George Ezra Barnett (born 7 June 1993) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, known for his deep, bass-baritone singing voice. After releasing two EPs, Did You Hear the Rain? in November 2013 and Cassy O' in March 2014, Ezra rose to prominence with the release of his hit single, "Budapest", which reached No. 1 in several countries. His debut studio album, Wanted on Voyage was released in June 2014, reaching No. 1 in the UK and the top ten in seven other countries. It was also the third best-selling album of 2014 in the UK.
His second studio album, Staying at Tamara's was released in March 2018, and reached No. 1 in the UK and the top ten in eight other countries. The second single from the album, "Paradise" reached No. 2 in the UK, while the next single "Shotgun" got to No. 1, becoming Ezra's first chart-topping song in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
George Ezra Barnett was born on 7 June 1993 in Hertford, Hertfordshire. His parents are teachers. He attended primary school in Bengeo and then Simon Balle School. He moved to Bristol in 2011 to study at stage school the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. Ezra has an older sister, Jessica, who accompanies him on tour and a younger brother, Ethan, who is also a singer-songwriter and performs under the name "Ten Tonnes".
Ezra cites Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as his main musical influences. When the Gramophone Rings described him as having "a voice beyond his years", with "a soulful tone that somehow would feel more at home coming from an Alabama bar tender than a 21-year-old Bristolian." Zane Lowe, a former BBC Radio 1 DJ, called him "one of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around." A youthful obsession with Dylan prompted Ezra to seek out earlier American folk and blues artists. "Out of curiosity, I went to find how high I can jump off a cliff," he says. "That's when I found Lead Belly, grass hoppers 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."
In June 2013, Ezra played the BBC Ending Stage at Glastonbury Festival. 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', Vevo's 'DSCVR Ones to Watch 2014' and iTunes' new artists 2014. Ezra was longlisted for the BBC Sound of... 2014, where he eventually finished in fifth place.
The song "Budapest" reached number six in Italy and was certified Platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. He has played support spots for Lianne La Havas, Bastille, Sam Smith and Tom Odell. 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. 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. 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. On 4 January 2015, the album reclaimed the number one spot in the UK.
On 10 August 2014, Ezra was a support act for Robert Plant at the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza. 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.
In early 2015, Ezra opened for Sam Smith for 16 dates on Smith's In the Lonely Hour Tour across North America. Later, he toured with Irish musician Hozier for select dates on his sold-out 2015 North American tour.
Before Ezra's rise to fame, he created a word, "petan" (pronounced: "pay-tan"), to help him to bond with his fans, encouraging them to use it during everyday life. It is commonly used on Twitter and on tour; he has started selling merchandise with the word printed on it. 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."
On 28 March 2015, Ezra was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. He appeared on U.S. television again a few weeks later, performing "Budapest" on The Late Late Show with James Corden on 13 April. 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.
On 3 April 2017, Ezra announced a "top secret" UK and Ireland tour, in which it was announced he would premiere new material. "Don't Matter Now" was released on 16 June as the lead track of the album Staying at Tamara's. "Paradise" was released as the second single on 19 January 2018, with an accompanying music video released the following week on 24 January. "Shotgun" was released as a digital download on 18 May 2018 and went on to become Ezra's first number-one song in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, and was awarded a platinum certification.
Staying at Tamara's was released on 23 March 2018.
On 12 February 2018, Ezra released the first episode of his podcast George Ezra & Friends, a 45-minute show where he talks to other artists. The series began with guest Ed Sheeran on 12 February 2018. Ezra's inspiration for the podcast was listening to other podcasts featuring "comedians chatting with other comedians". Subsequent guests were Rag'n'Bone Man, Hannah Reid, Craig David, Ben Thatcher, Giles Martin, Declan McKenna, Jessie Ware, Justin Young, Sam Smith, Lily Allen and Elton John. The second series began 19 November 2018 with guest Niall Horan.
• Wanted on Voyage (2014)
• Staying at Tamara's (2018)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
George Ezra in the news
|Songs by George Ezra|