• Exclusive Interview

    George Ezra Talks Bob Dylan, "Budapest," Touring the States & Learning to Sing

    The English singer-songwriter details how he found his voice

    English singer-songwriter George Ezra is coming for you, acoustic guitar in hand! 

    Unlike many artists around his age, this cool crooner fell in love with old Americana as a teen instead of Top 40 radio pop. "My dad had a lot of male singer-songwriters in his CD collection and records, and out of curiosity I started to listen to those records," the singer told Fuse. "Then it was, again, curiosity. I wanted to listen to what they’d been listening to and that’s where I found it. I think it’s just the stories and the simplicities of what it is on the surface and then you scratch and it’s just full of characters and emotion. I love them." 

    And the first artist in this record collection he fell for? Dylan. "The first musician that I ever kind of fell in love with was Bob Dylan. That was the first time music was more than just on in the background or anything like that. I used to waste my time trying to figure out why he’s as good as he is. I just put it down to the fact that I don’t know. He’s a very clever man, I guess."

    Like Dylan, singing didn't come naturally for Ezra. "I could never really sing when I was younger. My brother and sister could. They were good. I tried. I just couldn’t sing in tune, which is an issue. When I was sixteen I read the back of a Leadbelly album and it said that Leadbelly’s voice was so big that you had to turn your record player down compared to other records. I liked the idea of that and I tried to sing with a big voice and I could. I didn’t ask any questions, I just carried on doing it. I think I’ve improved, though. It used to be just shouty, and I guess there’s a bit more technique to it now."

    A quick listen to his single, "Budapest" (below) showcases his subtle, deep voice. Like his range, the song is adventurous, stemming from a trip he took. 

    "A lot of the album that I’ve written and the EPs that I wrote came from a trip I took around Europe,” Ezra explained. “You buy this train ticket and you can go anywhere in Europe for a month as long as it has a train station. I did it and I was just writing down everything I saw, people that I met, characters. When I got home I wrote songs from those stories. Budapest was the only city that I’d planned to visit that I didn’t make it to, so the song is kind of a list of things that I’d give up for somebody."

    What's next for the up-and-comer? America! "I think the thing that’s most appealing about being able to play in the States is just the idea of getting lost in the States. It’s so huge! It’s full of genuine music fans as well. To gig here, to tour here would be amazing. If I’m honest I’m really looking forward to getting down South of America and doing that. I’ve done a bit of East and West and I think it would be nice to kind of swoop down that way. It would be fun." 

    We do, too! Watch the exclusive clip above.