That George Ezra. Here, there and everywhere, and all the time, it seemed. An out-of-the-box, rafter-rattling success story, where the vehicle for that success was the only one that mattered: the songs. Songs that took him on a world tour that lasted a full two years. And even when it looked like the border-busting breakout star of 2014 (and ’15) wasn’t, finally, all over the place (nor all over the radio), it turns out he was still at it: travelling, searching, writing, playing, whistling.
Wanted On Voyage, the Hertfordshire singer-songwriter’s debut album released in June 2014, sold more than three million copies. It was the third-best selling album of the year in the UK, beaten only by Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. But, like its creator, for Wanted On Voyage it was all about the journey, not the destination: it took 14 weeks to reach the Number One slot, a proper, word-of-mouth, word-of-ear hit. Then, led by flag-bearing tracks Budapest, Barcelona, Cassy O and Blame It On Me, that debut propelled the guitarist, barely into his twenties, on a two-year world tour.
The four-time-Brit nominee had gone far, fast, further and faster than he’d ever imagined when he signed a record deal while still in his teens. But at the same time, he’d gone nowhere at all. He was back home, in that childhood bed, kicking his heels and puzzling over what had become of his life.
So George Ezra did what he does best: he picked up his guitar and buggered off. His first port of call was a city he knew well but that, paradoxically, didn’t know him so well: Barcelona. (Despite titling one of his standout songs after the Spanish city, Ezra cheerfully acknowledges that he’s, at best, a club-level act there.)