New Discovery: Hozier

It’s very rare that someone can recommend a new band that I haven’t heard of before. I was discussing new music with my friend, Marianne, when she mentioned a new musician she had discovered as one of Amazon’s free tracks. I checked out the Irish singer/songwriter and fell in love almost instantly. Now, only a few weeks later, I’ve been seeing Hozier’s name popping up all over the place.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne grew up in County Wicklock Ireland listening to blues, soul, and jazz which definitely helped to form the foundation of his music. He taught himself how to play the guitar and piano before heading off to study music at Trinity College. He would eventually drop out to focus on his own writing and recording but not before gaining a lead vocalist spot with the Trinity Orchestra.

Hozier has released two EPs, Take Me To Church and From Eden, in the last two years gaining quite the following on YouTube due to his video for “Take Me To Church”. The track is a great introduction to Hozier as it displays his emotionally raw and powerful voice, writing talent, and musical ability. The track has gone viral due to it’s subject matter and music video.

“Take Me to Church” is essentially about sex,” Hozier told New York Magazine’s The Cut in March, “but it’s a tongue-in-cheek attack at organizations that would … well, it’s about sex and it’s about humanity, and obviously sex and humanity are incredibly tied. Sexuality, and sexual orientation — regardless of orientation — is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation — that it is sinful, or that it offends God. The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.” Hozier goes on to say that it’s not an attack on faith but instead “…an assertion of self.”

The video for the track has gained quite a bit of attention because of the way it tackles basic human rights. The video follows the relationship between two gay men and the backlash of the community when they learn about them. The images of the two lovers interacting are set against the masked vigilantes attacking their home before dragging one of them to a field and beating him. The video stands as a statement against homophobia and hate particularly in Putin’s Russia.

The rest of Hozier’s songs are a bit lighter in subject matter but just as impressive musically as “Take Me To Church”. “From Eden” is a blues infused love song with a Van Morrison flair to it. The influences are clear but Hozier makes the sound all his own. “Like Real People Do” is another favorite of mine with its simple melodies and breezy vocals its been perfect background music to the beautiful spring weather we’ve been getting here in Michigan.

While I’m sure that hearing his song on the radio more and more and the fact that his U.S. tour has sold out has Hozier feeling some pressure for what he’s going to write next, I’m confident that the next batch of songs we see from the Irish singer will be just as powerful.

Connect with Hozier: Facebook, Twitter, Website

And don’t forget to pick up his music on iTunes, Amazon, or Bandcamp

For Fans Of: Kodaline, The Black Keys, Van Morrison