Local singer songwriter and musician, the phenomenally talented George Montague talks to Emma Roberts.
With over 2 million hits on YouTube and a first album now on general release, I felt it high time to meet George. The 21-year-old star is a real breath of fresh air in today’s often more manufactured musical arena and he has a huge energy, passion and determination for his chosen career path… alongside an infectious personality that is both quirky and humble. No diva demands on show here. George was born in Surrey, but moved to Gloucestershire 12 years ago and so we’re claiming him as our own.
George explains, “I went to Wynstones, a Steiner Waldorf school, where I had to learn a musical instrument. I chose double bass and that was when it all began. Moving up through the grades I used music theory to decipher the piano and then how song structure worked by deconstructing the piano books of albums from artists such as Coldplay and Jamie Cullum. I then went onto Cirencester College. Throughout this time I also taught myself guitar and ukulele as well as a bit of drums – all of which came from just wanting to expand my writing. But the only real way I could see to become a singer songwriter and a gigging musician was just to go out there and do it.”
George describes his unique sound as Fuzzrop, meaning Funk, Jazz, Rock, Pop and this is a true George-ism. He exudes a certain star quality and his personality is a huge part of his musical style. “I just like being really open with people, and using daft voices or pulling silly faces helps me to get that across”, he says, “ My greatest passion in life is playing live with my band. I like to entertain audiences, whether they are listening to the album, watching me on YouTube or at one of my gigs.”
‘Have you met George’, the debut album, was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth. “They were the most inspirational studios that I have ever had the pleasure of working in”, George says, “We also did some days at Yellow Shark in Cheltenham. Yellow Shark actually put me on to producer, Matt Butler, and he then suggested Rockfield when I wanted to record as much of it ‘live on the floor’ as possible.
That’s where my personality really comes across on the record, because I was working so hard solidly for those five days at Rockfield, but I was without doubt the happiest I had ever been. At Yellow Shark we laid down my vocals in two days – my voice was about three octaves lower for the rest of that week!”
George performed at The Cheltenham Jazz Festival earlier this year and holds the event with particular affection. It was here in 2004 that he first saw Jamie Cullum play live and that was the performance that encouraged him to explore the piano more.
“There is a great wealth of talent and appreciation for that talent around the Cotswolds”, George enthuses, “Wychwood Festival was amazing to play, as was Nibley. We recently played a two-hour gig at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester and that really was just like being told that you can have the whole playground to yourself for as long as you like!”
The rising star has fans across the world, from London to LA, and it’s easy to see why. He is a musician in the truest sense of the word, not a Karaoke star, and a talented one at that. I foresee big things for Mr Montague, but where does
the man himself hope to be in the next 12 months? “I could dance around this question for ages saying I want to be doing this and that, but honestly my three main goals are to have played live on Later with Jools Holland, have album number two recorded and be on a US/world tour!” He laughs, but I have a feeling he’ll make all three happen.
For further information visit: www.georgemontague.com
Photograph Gerry Lane