Cape Town – At 19:00 exactly the grey telephone on my desk lights up and starts ringing. An uncomfortable nervousness bubbles up inside me and makes my hand hover over the headset for a second before picking up.
In my deepest, most professional voice possible, I answer the call.
That uniquely bass-baritone voice of him answers back; "Hey. It’s George."
Channel24: Hey, George. Herman here.
George: Hey. Nice to meet you.
Channel24: Nice to meet you too. Where you at right now?
George: I’m in a city called Olympia in Washington, America.
Channel24: What’s the time there?
George: It’s about 10:00 here. What’s the time in Cape Town?
Channel24: It’s 19:00 and dark already.
George: So you are getting ready to go to bed already?
Channel24: (Laughs) Just about. I was actually in Los Angeles earlier this year and happened to be at the recording of your appearance on the Conan O’Brien Show.
George: Oh, really? Well, that’s great. Yeah, I love LA. It’s rather unexpected but I really like it a lot.
Channel24: Me too. It was never really on my bucket list, but I liked it a lot. Now that I’ve been there I’d go back anytime.
As the clock counts down my 10 minutes with George I know every second is valuable. However I’m yet to write down anything in my notebook. The conversation is flowing so naturally that it’s easy to forget that I’m talking to a famous muso. There’s no ego surrounding him. No evidence in his tone of voice that he’s reached global fame. He’s just George and he's pretty cool to chat to.
Channel24: You travel a lot and get to see a lot of places. Are you excited about visiting South Africa?
George: Oh, man. I’m really excited about visiting South Africa. The whole crew is excited to see it. It was a great surprise when we saw that we’d be travelling there. I’m really looking forward to it. And I’m not just saying that. I really mean it. It’s one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit. We have no idea what to expect and that’s what makes it so amazing. What’s the weather like there?
Channel24: It’s winter here so it’s cold. But the days can be sunny. Bring something warm.
George: Okay, I will.
Channel24: Although I guess, being British, your definition of cold is way different from mine.
George: (Laughs) That’s true.
Channel24: When you’re on tour like this. Is there anything you always take with you? Like something you absolutely have to have with you.
George: Well, my sister mostly comes with me. So that’s definitely one of the things. Oh, man I’m trying to think. Well, obviously I have to have my guitar with me.
George: But I’m really easy going, hey. I don’t need much.
George, who grew up in the town of Hertford in England, is the son of two teachers. He rocketed to fame in 2014 with the release of the song, Budapest. The catchy tune combined with George’s silky smooth voice is such a perfect combination that every time you listen to it you can’t help but tap your foot along with the beat. There’s no escaping the song getting stuck in your head – and what a pleasure it is. The 22-year-old will be performing live at the Durban Shongweni Polo Club on 28 August, at Durbanville Racecourse in Cape Town on 29 August and outdoors at Carnival City in Johannesburg on 30 August.
Channel24: And before you perform…do you have any rituals or superstitions?
George: (Laughs) I’ve seen bands huddle together and do stuff like that. With us there are a lot of high-fives going around, and of course some vocal warmups. The Cape Town performance is outdoors right? That’s going to be amazing.
Channel24: Yeah, you will definitely love Cape Town. I’ve lived here for 6 years and I’m still not over it yet.
George: Oh, man. I can’t wait.
Channel24: Have you had the opportunity to chat to or listen to some of the support acts that will perform before you on stage in SA?
George: Not yet. I just knew I wanted it to be all local acts. I was very keen on that. So it will be great to get the opportunity to see them perform.
Channel24: We had a chat with Zolani, from Freshlyground who will be performing with you in Johannesburg, earlier and she said to tell you she sends her love and support.
George: Ahhh! That’s amazing. That’s so nice of her. I send back my love. The South African shows are going to be great. I really can’t wait.
George’s happy-go-lucky attitude is a breath of fresh air in a music industry overpopulated with flashy performers who like to be wine and dined in fancy restaurants. But not George. He’s more the kind of guy you hang out with at the pub and talk about that time you backpacked through Europe.
Channel24: I want to steer off topic for a bit and ask you about milkshakes.
George: Milkshakes? (Laughs) Okay. Go for it.
Channel24: Yeah. Milkshakes. I’ve noticed you asking about milkshakes on Twitter. You seem to always be on the lookout for where you can find the best milkshakes.
George: Yes, that’s true. (Laughs) I used to work in this café where we made milkshakes with chocolate bars. It was delicious. I never told anybody this – but every time I made a milkshake I would make a little bit extra. So I could have some for myself.
Channel24: (Laughs) There’s this place in Bloemfontein, South Africa that have bacon flavoured milkshakes.
George: Bacon flavoured?!
Channel24: Yeah, bacon flavoured. I’m serious.
George: Oh, no! Just no! That’s not right.
Channel24: Ah, man my time’s almost up. I have to wrap this up.
George: Oh, really? Okay.
Channel24: Our last question is from a reader. Sara, @ausondesbanjos on Twitter, and she wants to know; "Which Disney princess would you date?"
George: Which Disney princess?
George: Okay. Is her name Ariel? The Little Mermaid one?
George: Yeah, I dig her. I choose her.
Channel24: Good choice.
Channel24: Thanks for the chat. That was pretty awesome.
George: Yeah, man. Thanks so much. Hope to see you in Cape Town.
George: Cheers, man.
(Get your tickets to George's SA shows here. Two lucky Channel24 users can each win 2 tickets to George's Cape Town show by sharing this post on Twitter and tagging @Channel24. The prize does not include travel or accommodation.)
(Images: George Ezra Official Facebook)