George Ezra

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George Ezra
George Ezra at Glastonbury Abbey 2014.jpg
Background information
Birth name George Ezra Barnett
Born (1993-06-07) 7 June 1993 (age 24)
Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 2013–present
Labels
Website georgeezra.com

George Ezra Barnett (born 7 June 1993) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. After releasing two EPs, Did You Hear the Rain? in October 2013 and Cassy O' in March 2014, Ezra rose to prominence with the release of his hit single "Budapest", which reached the top 10 in several countries around the world, reaching number one in Austria, Belgium, New Zealand and the Czech Republic. His previous work was with singer-songwriter Jordan Grey.

Ezra's debut studio album Wanted on Voyage, released in June 2014, reached number one in the UK and the top ten in seven other countries. It was also the third best-selling album of 2014 in the UK.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ezra grew up in Hertford in Hertfordshire, attending Bengeo Primary School and then Simon Balle School.[2] He moved to Bristol in 2011 to study at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute there.[3] Both of his parents are teachers.[4]

Musical style[edit]

Ezra cites Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as his main musical influences. When the Gramophone Rings called him "a voice beyond his years", with "a soulful, wizened tone that somehow would feel more at home coming from an Alabama shrimp boat captain than a 21-year-old Bristolian."[5] Zane Lowe, a former BBC Radio 1 DJ, called him "one of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around."[6] A youthful obsession with Dylan prompted Ezra to seek out earlier American folk and blues artists. "Out of curiosity, I went to find out who he had been listening to," he says. "That's when I found Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie and Howlin' Wolf." Ezra had heard a Lead Belly compilation and had simply tried to sing like him. "On the back of the record, it said his voice was so big, you had to turn your record player down," Ezra says. "I liked the idea of singing with a big voice, so I tried it, and I could."[7]

Music career[edit]

2013–15: Wanted on Voyage[edit]

In June 2013, Ezra played the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury Festival.[8] He released his debut EP Did You Hear the Rain? in October 2013. In late 2013, he received airplay on BBC Radio 1, with songs "Did You Hear the Rain?" and "Budapest" regularly featured. He was included in MTV's 'Brand New for 2014',[9] Vevo's 'DSCVR Ones to Watch 2014'[10] and iTunes' new artists 2014.[11] Ezra was longlisted for the BBC Sound of... 2014, where he eventually finished in fifth place.[12]

The song "Budapest" reached number six in Italy and was certified Platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.[13] He has played support spots for Lianne La Havas, Bastille, Sam Smith and Tom Odell.[14] In March 2014 he released his second EP Cassy O'. "Budapest" was released in the UK on 13 June, followed by Ezra's debut album Wanted on Voyage on 30 June. On 6 July, the album entered the UK Albums Chart at number three.[15] The album has also charted in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and New Zealand. On 5 October, 14 weeks after its initial release, Wanted on Voyage climbed to number one in the UK.[16] In December 2014 the album had sold 678,156 copies in the UK, and in January 2015 it was named the third best-selling album of 2014 in the UK after x by Ed Sheeran and In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith.[1][17] On 4 January 2015, the album reclaimed the number one spot in the UK.[18]

Ezra performing at the O2 Academy Glasgow in 2015

On 10 August 2014, Ezra was a support act for Robert Plant at the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza.[19] In October 2014, Ezra released a video for "Listen to the Man", which featured Ian McKellen. At the 2015 Brit Awards, Ezra was nominated for four Brit Awards: Best British Album, Best British Male Solo Artist, Best British Single, and British Breakthrough Artist.[20]

In early 2015, Ezra opened for Sam Smith for 16 dates on Smith's In the Lonely Hour Tour across North America.[21] Later, he toured with Irish musician Hozier for select dates on his sold-out 2015 North American tour.[21]

Before Ezra's rise to fame, he created a word, "Petan" (pronounce: "pay-tan"), to help bond him and his fans and encouraged fans to use it during everyday life.[6] It is commonly used on Twitter and on tour; he has started selling merchandise with the word printed on it.[22] In an interview in Boston in March 2015, he admitted that this "petan" word-creation is a blank nonsense: "It's a word I made up, me and my friends. It could be good or bad or anything, it was just a word that… we were 18, we were idiots – but it's kind of lived on."[23]

On 28 March 2015, Ezra was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.[24] He appeared on U.S. television again a few weeks later, performing "Budapest" on The Late Late Show with James Corden on 13 April.[25] On 24 May, Ezra appeared at Radio 1's Big Weekend at Norwich, Norfolk with a set that included his hit songs including "Blame It on Me", "Budapest" and "Cassy O'".

On 31 July 2015, Ezra performed at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal. On 11 November 2015, he performed "Blame It on Me" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[26]

2017: Second album[edit]

On 3 April 2017, after keeping quiet for most of 2016, Ezra announced a "top secret" UK and Ireland tour, in which he would premiere some new material. "Don't Matter Now", the lead single from his upcoming second album, was released on 16 June.[27]

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organization Nominated work Award Result Ref.
2014 BBC Music Awards "Budapest" Song of the Year Nominated [28]
2015 Brit Awards Himself British Breakthrough Act [29]
British Male Solo Artist
Wanted on Voyage Best British Album
"Budapest" Best British Single
YouTube Music Awards Himself 50 artists to watch Won [30]
Teen Choice Awards "Budapest" Choice Rock Song Nominated [31]
MTV Video Music Awards Artist to Watch [32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "UK album chart for 2014 dominated by British artists" (1 January 2015). BBC. 21 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "SBS Alumni News – Simon Balle School". simonballe.herts.sch.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "George Ezra BIMM". bimm.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "George Ezra". exposedmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "REVIEW: GEORGE EZRA // DID YOU HEAR THE RAIN? EP". When the Gramophone Rings. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Interview: George Ezra". Thank Folk For That. 
  7. ^ Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY (14 September 2014). "On the Verge: George Ezra arrives by way of 'Budapest'". USA Today. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "George Ezra – Interview – DSCVR ONES TO WATCH 2014". Vevo. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Meet MTV's Brand New For 2014 Nominees!". MTV. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "George Ezra - Interview: DSCVR ONES TO WATCH 2014". VEVO DSCVR. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014 – via YouTube. 
  11. ^ Pakinkis, Tom (20 December 2013). "iTunes unveils its artist picks for 2014". Music Week. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Soundcheck – Introducing: George Ezra". Soundcheck. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Italian single certifications – George Ezra – Budapest" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 7 April 2014.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter George Ezra in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  14. ^ "George Ezra: No 5 in the BBC Sound of 2014". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Ed Sheeran denies 5 Seconds Of Summer this week's Number 1 album. Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage hits the Number 1 spot". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Moss, Liv (1 January 2015). "The Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Artist Albums of 2014". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage reclaims Official Albums Chart Number 1". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Pretty Good Digital. "2014 Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza in pictures - Glastonbury Festival". glastonburyfestivals.co.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Winners". BRIT Awards. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Renowned for Sound - News: George Ezra To Support Sam Smith And Hozier On 2015 North American Tours". renownedforsound.com. 
  22. ^ Milton, Jamie (23 June 2014). "George Ezra: "This Is the Most Bonkers Time of My Life"". DIY Mag. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "George Ezra admits his favorite slang word "petan" is actually nonsense". CBS local, Mix 104.1. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Chris Martins (24 April 2015). "George Ezra on 'SNL' Ignorance, Why Relationships Are a 'Distraction,' and Being an Old Soul at 21". Billboard. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  25. ^ Sigh, Leo (15 April 2015). "George Ezra's 'Budapest' on The Late Late Show with James Corden Was Beautiful (Video)". LeoSigh.com. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  26. ^ Weiner, Natalie (12 November 2015). "George Ezra Performs 'Blame It On Me' on 'Colbert': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 21 June 2017. 
  27. ^ Trendell, Andrew (3 April 2017). "George Ezra announces 'Top Secret' UK tour". NME. Retrieved 21 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "BBC Music Awards 'Song of the Year' shortlist announced". BBC. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  29. ^ "Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Royal Blood lead the nominations for the BRIT Awards 2015.". 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  30. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (3 March 2015). "Here Are The Winners Of The 2015 YouTube Music Awards". forbes.com. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Wave 2 Nominees". Teen Choice. Teen Choice. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  32. ^ "2015 MTV Video Music Awards Nominees Revealed: Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran & More". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Zac Brown Band
Saturday Night Live musical guest
28 March 2015
Succeeded by
Carly Rae Jepsen