Andrew Hozier Byrne is just 24 years old, and only a year ago, he was living in his parents’ attic in the back country of Ireland. He was a dropout of Trinity College, was disillusioned with the Catholic Church, and was unsure where he was going in his life. Then one night, the singer now known as just “Hozier,” wrote down a few lyrics that expressed the feeling of hypocrisy he’d been experiencing from organized religion. His parents weren’t rich, he had no inside track to fame, but what he had was a massive amount of untapped talent that has appealed to many nations and people of all ages.
After penning lyrics, writing the music, and singing the first rendition of “Take Me To Church,” which is currently holding at number 2 on the Billboard Top 100, his recording gained the attention of famed producer Rob Kirwan, who was so entranced with the original vocal that, even when they began reworking the song, he eventually decided it was best left intact as he’d discovered it.
“He’s got so much soul in his voice, and he’s only a youngster. He’s a bit like Adele where his voice belies his age.”
But music wasn’t the only thing on Hozier’s mind. He saw his music as a conduit to reach audiences about important social themes, like the pervasive discrimination of homosexuals in Russia. In fact, the video for “Take Me To Church” tells the story of how a homosexual man is taken, beaten, and perhaps burned (the video leaves that to the imagination) to show the violence that the homosexual community faces.
Since the song’s initial release as an EP in 2013, that vocal has earned him a nomination for Song of the Year at the Grammys, and won a No. 2 spot on the Billboard Top 100 charts, with a 17-week run at the top of the Hot Rock Songs chart. Hozier is even rumored to be romantically involved with Taylor Swift, which has not been confirmed by the singer. He is far more interested in talking about social issues during interviews than his love life.
So the question that many wonder is: What does “Take Me To Church” mean to the writer, Hozier? The bluesy song has a bit of a haunting effect that even Ukrainian-born ballet dancer Sergei Polunin used to film a beautiful dance. When asked, Hozier is matter of fact about his feelings.
“Sexuality, and sexual orientation, regardless of orientation, is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation — that it is sinful, or that it offends God.”
Although the singer is assumed to be straight, he takes social issues like gay rights seriously, and he now has an audience to preach them to – we expect more than “Take Me To Church” from the up-and-coming singer, much to the delight of people everywhere.