One of Britain's most successful singer-songwriters, George Ezra hits the stage in Dubai this month. But who is the baby-faced bloke behind chart-topper Budapest?
HIS RISE TO FAME COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN STRAIGHT FROM SIMON COWELL’S DREAM JOURNAL
It’s something of a musical irony, but you’d have to have travelled far further than Eastern Europe to have escaped the rise to fame of George Ezra.
In truth, you’d have to have been living under a rock to dodge the musical juggernaut that is the 25-year-old Brit’s career thus far. Raised in Hertford, England, Ezra doesn’t look like a stereotypical pop star – he confesses to walking around London in a terrible sunhat and shades picked up from a petrol station to ensure he attracts stares, not for his famous face, but because he looks so awful people can’t place him – but his rise to fame could have been taken straight from Simon Cowell’s dream journal. Ezra wasn’t even 21 when his debut single,
Budapest, began attracting international airplay, going on to claim the number one spot in numerous countries despite having been initially released, very quietly, as a free download. Ezra followed Budapest with his debut album,
Wanted On Voyage, which became the UK’s thirdbest-selling album of 2014, charting only behind X by Ed Sheeran and In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith, before actually returning to the top of the UK album chart for a second time in January 2015.
In fact, so dizzying was his rise, Ezra recently confessed that he came close to unravelling when his trajectory slowed to an unforeseen halt in the summer of 2017, when his intended comeback single Don’t Matter Now flopped in spectacular fashion, spending just two weeks in the streaming top 70. Crisis meetings were held. The release of his second album was pushed back. A second flop, said Ezra, would have brought into action a career plan B.
Thankfully, he and his team were able to shelve their retraining plans when his first entirely self-penned single, Paradise, climbed to number two in the UK singles chart in January 2018, his highest position in his homeland to date. And by late 2018, the crisis of confidence must have seemed a mere distant memory, with summer 2018’s earworm, the platinum-certified Shotgun, becoming Ezra’s first number one song in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
Now touring his second album, the criticallyacclaimed Staying At Tamara’s (inspired by an Airbnb holiday in Barcelona, in keeping with his travelogue-aslyrics theme), Ezra will take to the stage in Dubai this month. Whether we see an ode to Al Quoz on his third album is anyone’s guess, but one thing that seems clear is that Ezra does his best work on the road. January 22
aDWTC, Sheikh Zayed Road, 9pm, from Dhs295. Tel: (800) 3982. georgeezra.com