Folk singer Hozier is famous for his distinct soulful vocals mixed with ethereal instrumentals. From his start in 2013, Hozier’s sound has stayed relatively consistent over these past ten years. However, his artistry continues to grow with each passing year. With over 28 million listeners on Spotify and a brand-new album topping the charts, it’s safe to say these last decade has been far from static for Hozier.
2023 will forever be marked as another memorable time in his career. Unreal Unearth, his third studio album, was released on August 18th. In no time, he’s hit the charts once again. This album is full of songs for every feeling: slow ballads, melancholy sounds, and even upbeat tunes. There is no doubt that Hozier is talented in every aspect of his singing and songwriting. With this in mind, let’s dive into the evolution of his musical career.
Who is Hozier?
Hozier, also formally known as Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, was born in 1990 in County Wicklow, Ireland. At the age of 15, he began writing songs. Later on, he taught himself guitar. This newfound love of music led him to join the school choir. After graduation, he continued his musical education at Trinity College in Dublin.
While at Trinity College, Hozier joined the orchestra. Here, he got a chance to expand his musical talents by touring with a collegiate group in Norway and the Netherlands. In 2012, he was a backup singer for Billy Ocean, but in 2013, at the age of 23, everything changed. He wrote an emotional ballad that would go on to become one of the most popular songs for years to follow.
debut single turned viral hit over night
“Take Me to Church”, released in 2013, was Hozier’s debut. The single was posted on Reddit, where it gained loads of attention and tons of listens. It’s pretty unheard of for an unknown artist’s first track to become an instant hit, but with heart-wrenching lyrics and angelic vocals, it’s no surprise Hozier was going viral.
It has become an international hit, reaching #1 in 12 countries, and has been certified five times platinum in the US. “Take Me to Church” was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Song of the Year” in 2015.
Many fans originally believed this was a song about love and church. Although this is somewhat true, it’s not about the heteronormative relationship they thought it to be. Hozier’s lyrics take a hit at the Catholic Church and its ideologies towards the LGBTQ+ community, leading to a lot of backlash from religious listeners who didn’t agree with Hozier’s message.
This chart-topping hit was nothing short of controversial, leaving fans eager to see what Hozier would do next. Whether you like the song or not, there is no doubt that “Take Me To Church” and the meaning behind Hozier’s lyrics have changed the music industry forever.
How is each album different form the next?
With three studio albums now under his belt, Hozier is no stranger to the ins and outs of music making. Each album is a mix of perfect mix of whimsical, gut-wrenching, and soulful pieces.
He released his self-titled debut album, Hozier, in 2014. “Cherry Wine” is comprised of soft vocals paired with gentle acoustics. “Like Real People Do” is a love song with dreamy lyrics and guitar strums that sound like two beating hearts. “Take Me To Church” is a heavy ballad full of sorrow and longing. The wide variety of Hozier means there’s something for everyone. His syrupy voice mixed with powerful instrumentals holds a soulful tune that leaves listeners enthralled.
His second album, Wasteland, Baby! was released in 2019. This album emphasizes the thematic elements of love and redemption. “Almost (Sweet Music)” is titled, quite literally, according to the lovely tune. He sings of a sweet, gentle love and acknowledges his foolish heart. Oppositely, “Nina Cried Power” is more of a bluesy, soulful piece that includes a gospel choir. This piece really sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Similarly to his first album, Unreal Unearth takes on pop tracks and well as some R&B vibes. Hozier even mentioned that this album has some representation of time and space itself. “De Selby Part 2” takes a dive into the deep connection of self. On the other end, “Butchered Tounge” holds more of a melancholy sound.
The ten-year difference between these two albums really emphasizes how much Hozier’s artistry has matured. Although his vocals remain powerful, his lyrics are much more heartfelt and evocative. They hold an intensity that is guaranteed to entrance anyone who listens.
What’s Next for Hozier?
Like what you’ve heard? Hozier is currently on tour in the US! You can get tickets here. What better way to celebrate the release of his new album than by seeing him live in concert?! Or take a listen to the Unreal Unearth setlist yourself on Spotify!