Hozier Is The Perfect Blend of Rock ‘n’ Folk

By Breanna Shiflett

2014 was a huge year for artist Hozier. After the emerging artist released his first album in September, his American tour completely sold out, he made several television appearances (including Saturday Night Live and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show), and his hit song “Take Me to Church” was nominated at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for Song of the Year in 2015. It’s no doubt that the twenty-four year old singer-songwriter will be rocking the music scene for years to come, but his career so far has already been quite impressive, and his self-titled album is certainly a work of art.

Although it may be difficult to detect in his songs, Andrew Hozier-Byrne is actually Irish, and has been making waves across the pond for several years. He dropped out of college during his first year to record demos with Universal Music, and was a part of the choral group Anúna from 2008 to 2012. Hozier’s real fame began in 2013, though, after he released his first EP Take Me to Church and created a music video for the song of the same name. The video quickly received hundreds of views, and after two days had been seen 80,000 times. After the success of his first EP, Hozier released a second one, entitled From Eden, in early 2014, before finally releasing his first studio album towards the end of the year.

The self-titled album Hozier consists of thirteen songs and two bonus tracks. The album has a great blend of rock and folk, and every song on it is filled with soul. It’s easy to rock out to songs such as “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” and “Jackie and Wilson,” and then feel the need to sway along to the folk tunes of “In a Week” and “Cherry Wine.” Some of the tracks, such as “Work Song,” have an underlying blues influence, as Hozier inherited his love of the genre from his blues-playing father. The artist also has roots in gospel music, as evident in tunes like “Someone New” and “Take Me to Church.” Regardless of whether you prefer the folk or rock, Hozier’s soulful voice bring his lyrics to life (and if you still have any doubts, simply listen to the haunting bonus track “In the Woods Somewhere,” which just might send a shiver down your spine).

Without a doubt, though, “Take Me To Church” is Hozier’s most popular, spending twenty-three  weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, reaching as high as the number two spot. As previously mentioned, the music video for the song quickly went viral, and now has over 77 million views. But why was the video so important? The music video, which follows the story of a gay couple and the horrific violence that they face for their sexuality, was released following Russia’s condemnation of the LGBT community, and thus rocketed Hozier into the spotlight with a song that was not only catchy but had an important message. The singer stated that the song is about “what it is to be a human, what it is to love someone as a human being, and organizations that would undermine that, and undermine the more natural parts of being a person.” “Take Me to Church” is more than just the song that sent Hozier on the road to stardom; it showed the music industry and his fans that he cares about important issues, and that his music has important social messages to portray.

While 2014 was a big year for the Irish singer, 2015 will surely be even better for Hozier. He will have four major tours this year across Europe and North America, the bulk of it being February through March (although most of the tickets are already sold out). Hozier has shown the music industry that he is here to stay, and it’s very possible that his soulful voice will be taking over the radio waves much more in the coming months.