Curious about George Ezra’s new album?

George Ezra is releasing a new album later this year. I interviewed him for Q in December last year while he was still in the studio and this is how he hoped it would turn out (originally published in January 2017, print only)…

Hi George, before you wrote your debut album Wanted On Voyage your label paid for you to go Inter-Railing. Presumably after that went to Number One and your single Budapest was played <i>everywhere</i> the preparations for the follow-up have been a tad more glamorous?

Well I spent last January in a cottage in Cornwall, writing.


Sounds bleak…

My first plan had been to travel alone on industrial shipping between London and New York, but I was talked out of it – ‘The Atlantic in January?’ – so I went to Cornwall instead. [laughs] Then I did a month in Barcelona. I did Air B&B and deliberately stayed with the owner who I didn’t know. It was a risk, but she showed me the city. Then I did ten days in a cabin in Norfolk without any electricity.

That also sounds bleak.

Everyone went: ‘No, think about what runs on electricity!’ but I booked it. [laughs] The shower was outside. You had to wake up at 6am to get the fire going, but there’s something amazing about showering in a field.

How did these holidays from hell help you write a record?

I think something happens to your mind when you’re away for a prolonged amount of time by yourself. You start to see things a little differently. Everything is more intense.

What has the solitude inspired?

One of the main topics on the record is how to get away from everything that’s going on. I know everyone has said it, but 2016 was a really weird year, so I’ve written songs about turning off. I know as part of my job I have to go onto Twitter, it’s a free way of connecting, but… It sounds like I’m advertising Twitter here.

It sounds like you’re convincing yourself…

I am! [laughs] I know full well, if it wasn’t part of my job I wouldn’t do it. It’s suffocating. Everyone has breaking news from around the world in their pocket. On one hand that’s a beautiful, we’re aware, but it’s also breeds this weird anxiety. It’s demanded you have an opinion on everything, yet often you don’t know enough.

You’ve got the Social Media Blues?

There’s one song called Don’t Matter Now and the opening lyric is ‘Sometimes you need to be alone’ and then a chorus of people sing ‘It don’t matter now’. Some of the other working titles are Get Away, Only A Human and Reinvent The Sky. It’s me reassuring myself it’s alright to escape.

Sound-wise, has much changed?

I’m working with the same people, in the same London studio but there’s a more organic sound. Hopefully, it will be out in June. We released in June last time and it was beautiful. It’s festival season.

Any plans to escape again before then?

I’m off to the New Forrest in a few weeks! You could have guessed that. [laughs]

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