Open main menu

George Ezra Barnett (born 7 June 1993) is an English singer, songwriter and guitarist. 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 number one in several countries. His debut studio album, Wanted on Voyage, was released in June 2014, reaching 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]

George Ezra
George Ezra at Glastonbury Abbey 2014.jpg
Ezra performing in August 2014
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Ezra Barnett
Born (1993-06-07) 7 June 1993 (age 25)
Hertford, Hertfordshire, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2013–present
Labels
Websitegeorgeezra.com

His second studio album, Staying at Tamara's, was released in March 2018, and reached number one in the UK and the top ten in eight other countries. The second single from the album, "Paradise", reached number two in the UK, while the next single, "Shotgun", reached number one, becoming Ezra's first chart-topping single in the UK, Ireland,[2][3] and Australia.[4] In February 2019, he won the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

George Ezra Barnett was born on 7 June 1993 in Hertford, Hertfordshire. His parents were teachers, with his father, Paul, teaching at Barnwell School in Stevenage.[5] Barnett attended primary school in Bengeo and then Simon Balle School.[6] He moved to Bristol in 2011 to study at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute.[7] Ezra has an older sister named Jessica who accompanies him on tour, and a younger brother named Ethan who is also a singer and songwriter under the stage name Ten Tonnes.[8]

Musical styleEdit

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 bartender than a 21-year-old Bristolian."[9] Zane Lowe, a former BBC Radio 1 DJ, called him "one of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around."[10] 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."[11]

Music careerEdit

2013–2016: Wanted on Voyage and touringEdit

In June 2013, Ezra played the BBC Ending Stage at Glastonbury Festival.[12] 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',[13] Vevo's 'DSCVR Ones to Watch 2014'[14] and iTunes' new artists 2014.[15] Ezra was longlisted for the BBC Sound of... 2014, where he eventually finished in fifth place.[16]

The song "Budapest" reached number six in Italy and was certified Platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.[17] He has played support spots for Lianne La Havas, Bastille, Sam Smith and Tom Odell.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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][21] On 4 January 2015, the album reclaimed the number one spot in the UK.[22]

 
Ezra performing at the O2 Academy Glasgow in 2015

On 10 August 2014, Ezra was a support act for Robert Plant at the Glastonbury Extravaganza.[23] 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.[24]

In early 2015, Ezra opened for Dame's brother Sam Smith for 16 dates on Smith's In the Lonely Hour Tour across North America.[25] Later, he toured with Irish musician Hozier for select dates on his sold-out 2015 North American tour.[25]

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.[10] It is commonly used on Twitter and on tour; he has started selling merchandise with the word printed on it.[26] 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."[27]

On 28 March 2015, Ezra was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.[28] He appeared on U.S. television again a few weeks later, performing "Budapest" on The Late Late Show with James Corden on 13 April.[29] 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".[30]

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.[31]

2017–present: Staying at Tamara'sEdit

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.[32] "Paradise" was released as the second single on 19 January 2018,[33] with an accompanying music video released the following week on 24 January.[34] "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.[35][36] Ezra has been announced as one of the main headliners for the 2nd Neighbourhood Weekender, to be held in Warrington on 25 May 2019.[37]

PodcastEdit

On 12 February 2018, Ezra released the first episode of his podcast George Ezra & Friends, a show where he talks to other artists that typically ranges from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. The series began with guest Ed Sheeran on 12 February 2018.[38] Ezra's inspiration for the podcast was listening to other podcasts featuring "comedians chatting with other comedians".[39] 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 Sir Elton John. The second series began on 19 November 2018 with guest Niall Horan. Subsequent guests so far are Ellie Goulding, Laurie Vincent, Sigrid, Olly Alexander, Nile Rodgers, Leif Vollebekk and Sir Tom Jones.[40]

TelevisionEdit

Ezra appeared on Vic & Bob's BIg Night Out in 2018 on BBC Four.

DiscographyEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Organization Nominated work Award Result Ref.
2014 BBC Music Awards "Budapest" Song of the Year Nominated [41]
2015 Brit Awards Himself British Breakthrough Act [42]
British Male Solo Artist
Wanted on Voyage British Album of the Year
"Budapest" British Single of the Year
YouTube Music Awards Himself 50 artists to watch Won [43]
Teen Choice Awards "Budapest" Choice Rock Song Nominated [44]
MTV Video Music Awards Artist to Watch [45]
2016 BMI London Awards Song of the year [46]
2018 BBC Radio 1 "Shotgun" Hottest Record of the Year Sixth [47]
2019 Brit Awards Himself British Male Solo Artist Won [48]
Staying at Tamara's British Album of the Year Nominated
"Shotgun" British Single of the Year Nominated
Goldene Kamera Himself Best music international Won [49]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "UK album chart for 2014 dominated by British artists" (1 January 2015). BBC. 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ "George Ezra tops album charts with fastest-selling record of 2018". belfasttelegraph.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Rudimental claim third Number 1 single: "Yes yes yes!"". Official Charts Company.
  4. ^ "SHOTGUN SCORES GEORGE EZRA FIRST #1". ARIA Charts. 22 September 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  5. ^ "George Ezra". exposedmagazine. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  6. ^ "SBS Alumni News – Simon Balle School". simonballe.herts.sch.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. ^ "George Ezra BIMM". bimm.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  8. ^ "George Ezra". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  9. ^ "REVIEW: GEORGE EZRA // DID YOU HEAR THE RAIN? EP". When the Gramophone Rings. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Interview: George Ezra". Thank Folk For That.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "George Ezra – Interview – DSCVR ONES TO WATCH 2014". Vevo. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Meet MTV's Brand New For 2014 Nominees!". MTV. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  14. ^ "George Ezra - Interview: DSCVR ONES TO WATCH 2014". VEVO DSCVR. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Pakinkis, Tom (20 December 2013). "iTunes unveils its artist picks for 2014". Music Week. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Soundcheck – Introducing: George Ezra". Soundcheck. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Italian single certifications – George Ezra – Budapest" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 7 April 2014. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Budapest" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  18. ^ "George Ezra: No 5 in the BBC Sound of 2014". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  19. ^ Ed Sheeran denies 5 Seconds Of Summer this week's Number 1 album. Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage hits the Number 1 spot". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage reclaims Official Albums Chart Number 1". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  23. ^ Pretty Good Digital. "2014 Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza in pictures - Glastonbury Festival". glastonburyfestivals.co.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Winners". BRIT Awards. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015.
  25. ^ a b "Renowned for Sound - News: George Ezra To Support Sam Smith And Hozier On 2015 North American Tours". renownedforsound.com.
  26. ^ Milton, Jamie (23 June 2014). "George Ezra: "This Is the Most Bonkers Time of My Life"". DIY Mag. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  27. ^ "George Ezra admits his favorite slang word "petan" is actually nonsense". CBS local, Mix 104.1. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Riddell, Rose (26 May 2015). "George Ezra performing 'Did You Hear The Rain' live at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend 2015". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  31. ^ Weiner, Natalie (12 November 2015). "George Ezra Performs 'Blame It On Me' on 'Colbert': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  32. ^ Trendell, Andrew (3 April 2017). "George Ezra announces 'Top Secret' UK tour". NME. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  33. ^ Reilly, Nick (19 January 2018). "George Ezra returns with comeback single 'Paradise'". NME. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  34. ^ Britton, Luke Morgan (24 January 2018). "Watch George Ezra's striking new video for 'Paradise'". NME. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  35. ^ Staying at Tamara's by George Ezra, retrieved 28 March 2018
  36. ^ "George Ezra steals chart number one from The Greatest Showman". BBC News. 30 March 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  37. ^ "Neighbourhood Weekender 2019". nbhdweekender.com. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  38. ^ acast. "George Ezra & Friends on acast". acast.com. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Podcast of the week: George Ezra's new show with fellow musicians". inews.co.uk. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  40. ^ "George Ezra". georgeezra.com.
  41. ^ "BBC Music Awards 'Song of the Year' shortlist announced". BBC. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Royal Blood lead the nominations for the BRIT Awards 2015". 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  43. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (3 March 2015). "Here Are The Winners Of The 2015 YouTube Music Awards". forbes.com. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  44. ^ "Wave 2 Nominees". Teen Choice. Teen Choice. 7 July 2015. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  45. ^ "2015 MTV Video Music Awards Nominees Revealed: Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran & More". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  46. ^ "Artist: George Ezra - Djpunjab Free Mp3 Download". Djpunjab Free Mp3 Download.
  47. ^ "Twenty One Pilots crowned Hottest Record of the Year". BBC. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  48. ^ "Brit Awards 2019: Full list of winners". BBC. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  49. ^ "George Ezra wird mit der GOLDENEN KAMERA 2019 ausgezeichnet" (in German). Funke Mediengruppe. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.

External linksEdit

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