Hozier (musician)

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Hozier
Hozier in 2015
Hozier in 2015
Background information
Birth nameAndrew John Hozier-Byrne
Born (1990-03-17) 17 March 1990 (age 30)
Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2008–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitehozier.com
Parent(s)
  • John Byrne
  • Raine Hozier-Byrne

Andrew John Hozier-Byrne (born 17 March 1990), known professionally as Hozier (/ˈhziər/ HOH-zee-ər),[2] is an Irish musician, singer, and songwriter from County Wicklow. He had his international breakthrough after releasing his debut single "Take Me to Church", which has been certified multi-platinum in several countries, including the US, the UK, and Canada.

In 2013, he released his debut EP, featuring the single "Take Me to Church". His debut studio album, released in 2014, topped the charts in Ireland and scored top ten positions on global charts. It has been certified 6× platinum in Ireland and multi-platinum in several countries. He then embarked on an American and a European tour to support the album.

In September 2018, Hozier released an EP, titled Nina Cried Power, featuring the title track as a single. He released his second album, Wasteland, Baby!, in March 2019. It debuted atop the US Billboard 200 and was followed by a tour to promote it.

Early life[edit]

Hozier was born in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland;[3][4] and grew up in the Irish countryside, near the village of Delgany.[5] Hozier's father, John Byrne, is a local blues drummer whose day job was working at a bank; while his mother, Raine Hozier-Byrne, is an artist.[6][7]

Although his family was Catholic,[8] Hozier and his brother, Jon, were raised in the Protestant Quaker faith.[6] He now identifies as agnostic.[5] While he admitted in 2019 that he rarely attends church except for funerals and weddings, Hozier admires the Quaker religion for its pacifism and its anti-war sentiment. He has stated that he is especially interested in how people use religious institutions to claim "infallibility" in order to gain control and power over others. One positive lesson he learned from his religious upbringing, however, was to "look for the spark of the divine in every individual" and "treat everybody" as if you are looking into "the mind and face of God." On a different note, Hozier self-identified as a "class clown" and an "unfocused student," calling school a "monotonous nightmare."[8] Hozier has been writing songs since the age of 15.[9] He attended Delgany National School and St. Gerard's School before he began studying Music Education (BMusEd) at Trinity College, Dublin. He was refused a year's deferral by the college after missing exams to record demos for a music label.[10][11]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

While in Trinity, Hozier became involved with the Trinity Orchestra. He was a member of the choral ensemble Anúna from 2007 to 2012 and appears as a soloist on their 2014 release Illuminations singing "La Chanson de Mardi Gras".[12] He toured and sang with the group internationally including performances in Norway and the Netherlands.[13] Hozier played at Oxegen Festival in 2009[14] and 2010.[15]

2013–2016: Take Me to Church EP, From Eden EP and Hozier[edit]

Hozier performing at Lollapalooza, Chicago in January 2014

In July 2013, Hozier released the EP Take Me to Church. The title track was a blues-gospel pop song with lyrics about finding solace in a lover, and its video was directed by Brendan Canty and depicts anti-gay violence in Russia.[9][10] Released in September, the video was shared by Stephen Fry, appeared on the front page of Reddit, and went viral.[6][10][16] The single achieved global success, scoring top five positions around the world and gaining multi-platinum certifications. The song's title was often misinterpreted, however, and the anti-religious message was lost in translation. In an interview in June 2019, Hozier explained that the intention behind "Take Me to Church" was to "write something that, that was a kind of celebration of sexuality." He admitted that people took the title at "face value" and "were very upset when they found out that" it was not a song about "actually about being taken to church." Hozier actively rejects the idea that institutions and organizations should have the authority to determine whom and how we love. He wrote this song to explore the topic of "shame regarding sexuality," particularly the societal or religious "aversion to homosexuality." [17]

In 2014, Hozier released his second EP, From Eden. One of the tracks, "Cherry Wine", appeared in Zach Braff's movie Wish I Was Here, chosen for its "heartbreaking lyrics and poetry".[18] It was later performed on the Late Late Show.[19][20]

Hozier released his self-titled album, Hozier, in September 2014. It featured five singles, including "Take Me to Church", "Someone New", "Work Song", and "From Eden". He embarked on an American and a European tour to support the album.[21]

"Take Me to Church" was later nominated at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for Song of the Year in 2015. At the awards show, he performed the song with Annie Lennox,[22] and later at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. On 12 November 2015, he won the VH1 Artist of the Year, based on fan votes. He also performed "Take Me to Church" and The Beatles' "Blackbird" with singer Tori Kelly.[23] In June 2016, Hozier released the song "Better Love" as part of the Legend of Tarzan soundtrack.[24][25]

Hozier performing at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.

2018–present: Nina Cried Power EP and Wasteland, Baby![edit]

In September 2018, Hozier returned with the release of the EP Nina Cried Power. The record features a collaboration with Mavis Staples on the title track, as well as three other songs, titled "NFWMB", "Moment's Silence (Common Tongue)", and "Shrike". The singer then stated that he was recording his second studio album. The title track, "Nina Cried Power" opposes xenophobia[7] and references various musicians, acknowledging their contributions.[26]

Hozier's second album, Wasteland, Baby!, was released on 1 March 2019, debuting atop the US Billboard 200 chart.[27][28] The album's cover was painted by Hozier's mother who also created the artwork covers for some of his previous releases.[29] What makes the album cover unique is that Hozier posed with props in a staged, underwater set, and his mother painted a copy of that photograph.[30] The album title Wasteland, Baby! was inspired by Hozier's apocalyptic vision of "the end of the world." In his second album, Hozier "imagines the worst case-scenario" while looking for elements of redemption.[8]

After the release of his second album, Hozier embarked on a worldwide tour, visiting venues across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, beginning on 10 March 2019 to support the album.[31][32] Hozier described this album as a search to "find in the worst case scenario the warm, still-beating heart of humanity." He explained that his songs show a softer side of humanity, "the kindness, the warmth and the capability of people, even in the imagined last moments, to still issue a squeeze of the hand."[33]

He released the album's lead single, "Movement", on 14 November 2018 along with the music video which featured Ukrainian Ballet dancer Sergei Polunin. Polunin had previously performed on Hozier's "Take Me to Church" video.[34][35] Subsequently, he also released "Almost (Sweet Music)" on 16 January 2019 and "Dinner and Diatribes" on 15 February 2019.[36] He released the music video for "Dinner and Diatribes" on 6 March 2019, featuring Anya Taylor-Joy[37] and directed by Anthony Byrne who also directed the video for "Someone New". Two songs from the Nina Cried Power EP, the title track and "Shrike", are also included on the album.[38] The song "No Plan" is greatly influenced by a lecture delivered by astrophysicist Katie Mack[7][39] about the end of the universe.

He was the closing headliner of the inaugural Railbird Festival held on the grounds of the Keeneland horse track in Lexington, Kentucky.[40] He was one of the headliners for the Electric Picnic 2019, a three-day festival held in Ireland on 30 August to 1 September.[41] He performed at the Glastonbury Festival 2019, a five-day festival held in June in England.[42] He also performed at the Lollapalooza 2019, a four-day music festival held in Chicago in August.[43]

In March and April 2020, he did multiple live-streamed performances on Instagram and Facebook to raise money and awareness for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.[44] On 27 March, he performed on the Late Late Show.[45] On 14 April, he announced that he was releasing his cover of "The Parting Glass" for streaming on all platforms, with proceeds going to ISPCC.[46] On 26 June 2020, he participated in an RTÉ fundraising special, RTÉ Does Comic Relief, with proceeds going towards victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the special, he performed a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in Croke Park,[47] and performed a sketch with Irish comedian Aisling Bea.[48]

Social messages in songs[edit]

The "Take Me to Church" music video features two men in a same-sex relationship, and highlights the injustices and violence perpetrated against members of the LGBT community. The video was inspired by videos of violent crimes against gay men in Russia.[49]

The song "To Be Alone" has themes about rape culture and sexual assault.

The music video for the song "Cherry Wine" was released to raise awareness of domestic violence.[50]

"Nina Cried Power" is a song that highlights artists such as Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, and Mavis Staples whose work takes a political or social justice stance.[49] The song itself has been said to be a "thank you to the spirit and legacy of protest."[51] The music video features Irish activists alongside protest footage.[52]

"Be" also contains many allusions to sea level rise and refugee crises. Hozier sings: "When the man who gives the order, Is born next time around on the boat sent back, When the bodies starving at the border, Are on TV givin' people the sack, Oh, when the sea rises to meet us". This is also a reference to US President Donald Trump, who prior to his presidential campaign was well known for firing people on his reality TV show The Apprentice.[53]

In November 2019, Hozier released a new song entitled "Jackboot Jump", following live performances of it on tour. This song, besides being a direct reference to George Orwell's 1984 alludes to social demonstrations in Hong Kong, Russia and in America.[54]

Alluding to upcoming songs, Hozier also performed a new song whilst on tour entitled "But the Wages" that refers to temperatures rising as well as riots all around the world, while wages remain the same.[55]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications Sales
IRE
[56]
AUS
[57]
BEL
(FL)

[58]
CAN
[59]
GER
[60]
ITA
[61]
NLD
[62]
NZ
[63]
UK
[64]
US
[65]
Hozier 1 3 2 2 14 7 7 3 3 2
Wasteland, Baby!
  • Release: 1 March 2019[76]
  • Label: Rubyworks, Island
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
1 8 19 9 15 17 9 6 1

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details Peak chart positions
CAN
[59]
US
[65]
US
Alt

[77]
US
Folk

[78]
US
Rock

[79]
Take Me to Church
  • Released: 2013
  • Label: Rubyworks
  • Format: Digital download
107 3
From Eden
  • Released: 9 March 2014
  • Label: Rubyworks
  • Format: Digital download
[a] 9
Live in America
  • Released: 31 July 2015
  • Label: Rubyworks
  • Format: Digital download
21 7 29
Nina Cried Power
  • Released: 7 September 2018
  • Label: Rubyworks
  • Format: Digital download
33 60 5 2 8
"—" denotes an EP that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
IRE
[56]
AUS
[81]
BEL
(FL)

[58]
CAN
[82]
GER
[60]
ITA
[61]
NLD
[62]
NZ
[63]
UK
[64]
US
[83]
"Take Me to Church" 2013 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 Hozier
"From Eden" 2014 2 [A] [B] 69
"Sedated" 3
"Work Song" 2015 47 [C]
"Someone New" 13 24 [D] 90 [E] 13 19 [F]
"Jackie & Wilson"[94] 68 [G]
"Cherry Wine" 2016 56
"Better Love" 72 The Legend of Tarzan
"Nina Cried Power"[96][97]
(featuring Mavis Staples)
2018 10 [H] [I] [J] 87 Wasteland, Baby!
"Movement" 40 [K] [L] [M] [N] [O]
"Almost (Sweet Music)" 2019 8 [P] [Q] 82 [R]
"Dinner & Diatribes"
"The Bones (remix)"
(with Maren Morris)[104]
12 Non-album singles
"The Parting Glass" 2020 44
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
IRE
[56]
BEL
(FL)

[58]
US
Rock

[105]
US
Alt
Digital

[106]
"Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene" 2014 34 [S] 30 Hozier
"Like Real People Do" 69 32 24
"To Be Alone" 74 48
"Arsonist's Lullabye" 25 10
"NFWMB" 2018 27 34 Nina Cried Power
"Moment's Silence (Common Tongue)" 24
"Shrike" 31 30 Wasteland, Baby!
"To Be Alone" 2019 48
"To Noise Making (Sing)" 44 35
"No Plan" 44
"—" denotes a songthat did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Notes

  1. ^ "From Eden" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 9 on the Ultratip chart.[58]
  2. ^ "From Eden" did not enter the Netherlands' Single Top 100 but peaked on the Netherlands' Single Tip Chart at number 8.[89]
  3. ^ "Work Song" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 20 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[90]
  4. ^ "Someone New" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 5 on the Ultratip chart.[58]
  5. ^ "Someone New" did not enter the Netherlands' Single Top 100 but peaked on the Netherlands' Single Tip Chart at number 10.[91]
  6. ^ "Someone New" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number one on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[90]
  7. ^ "Jackie & Wilson" did not enter the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, but peaked at number 64 on the Canadian Digital Song Sales chart.[95]
  8. ^ "Nine Cried Power" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 30 on the Ultratip chart.[58]
  9. ^ "Nina Cried Power" did not enter the Netherlands' Single Top 100 but peaked on the Netherlands' Single Tip Chart at number 28.[98]
  10. ^ "Nina Cried Power" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Music Chart, but peaked at number 27 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[99]
  11. ^ "Movement" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 14 on the Ultratip chart.[58]
  12. ^ "Movement" did not enter the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, but peaked at number 17 on the Canadian Digital Song Sales chart.[95]
  13. ^ "Movement" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 26 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[100]
  14. ^ "Movement" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 91 on the UK Singles Downloads Chart.[101]
  15. ^ "Movement" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 11 on the Digital Song Sales chart.[102]
  16. ^ "Almost (Sweet Music)" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 33 on the Ultratip chart.[58]
  17. ^ "Almost (Sweet Music)" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 18 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[103]
  18. ^ "Almost (Sweet Music)" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 45 on the Digital Song Sales chart.[102]
  19. ^ "Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 4 on the Ultratip chart.[58]

Awards and nominations[edit]

American Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Hozier Favorite Alternative Artist Nominated
BBC Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Hozier International Artist of the Year Nominated
"Take Me to Church" Song of the Year Won
Billboard Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Hozier Top New Artist Nominated
Top Rock Artist Won
"Take Me to Church" Top Streaming Song (Audio) Nominated
Top Rock Song Won
Hozier Top Rock Album Nominated
Country Music Association Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2020 "The Bones" (with Maren Morris) Musical Event of the Year Pending
European Border Breakers Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Hozier Album of the Year Won
Denmark GAFFA Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2020 Hozier Best Foreign Solo Act Pending [107]
Wasteland, Baby! Best Foreign Album Pending
Grammy Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 "Take Me to Church" Song of the Year Nominated
Ivor Novello Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2019 "Nina Cried Power" Best Song Musically and Lyrically Nominated[108]
Juno Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2016 Hozier International Album of the Year Nominated
Los Premios 40 Principales
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Hozier Best International New Artist Nominated
"Take Me to Church" Best International Video
MTV Europe Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2014 "Take Me to Church" Best Song with a Social Message Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 "Take Me to Church" Best Rock Video Nominated
Best Direction
Teen Choice Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 "Take Me to Church" Choice Rock Song Won

Social activism[edit]

He is part of an organisation, Home Sweet Home, led by celebrities including Saoirse Ronan and Glen Hansard. In 2016, this organisation illegally took over an office building in Dublin to house 31 homeless families.[109]

Hozier, who had a Protestant upbringing in the minority Quaker faith, is an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church.[110]

On 5 June 2020, Hozier announced that all royalties from his song “Jackboot Jump” would go to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter.[111]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ From Eden did not enter the US Billboard 200 but did peak at number 184 on the US Top Current Albums chart.[80]

References[edit]

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