|A.K.A.||George Ezra Barnett|
|Is||Singer Musician Composer Songwriter Guitarist|
|Birth||7 June 1993, Hertford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom|
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.
Ezra's 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 on the UK, while the next single, "Shotgun", reached number one, becoming Ezra's first chart-topping single in the UK, Ireland and Australia. In February 2019, he won the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist.
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. Barnett attended primary school in Bengeo and then Simon Balle School. He moved to Bristol in 2011 to study at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. Ezra has an elder 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.
Ezra cites Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and James Baylin as his main musical influences. Some critics, however, have found it hard to discern these influences in Ezra's music. The Financial Times described it as music that "approximates rock ... but without any hint of danger, or unpredictability". 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". 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 said. "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 said. "I liked the idea of singing with a big voice, so I tried it, and I could."
2013–2016: Wanted on Voyage and touring
In June 2013, Ezra played the BBC Introducing 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.
"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 his 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, the Netherlands and New Zealand. On 5 October, 14 weeks after its initial release, Wanted on Voyage went to number one in the UK. In December 2014 the album had sold 678,156 copies in the UK. 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 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.
2017–2019: Staying at Tamara's
On 3 April 2017, Ezra announced a "top secret", 10 date UK and Ireland tour, in which it was announced that he would premiere new material. Starting on 26 May at Limelight in Belfast, the tour made its way through shows in Derry (27 May), Dublin (29 May), Limerick (30 May), Rhyl (1 June), Cardiff (2 June), Swansea (3 June), Barnstaple (5 June), and Exeter (6 June) before finally concluding on 7 June at The Forum in Bath.
"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. Ezra performed as one of the main headliners for Neighbourhood Weekender 2019, which was held in Warrington on 25 May 2019. He was the last act on the main stage on the first day of the two-day festival. He performed a variety of songs from his albums including hits "Blame It On Me", "Budapest" and "Barcelona" - his final song of the set was "Shotgun".
On 25 September 2019, Ezra finished touring Staying at Tamara's with two performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He hinted at the possibility of a new album to be released some time in the future.
On 12 February 2018, Ezra released the first episode of his podcast George Ezra & Friends, a show that typically ranges from 45 minutes to an hour and a half during which 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 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, Sir Tom Jones, Lewis Capaldi and Shania Twain.
In January 2020 he released a podcast called "Phone A Friend" with his long time friend Ollie MN, in which they talk about mental health and their daily lives.
Ezra appeared on Vic & Bob's Big Night Out in 2018 on BBC Four. That same year he read Here Comes The Sun on Bedtime Hour on CBeebies.
- Wanted on Voyage (2014)
- Staying at Tamara's (2018)
Awards and nominations
|2014||BBC Music Awards||"Budapest"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|2015||Brit Awards||Himself||British Breakthrough Act|
|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|
|Teen Choice Awards||"Budapest"||Choice Rock Song||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Artist to Watch|
|2016||BMI London Awards||Song of the year|
|2018||BBC Radio 1||"Shotgun"||Hottest Record of the Year||Sixth|
|BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards||Best Single||Won|
|2019||Brit Awards||Himself||British Male Solo Artist||Won|
|Staying at Tamara's||British Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Shotgun"||British Single of the Year|
|Goldene Kamera||Himself||Best music international||Won|
|GQ Men of the Year Awards||Live Act of the Year|