British singer George Ezra made his biggest U.S. television appearance to date as the rising folk star performed a pair of his hit singles during the Rock-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live. Ezra, whose Wanted on Voyage is already a Number One album in the U.K., seemed genuinely delighted to deliver pitch-perfect renditions of “Budapest” and “Blame It On Me” to an audience of millions in his SNL debut.
From Bastille and Sam Smith in Season 39 to Hozier earlier in Season 40, Saturday Night Live has made it a habit in recent years to give emerging talent the prestigious musical guest spot at Studio 8H before the artists become a household name, and Ezra is the latest up-and-comer to carry that torch.
Ezra, one of Rolling Stone‘s 10 New Artists You Need to Know for January 2015, discussed his folk influences earlier in the year. “My dad’s CD collection was Tom Waits, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon,” Ezra told Rolling Stone. “When I first heard Dylan’s debut album, he’s a 20-year-old singing on that album, and whether you’re 20 years old in the Sixties or 20 years old now, I think you’re gonna be on some sort of level. I understood what he was going on about, even though he didn’t sound like any of the 20-year-olds I was hanging around with at the time.”
Ezra’s next high-profile American gig will come when the British crooner performs at the Coachella Festival. However, Ezra didn’t provide the only noteworthy musical moments on SNL: Check out the Rock’s catchy opening monologue where he sings about being “Movie Franchise Viagra”: