The above video managed to get 200,000 views in just twenty-four hours. Pretty impressive for an Irish artist without major label backing who just released his first EP, right?
Meet Andrew Hozier-Byrne. Born on St. Patrick’s Day and hailing from County Wicklow, he is generating huge buzz in the music industry in recent weeks. He joined his first band when he was fifteen and, having taught himself to play guitar and piano, he went to Trinity College to study music. Hozier released the Take Me to Church EP two months ago. He played all the instruments (with input from Fiachra Kinder on drums), sang all the parts and recorded it at home. Rob Kirwan (who has worked with Depeche Mode and PJ Harvey amongst others) mixed the tracks in Dublin.
“Take Me to Church” was inspired by the recent homophobic attacks in Russia and the beautifully shot video is hard to watch but compelling. It has been praised internationally and Stephen Fry and Perez Hilton are just two people who have tweeted about it.
I could compare Hozier to others and give you easy musical signposts, but I’d rather let him speak for himself. “Take Me To Church” and “Angel Of Small Death” have a stompy soul/gospel feel. I really love the haunting backing vocals on “Like Real People Do”. “Cherry Wine” is a beautiful acoustic track which was recorded live at 6am on an abandoned hotel rooftop, with accompaniment from the dawn chorus. Given the fact that the dawn chorus is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard you can understand why this track has found a permanent place in my heart. Hozier’s lyrics are worth paying close attention to. Just take the first two lines of the EP: “My lover’s got humour, She’s the giggle at a funeral…”
Here’s “Cherry Wine”, my personal favourite from the EP:
You can check out Hozier’s Facebook page here which is updated with details of gigs and his website is here. The EP is just €1.49 on iTunes (seriously guys, 37c a track is almost giving it away!) so support Irish music and buy it. I have had the EP on repeat in my house for a week and am falling more in love with it on every listen. And, if the amount of A & R reps at his recent Hard Working Class Heroes gig are anything to go by, he’s going to be huge.
(Just one question for the artist if he ever reads this: pronounced Hoo-zee-ay or Ho-zee-er? Or neither? I’d like to get it right!)