Since featuring in the BBC Sound of 2014 poll at the start of the year, 21-year-old singer songwriter George Ezra has performed on Later… With Jools Holland and toured relentlessly. He plays Manchester Academy 2 on 12 June and Sheffield Leadmill on 14 June. Debut album Wanted On Voyage is out on 30 June.
This will be your first tour with a backing band. How has that bolstered your sound?
Feeling-wise for me it’s amazing to have that sort of weight behind you.
Gigging is a completely different thing now. [Although] I feel actually more at ease [performing] by myself because if anything goes wrong I can only blame me.
Did you have a strong idea of what you wanted the album to be prior to entering the studio?
Song by song, no. But for the whole album, yes. I knew what sort of instruments and layers I wanted to use. For the recording we didn’t use any session musicians. The producer and I played everything. It took about three months to make. I don’t know if that’s a long time or not.
What’s the meaning behind the album title?
The album was pretty much written while I was inter-railing around Europe and ‘wanted on voyage’ was what people used to write on their hand luggage when they were boarding boats. It was the luggage that they wanted on their person and I liked the idea of people wanting to take my album on their journeys.
Your lyrics have an evocative, poetic quality. Who are some of your favourite lyricists?
Tom Waits and Bob Dylan are people like that I admire a lot. There’s just the right amount of fiction in what they say, but they seem to understand that if you write it then it will relate to you in some way. I like that. I often don’t think about what I’m writing. It’s only later, when you are playing it live, you realise what something means to you.
Have you thought about album number two?
I’m deliberately not busying myself with too much writing at the moment because I just want to enjoy the release of this album while it lasts. I don’t want to jump ahead of myself.