The English singer-songwriter George Ezra, born 7th June 1993, despite being not very well- known, has released many hit singles and albums since his first song in 2013. He is noted for his very deep voice and he also plays the guitar. Ezra stated that Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie were his main musical influences and many of his songs were influenced by travel. Ezra said “I’ve got some friends who say, ‘I’m going to sit down and write 3 songs today,’ and then they sit down and write 3 songs. I can’t do that. I can’t just write a song. I needed to take that trip and it helped a lot.”
This is where the album Wanted on Voyage (nominated the Best British Album 2015) came from. It was produced by Cam Blackwood at Voltaire road studios, Clapham, London. The album’s title references to Paddington Bear – who was Ezra’s hero when he was a child – and the sticker on his suitcase. In an interview with the London Evening Standard, he said, “I thought it sounded good. I looked into it and it turns out that back in the day if you were travelling overseas by boat, you would write ‘wanted on voyage’ on your hand luggage, and that was what you wanted with you for the journey, while everything went on cargo. I wrote most of the album while I was travelling around Europe so it just became the obvious title.” George Ezra was backpacking around Europe in May and June 2013 and the album was then released in the UK on 30th June 2014. Fourteen weeks after the album’s release it rose to number one of the UK album chart.
The song Budapest (one of the most renowned songs in the album) topped the singles chart in several countries including Austria, New Zealand and the Czech Republic. On Ezra’s trip round Europe the city of Budapest was the only place he had planned to visit and didn’t make it to. He also told The Daily Telegraph: “It was my first attempt to write a love song, and it uses the first three guitar chords I ever learned. There’s a lot to be said for that simplicity.” The song was nominated for BBC Music Song of the Year award in 2014, and the Brit Awards Best British Single in 2015.
Another hit single off the album – Blame It on Me – was released as the fourth single from the Wanted on Voyage on 11 August 2014, reaching number 6 to become Ezra’s second UK top-10 hit.
A survey was completed on the songs Budapest and Blame it on Me for a variety of Year 8 pupils and there was very mixed opinions on the songs. Budapest received 5 out of 14 votes as to which one they favoured. One student said they preferred the beat and rhythm of the song. Another said the lyrics were relatable and the tune was better. Overall the average star rating up to 5 was 3.
Whilst the single Blame it on Me did not obtain as many awards it was selected by 9 out of 14 students and got an average of 3.5 stars. It was described as catchy, more upbeat and having a better tune. After listening to both songs, a pupil named Georgie said “It has an amazing tune compared to Budapest”. Another pupil stated that they thought it was more well-known and both the songs were given an average age group of 12+.
Opinions on the artist George Ezra differed. Some pupils said he had a good voice and writes good songs, whilst others said the two songs sounded too similar and unoriginal. One student even went as far to say they were rubbish songs and too boring, but many disagreed and enjoyed listening.
Overall there was mixed feedback, however many pupils who did not recognise the artist at first but enjoyed the music and were dancing along to it.
By Abigail and Ruby (Year 8)
Music Review Team