Andrew Hozier-Byrne hails from the town of Bray, Ireland but his heart and soul are rooted in the Deep South. A chorus singer turned rocker, Hozier’s powerful vocals bleed with a love for the blues. Once you give him a listen you will fall in love; there really isn’t anything not to like.
Hozier grew up in quite the musical household. The son of a musician, he has said that there was always music playing in his house. Hozier developed a deep love for African-American gospel music, R&B, blues, and Delta blues. Specifically, Hozier loves Muddy Waters and has cited him as a major influence. You can hear Waters’ traditional bluesy love and pain in Hozier’s vocals when he cries out.
After graduating high school, Hozier went to Trinity College in Dublin to pursue a degree in music. He joined the Trinity Orchestra but dropped out after a year when he decided to take his music career more seriously.
Hozier then became involved in choirs and choruses and developed his rich tenor voice. From 2009 – 2012 he toured around the world with the group Anúna, an Irish group that allows young classical singers to gain experience in the music industry. He appeared as a soloist on the group’s 2012 album Illumination. Check out this video of a young Hozier singing as a soloist during a live performance:
In 2013, Hozier released his Take Me to Church EP. This four-track release showcases Hozier’s fantastic talents. The title track is a haunting masterpiece with socially conscious lyrics that protest the power of religion in our society. The song is rich with choral undertones that provide a great background for Hozier to just belt over. It’s not hard for the emotion in his voice to make you stop whatever you’re doing and listen. The song is beautiful, and its arrangement is very reminiscent of the choir music that Hozier used sing. The song “Take Me To Church” became extremely popular when its music video went viral on YouTube. The video features some fantastic acting and its themes protest the homophobia. It’s clear that Hozier put a lot of thought into artistic ideas behind the video. He is a very intellectual man and we should expect to see more socially conscious songs from him as his career develops.
Hozier released his debut album, Hozier, on October 7th, 2014. The album, which features many of the songs on the Take Me to Church EP and the From Eden EP, is excellent. Each song is just another example of Hozier’s musical talents and artistic vision. My personal favorites are “Jackie and Wilson”, “In a Week”, and “From Eden”. Hozier has swirled together so many different genres of music to create a brand that is truly his own. His music is dripping with feeling and all his songs will resonate with you on a deep, personal level. You do not want to miss this album.
By David Cooper