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Interview:
George Ezra at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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George Ezra has made a big impact in a short amount of time.

The 24-year-old British pop singer and songwriter only recently released his second album, but he’s already riding a wave of hits -- most notably the platinum-certified “Budapest” from 2013. He’s also been nominated for several of England’s Brit Awards and topped the YouTube Music Awards’ 50 Artists To Watch list in 2015.

Like 2014’s “Wanted On the Voyage,” Ezra’s new “Staying At Tamara’s debuted at No. 1 on the UK album charts, and he plans to stay on the road to support it in the coming months.

• Ezra says by phone that he’s been careful to cope with his fast success. “Throughout the first album there was never a time I thought to myself, ‘Oh, this is normal...’” he says. “It felt bizarre to me at the time, and I don’t think it’s always going to be like this. So I never let myself have the impression that it was going to be the norm -- although if I have one regret about the first record is that I kept my head down instead of embracing everything. I was so concerned with just making sure I was able to perform and always gave my best that I never kind of let myself enjoy it.”

• Ezra didn’t plan to take four years between albums. “That’s the only regret I have, that it took so long,” he notes. “That’s purely down to me learning. It’s my second time around. So I was just finding my feet between the first and second records, just getting the hang of it. That took me a minute, I suppose, to make sense of everything that happened in the two years before and take stock of everything else.”

• “Staying At Tamara’s” was titled after the woman who owned a Barcelona home where Ezra rented a random room for four weeks to start working on material for his second album. “Instead of getting a hotel or apartment I just decided to find a stranger on the Internet and rent their spare room, and I found Tamara,” Ezra says. “She didn’t know (who he was) until about two weeks in. Me and her were staying up one night, sharing red wine, sharing records, and she said, ‘Oh, you brought a guitar with you? Do you play?’ She asked if I had anything on the Internet and I had to decide if I wanted to tell her or not. I decided to go with it and when she realized who I was she was shocked, but she was cool about it. She’s Spanish, so she didn’t care that much.”

• Ezra says that while he was well aware of “things in the world going wrong or awry,” he wanted “Staying At Tamara’s” to be a kind of antidote to that. “I was aware I’m the person who has to perform the songs every night, so why sing sad songs about sad things when you can write songs about happiness and perform them every night, and I’m enjoying doing that,” he explains. “There’s always things going on in the world, but not for one second do I feel I can help with any of that. But I do feel I can give of myself and help make people feel better. A friend of mine who’s a drummer recently said he likes to see his gigs as an antidote you’re offering for an hour and a half of just switch-off time. On a selfish level, just for my own sake, that’s a beautiful thing. I can come off stage smiling, which is nice.”

• One goal Ezra has now is not to take another four years or a similarly long time before his third album. “I really hope not, for my own sake. I want to keep moving. I’ve got a guitar backstage at most of the gigs now, so I just keep writing. I never force anything. I like to let things work themselves out, but I am trying to push out a bit more (material) now.”



• If You Go: George Ezra performs Saturday, April 28. Doors open at 7 p.m. Royal Oak Music Theatre. 318 W. Fourth St. Tickets are $27.50-$45. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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