QUESTIONS BY PETER MCGORAN
Currently in the middle of his first UK & Ireland tour, The Gown caught up with George Ezra to talk abut musical influences, song-writing techniques and his long awaited debut album.
Hi George, good to have you here. You’re about half way through your UK & Ireland tour at the moment. How’s it been going so far?
Yeah, it’s going really great. I keep forgetting that it’s sold out so I forget, before I even get on stage, that I’m actually going to be playing in front of a packed audience.
Now you’ve been touring around Ireland quite a lot, north and south; how has that experience been?
Brilliant, yeah, I love it. I spent the last few years basically travelling round on trains and stuff. I’ve done bits in Ireland before and I’ve always enjoyed it, had some really good gigs here actually. I’ve been down in Dublin and I’ve done “Other Voices” in Derry twice now. It’s actually only my second time Belfast though, the last I was here I was supporting Tom Odell.
You’ve done a lot of supporting previous to this tour, how does it feel now that you’re the headline act?
I keep forgetting, you know what I mean? It just feels like, as long as I do my bit, it’s OK. I get as nervous as I always used to but a bit of nerves is good, I suppose.
Obviously you’re starting out quite young, does it ever hit you how far you’ve come in such a short time?
Yeah! Only ever six months after though, because everything seems natural at the time. Then one day you think, oh shit, six months ago I wasn’t doing any of this. You never realise it but it just kind of creeps up on you.
You’ve stated that you were influenced by artists like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie and your lyrics are always quite compelling and considered. Do you have any specific techniques you use when it comes to writing a song?
I just fill up books with conversations and earwigging and people-watching and things like that. Then I leave them for however long then come back to them and it’s like find new words that I forgot ever existed, that sort of thing. Then I just sort of start piecing things together.
And how do you know you’ve come to the finished product?
I don’t like to overthink things too much so I just get it to a certain point then leave it and if it sings well live then that’s when you know that it’s finished or if it needs something else to make it work.
You’ve got quite a unique voice and you’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you’d gotten into people like Van Morrison and, this being his hometown, I thought I might as well ask whether you had a favourite song or album belonging to him?
I do, it’s hard to say which really. There’s “The Philosopher’s Stone”, I love that song, though it’s really hard to find actually. Recently I’ve been listening to the Moondance album quite a lot.
And you’ve already realised your EP and have plans to release a debut album. Do you know when that will be coming out?
June or July. It’s all recorded, we’ve done 19 songs and all we have to do now is chop it and decide which ones should go in.
Will it sound similar to what you’ve released on the EP?
Yeah, that’s been the main purpose of the EP, to kind of ease people into the idea of me playing with a band because normally I play on my own when I’m live. So a lot of it has been about that because on day I would like to have a band.
Finally, when you started off you relied quite a lot on social media so I wanted to ask how important you think that is for singer/songwriters these days?
It’s hard because, on the one hand, it’s fantastic because anyone can put stuff up. On the other one, it’s terrible because…anyone can put stuff up. And it’s very easy to get lost in it all. It’s a tool to be used but not to be overused. I just uploaded two little session videos I did with a blog and left it at that. But I do think we’re very lucky in this generation to have it as a tool and it does help massively.