverted take on the age-old notion of making sacrifices for a girl. Cassy O’ is about wishing the trip wouldn’t end.

“I went to Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malmo, Vienna, Milan and Barcelona,” says Ezra. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything for a long period of time entirely by myself. And I loved it. It turns out that I quite like myself.”Ezra took a guitar and occasionally busked, but mostly he travelled, saw the sights and filled journals with his experiences – what he’d seen, conversations he’d overheard, what was going on in his head

Back in Bristol, reading the journals, songs began pouring out.“When I read what I’d written, it felt like someone had handed me lyrics that were already almost finished,” he recalls. “Suddenly, writing the album was easy.

It’s not all been plain sailing, and Ezra is aware there will be more challenges to overcome, but he’s keeping a relaxed attitude to it all – he’s got his head screwed on right, this one.

“Still, if it all goes wrong, I’ll be laughing as much as everyone else.”

George Ezra’s debut album Wanted on Voyage is out now.

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