George Ezra performs in The Current studio

George Ezra
George Ezra performing live in The Current studio (MPR / Leah Garaas)
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George Ezra performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • George Ezra performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 16:34
  • George Ezra - Blame It On Me (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:21
  • George Ezra - Budapest (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:23

It's often said George Ezra has the "voice of an old soul," but when he looks at his influences, Ezra is not too surprised. "I grew up listening to a lot of male singer-songwriters that had gruff voices," he says. "It was definitely a conscious decision when I was 16 to try to sing with a big voice, and I could. So I continue to do so; I enjoy it."

Now 21, Ezra is in town to play a sold-out show at the Varsity Theater in support of his debut album, Wanted on Voyage. He stopped at The Current to chat with Jill Riley and to play a couple songs off the album.

Just days earlier, Ezra played to a national television audience as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. "In hindsight, I can appreciate just how important that is, because I'd never seen [SNL] before, if I'm being honest," Ezra tells Jill. "It was a great day for us."

In the course of the interview, Ezra explains how the ideas for his songs came from journals he kept while taking a several-months rail journey throughout Europe. Surprisingly, Ezra's song "Budapest" was not written in the Hungarian capital, but in Malmö, Sweden — where the idea was inspired indirectly by the Eurovision Song Contest and a bottle of rum Ezra bought from a man in a park.

Here are some additional highlights from the interview:

On the origins of his career as a musician:
"It was when I was about 14 when music became not just something that was going on around me, but something I fell in love with. It was a lot of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Paul Simon."

On his approach to heritage artists' back catalogues:
"Whenever I find an artist, I always set out to buy their records as if they were being released at the time. It feels like I'm growing with them."

On the meaning behind his album title, Wanted on Voyage:
"'Wanted on Voyage' was on Paddington Bear's suitcase. I've always been a big fan. … Then I found out the meaning of 'Wanted on Voyage' was when you were travelling by boat, you would write 'Wanted on Voyage' on anything you wanted as hand luggage, and everything else would go in the cargo hold and you wouldn't see it for weeks. So I liked the idea of people wanting my album on their journey."

Listen to the complete interview and George Ezra's in-studio performance by clicking the audio player above.

Songs Performed


"Blame It On Me"
"Budapest"
Songs off George Ezra's album, Wanted on Voyage, out now on Columbia Records.

Hosted by Jill Riley
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Cameron Wiley
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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3 Photos

  • George Ezra
    George Ezra in The Current studio (MPR / Leah Garaas)
  • George Ezra
    George Ezra in The Current studio (MPR / Leah Garaas)
  • George Ezra
    George Ezra performing live in The Current studio (MPR / Leah Garaas)

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