Ezra Williams (fka Smoothboi Ezra) today shares their gorgeous, gruesome single and video for “Skin,” a delicately, beautifully heart-wrenching song about the pain of emotional healing. Premiered today on Under The Radar, who called it “delicate and haunting in equal measure,” it’s the final single ahead of their debut album Supernumeraries out next week on June 16th. Listen/watch “Skin” HERE, and pre-save Supernumeraries HERE.
“I’ve never been somebody’s earth, and you do it different, but she did it first,” is the lyric that we hear once at the beginning of the song, and once at the end as it fades away into silence. The video is as gruesome and cannibalistic as some relationships can feel, leaving you metaphorically bleeding out on the kitchen floor, your emotional energy drained, your heart barely still beating beside you on the cold tile. Ezra’s art speaks volumes through the swelling of background vocals and gentle strumming, and through the sometimes disturbing imagery they use. It stirs up even the most buried emotions and forces you to confront them in a cathartic way – you’re made to feel like you’re in good company; seen.
Of “Skin,” Ezra says, “This song is about trying to start dating again after heartbreak, the comparing of new people to past and accidentally falling back into bad habits from previous relationships. Knowing you’re not being treated properly but not caring because you can’t handle being alone.”
Ezra offers an often overlooked take on emotional relationships, as they’re writing as a person who is gender non-binary and on the autism spectrum. They are helping people who don’t often see themselves represented in the media hear themselves in music and moving the needle on what it means to write a love song. They’ve been compared to “Phoebe Bridgers at her best” (Paste), and their tender, self-examining indie calls to Fiona Apple, Soccer Mommy and Indigo De Souza, though they wouldn’t corner or compare themselves with anyone but their own self.
Growing up in a coastal town in County Wicklow, Ireland, Ezra always loved living right next to the sea – but hated the sand. An introverted person growing up, they veered between being “the quiet kid or kid that was always getting in trouble… I was a different person depending on who I was around, which I think is an autism thing,” they say. It simply took uploading their first songs to SoudCloud so their mother could listen for flocks of folks to organically fall in love with their demos.
Since then, their single “Stuck” landed on Bob Boilen’s All Songs Considered, while their previous single “My Own Person” garnered widespread acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1, NME, Consequence, Dork, the Irish Times, and appeared on the Netflix series Heartstopper, after which Ezra’s total Spotify streams skyrocketed to over 80million and counting. In their short career, they’ve played Great Escape, Consequence’s Protect Live Music livestream (alongside Glass Animals, Real Estate, Perfume Genius, and many more), Glastonbury Fest online, recently opened for Malaki, supported Orville Peck at Dublin’s Grand Social, and more. They’ll also be playing a string of live dates this Spring in the UK, including shows in London, Dublin, and at the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. Ezra Williams makes music that’s self-deprecating but never sombre, and always utterly charming.