BY ELLIS DAVIES
In a music industry flooded with singer/songwriters, it can be seemingly difficult to make a mark on this section of the market. However, for those with the talent and a unique quality, it is still possible to break through the masses and stand above the crowd. George Holroyd is one such person.
Hailing from rural Suffolk, George Holroyd began playing music at a young age, picking up a guitar around 10 and running with it from there. A student at Nottingham University, it is there that George began to grow and become someone to take note of. George was kind enough to answer a few of my questions recently on his EP, influences and plans for the future.
When asked about his route into performing, George gave a fair amount of credit to the Nottingham music scene as it ‘has so many opportunities for new artists to play.’ With a positive reaction at open mic nights around the city, George pushed on with his performances, and began to write original material around two to three years ago.
The debut EP, entitled ‘Peru’, was released on the 30th January. To George’s surprise, ‘Peru’ reached number 12 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart, lining up alongside the likes of Ben Howard, Damien Rice and Ed Sheeran. I asked George how he felt about the initial success of the EP, to which he replied ‘It’s gone down well, the iTunes charting was unanticipated but very welcome! The support I’ve got for it from friends and family has been fantastic’. With hopes of regional radio play beginning to come true with ‘Go’ being played on BBC Radio Nottingham, further success looks imminent!
When it comes down to the nitty gritty of songwriting, George doesn’t have a physical “I do these things before I sit down and write”’ approach to it and instead employs a more spontaneous method of waiting for something to jump out.
‘I tend to focus more on places and states of mind than people when writing, perhaps because I find them easier to write about, I think they can sometimes evoke a bit more of an emotion too.’
With this writing style, ‘Peru’ is ‘more of a collection of songs I’ve written over the past couple years rather than a conceived piece of work’ making it somewhat of a ‘mixed bag’. Sam Winfield, who George credits for his ‘studio wizardry’, produced ‘Peru’ very well and has helped the EP sound clear and well-balanced, no doubt as a result of George’s performance.
The title track ‘Peru’ opens the EP, delivering a mellow guitar line that acts as a vehicle for George’s fantastically tuneful voice. ‘Peru’ at first seems to be about getting away from the built up rabble of the city, to escape to the countryside. On this track, George felt that his countryside upbringing makes it easier for him to write about the familiar scene, although ‘Peru’ is not solely focused on a longing for open spaces.
‘Peru was the first song I ever really wrote and it reflected my state of mind at the time, but was more a reluctance to return back to coursework deadlines and looming exams if I’m honest!’
George commented ‘I love being in the city and feeling like you’re at the centre of everything, it is nice to get away and back to the coast/country too though’. However you interpret ‘Peru’, George has captured a feeling and longing that we all feel on occasion: a desire to just run away from it all.
So what does the future hold for George Holroyd? With a few new songs in the pipeline, and an eye out for more gig opportunities outside Nottingham, he says: ‘Look out for the follow up EP soon.’
A fantastic debut EP from a unique performer and intelligent writer, ‘Peru’ is a welcome thorn in the side of the singer/songwriter genre, sticking out from the mass with its full and rich sound.
‘Peru’ is available for download on at iTunes, Amazon, and for streaming on Spotify. Also check out George Holroyd’s SoundCloud, and ‘Peru’ below.