Hozier admits that he stopped singing for a while after a few bad experiences on stage. Like the one of his very first performance, when still a teenager: Hozier ended up on stage in front of about a thousand people. “It went awfully bad”. “Because of the soprano voice?” we ask, innocently. “Yep. When I went for nigh note, my voice cracked and I froze up”, recalls Hozier. The back music kept playing and the young singer stood still on stage until an old woman had to come over and dragged him away.
But there was no way Hozier was ever going to stop playing music. At 15, he joined a soul band. To be fair, his father was a blues musician, and Hozier had a great musical education. Later on, he discovered gospel and jazz. He started writing around that time. “I would write about silly things that teenagers write about”, he says shyly. “What do teenagers write about?” we ask, still innocently, thinking of love, friendships and heartbreaks. But no, for Hozier it’s about “being alone and miserable”.
Long after high school, Hozier dropped out of college, impatient to start recording instead of learning about History of contemporary music. Had he stayed in his major, “I would have been four year behind what I wanted to do”, he explains. Plus, Hozier had the opportunity to go to a recording studio at the exact same time of his exams. “I didn’t hesitate too long”, he says before adding that nothing came out of those recordings. Except his decision to start his career earlier than originally planned.
His quick recognition for his two first EP comes from the very first song he released, Take Me to Church. What makes it so addictive? We are not so sure. Hozier’s deep voice? The profound lyrics denouncing the Church’s power? The clip relating to current events about LGBT rights abuse in Russia? Hozier doesn’t have a clue. “But I’m very fortunate that it does”, he adds modestly.
He had the lyrics for a long time, “but they never found a home in a song”. It’s often the case for Hozier, who keeps everything that he writes, collecting ideas before finding them a song. The (very) tall singer admits having strong opinions about the Church and its politics ties in Ireland. He starts to go over the History of his country, explaining how people start to be fed up with Church’s power over political life in Ireland. “I may be a bit more angry about it than I should be,” admits the singer.
Take me to church attacks the Church and organisations that « undermine natural parts of being humans, discriminating women and LGBT rights… Well, basically, teaching people to be ashamed of themselves. Catholic church does it very well”, asserts Hozier. Then, he suddenly stops “blah. I’m rambling. But I’m just starting”.
Indeed, Hozier is just starting. At only 24, he is getting ready for his US tour this fall. “I miss writing”, admits Hozier. What are his usual topics? “Whatever makes sense”, concludes the activist musician.
Photos : Aurore Lucas
Find all Hozier’s tour dates on his website