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Hozier


Citing blues as his main inspiration (played to him from a young age by his musician dad), HOZIER took the world of pop and rock music by storm in 2014. On the strength of played-to-death signature hit tune, `Take Me To Church’, the young Irishman has rose to the top of the heap, nominated as he was for a couple of Grammys.
Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, 17th March 1990, Bray in County Wicklow, he passed up a degree in music at Trinity College Dublin, instead opting for a career to take him far beyond singing in choirs. Not yet ready to venture beyond performing for Irish choral outfit, ANUNA (between 2009 and 2012), Andrew’s guidance under the watchful eye of Universal Records was a necessary evil. Channelling his love of the blues through also gospel, R&B, soul and a smidgen of folk, the much-touted singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (although electric guitar is his main choice), HOZIER signed to Island UK and Columbia Records in the States, through Rubyworks.
A masterstroke of sorts to address the topical point of Russia’s homophobic tendencies, a YouTube video of “…Church” went viral, resulting in one of the biggest global hits of the year. Anticipation was rife for proof further of the man’s talents and, the eponymous HOZIER (2014) {*7}, was certainly that. Drawing from the likes of JEFF BUCKLEY, BON IVER and his hero JOHN LEE HOOKER (or almost anyone with blues credentials), the intimate singer was austere and a touch of class. Potential hit singles, `From Eden’, `Sedated’, `In A Week’ (a duet with Karen Cowley) and the PAGE-PLANT-esque `To Be Alone’, might well’ve followed “Church” into the charts – but for download rules. Mature for his years in a way VAN MORRISON might’ve adorned way back in time, Hozi would go as far as to name his offspring in song `Jackie And Wilson’, but doubters would still berate the album’s almost horizontal and midnight-hour approach.
In no immediate hurry to rush out a follow-up album, multi-Grammy/Brit Award winner HOZIER finally unfettered his long-awaited sophomore set in early March 2019. WASTELAND, BABY! {*7} topped the charts in both America and Ireland, although the UK (at hp#6) was lesser impressed by the singer’s neo-gospel protest songs. Opening salvo (and minor hit), `Nina Cried Power’, was a perfect example of his stuck-in-the-mud direction; the duet ballad, alongside recent Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient MAVIS STAPLES, was probably his best since the soulful “Church”. Of the others on parade, the contemplative `Nobody’, `Movement’ and `Almost (Sweet Music)’ proved introspective and anguished artist HOZIER could more or less sing the proverbial phonebook.
© MC Strong/MCS Oct2014-Jun2019

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