Cover Feature The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra)

Packing his bags and heading out on trip after trip to craft new album ‘Staying At Tamara’s’, George Ezra returns with a record overflowing with personality, providing the escapism we need right now.

“It’s never been this way before, shut down by anxiety,” George Ezra sings on his new album ‘Staying At Tamara’s’. “You better get away, boy.”

Strife and hardship aren’t what immediately come to mind when thinking about the music of the 24-year-old, whose debut ‘Wanted On Voyage’ remains a brilliantly breezy first effort, served up with the cheesiest of grins, but it was something he had to contend with when touring for the record came to an end.

“At the end of the last record, I wasn’t in a good place,” he opens up, only seconds after grinning while raving about the perks of his GoOutdoors discount card as we send him off camping for our cover shoot. “I didn’t have the vocabulary to identify what was up, just subconsciously aware that something wasn’t right.” After the extreme learning curve that was becoming a star at breakneck pace and touring ‘Wanted On Voyage’ back and forth across the globe for two years, it was his return to the quiet, (relatively) normal life that proved the hardest.

“On the first record, everything was new. Every city I went to, every experience of radio or an interview, all of it was new. I wasn’t used to it, even at the end really. You know how when there’s a newborn baby,” he poses, “and you see it once every two, three months, and it’s learnt a whole new set of skills in that time? That’s how it felt constantly. It felt like I was learning a whole new way of life, and I didn’t stop to appreciate it or take it in.”

After a sobering yet restorative period of being back in his native Hertford, waiting for friends and family to finish their 9-to-5s and plodding through weeks based around Friday nights at the pub and Sunday roasts, the urge to travel came trickling back to him.

‘Wanted On Voyage’ was forged from a trip George took around Europe, spending every two nights in a new city - punctuated by the well-travelled story of him missing a train to Budapest while debilitatingly hungover, and gaining a number one hit out of it - and then, as success started coming his way, the travelling continued in earnest for a good few more years. “[The touring] meant I then ended up staying no more than one night in each town,” he giggles. The answer for album two, then? George packed his bags, and headed for Barcelona.

The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra) The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra) The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra) The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra) The Fantastic Mr George (Ezra)

As featured in the Festival Guide 2018 issue of DIY, out now.

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