10 Questions with ... George Ezra
September 1, 2014
1. Can you remember the exact moment that you wanted to be a performer?
I don't think I could pinpoint an exact moment. It's a teenage dreaming kind of a thought, isn't it? I never put much pressure on the thought; I never thought I could do it full-time. So now, I consider myself very lucky.
2. What first inspired you to pick up the guitar?
The guitar was always a tool for me to be able to write and sing songs. I never wanted to be a "guitarist." But I soon fell in love with the instrument. I still play the same few chords I first ever learned, they still warm me up.
3. What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned just from your early experiences of the music industry?
I guess to relax and be selfish; if I don't love the music that I'm creating, then what's the point? I have to perform and put soul into these songs each night. So I need to love them.
4. What's the story behind your first single, "Budapest?"
A lot of my album and both EPs that I've released we're written whilst I traveled through Europe on my own. "Budapest" was the only city that I planned on visiting that I never made it to! I then took to writing a song listing all the beautiful things that I'd give up for somebody, none of which I actually own to give up.
5. Which experience really stands out from that European adventure?
I learned early on that one of the most inspiring things for me is to people watch -- I'm professionally nosey! And the trip was just a month long people-watching extravaganza. I filled books with everything I was seeing, a lot of which seemed very mundane at the time, but you read back over these things and it is really pages of characters and unsung stories,. It was great.
6. What is your songwriting process like?
I have friends who are able to wake up and they'll say, "Today I'm going to write a song" ... and sure enough they'll do just that. Unfortunately for me, I can't just turn it on, it takes as long as it takes and I can't force it.
7. You're 21 now, and would have been 18-19 when writing these songs, yet the lyrics are beyond your years.
People say this but they don't feel beyond my years to me. I wrote them; they feel right to me!
8. What do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
I think if my music is associated with good times, memories or journeys, the message is to be happy.
9. Describe the experience of being included in the BBC sound poll of 2014.
If I'm perfectly honest with you, I never heard of the list. Then I was told I was on it, so I did some research; It was amazing to know I was being included. But at the same time, some people were treating as a competition - "Who do you want to beat?" I wasn't into that side of it.
10. You're currently on tour. What's the reaction been like at each city?
It's been great, thank you. It's amazing how receptions change from city to city, I'm extremely lucky and have a very mixed range of ages come to the shows. I think that's due to who I supported early on.
Who are the guitarists you admire?
Ry Cooder has to be up there, Leadbelly, JJ Cale, too and, of course, Keith Richards!
Who are some newer musicians that currently inspire you?
I've been loving what I've heard by Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino. It's feels new and real.
If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be?
I'm a big fan of EELS -- I've always imagined it would be great to watch E work.
When you aren't performing or working on new material, what do you like to do for fun?
Luckily I spend my working time doing something that I love, so in my free time I like to make sure I see friends. Just do what we always used to. Meet at the pub or by the river. Chat shit and watch the world pass us by.
What do you think of using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, SoundCloud to encourage people to check out your music?
I love Twitter, I think it's perfect for me. It means I can communicate with anybody who likes my music without any bullshit. Twitter isn't serious. Twitter is fun. The Internet is potentially one of the most important tools a young unsigned musician can use. It's free! And it works.