On his 21st birthday at Manchester’s Parklife Festival, singer-songwriter extraordinaire and all round nice guy George Ezra talks to Impact Music about the Ezra Express, his début album and the festival season.
You finally played Budapest, in Budapest. Tell us a little bit about that journey…
To be honest, as an idea I think it was very stupid. It paid off though, I was so nervous. What I mean about stupid is getting competition winners on public transport for seven hours a day travelling across Europe should be a recipe for disaster. They were all lovely, we lucked out, everyone was so nice. It’s so strange because by law we had to pick them completely randomly so we really lucked out.
I ended up in one set playing the track twice which felt pretty cheeky, I played it once and then again in the encore because they loved it so much and it felt big, I’ve been singing this song for about 18 months and to finally be in the city that it’s named after was a strange feeling.
The début album has finally been announced. Last time we spoke you were struggling to whittle down the tracks. How did you go about choosing what did or didn’t make the cut?
I had to listen to the album from start to finish in different orders and it was about how it flows and it’s about which songs marry well together. Anything that I’ve already released, people can already find it, but there were a few songs, like ‘Cassy O’ and ‘Did You Hear The Rain’ that fit with the album so well that they had to go on.
Where did the album’s title Wanted On Voyage come from?
People when travelling on boats and ships, people would have to put Wanted On Voyage on their hand luggage and it was what they wanted on their person for the journey and I just loved the idea that this album I had written whilst on a journey would go with other people on their journey.
You’re playing Glastonbury, that must be a dream come true?
There were two things in my head when I was younger which I used to think that if I did them, that would be the dream. One of them was playing Jools Holland and the other was playing the John Peel tent and I’m doing it! When they told us where we would be sitting on Jools Holland I was like ‘Dad, try and act natural’ and he was over-laughing at everything at anything remotely funny, but bless him he really enjoyed it. Everyone from back home did as well, I got more texts saying ‘Hahaha your dad’s on TV’ than anyone saying well done on your performance.
How different do you find playing huge festival stages compared to your own headline shows?
It’s difficult because you’re suddenly aware that everyone is there to see a lot of different people, it’s not solely your audience. When you’re doing your show, 98% of people there have bought a ticket because they want to watch you. At festivals there are more people just trying different things out so it keeps you on your toes which is just great.
Parklife is a different kind of festival to most that you will play this Summer with it leaning towards Hip-Hop/Dance, is that a daunting task?
Not really, to be honest it’s great because I’m going to be enjoying a lot of other acts, and with it being my birthday I’ve got my best mates coming up from home so it’s just a bit of a party. They are different audiences but there’s nothing wrong with that, it can only be a good thing. Snoop Dogg is playing, man, that’s great. I’ll do everything in my power to get a selfie with him., I imagine he has a bit of an entourage of security though.
What’s the plan after festival season, a big tour of the record?
Yeah, hopefully. I think it’s gonna be pretty relentless touring in Europe and the UK. Now we’ve got the band we will just keep going and that’s great, it’s what I love to do.