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Andrew John Hozier-Byrne was born on March 17, 1990 in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. The son of a local blues musician, he joined his first band when he was 15, gravitating toward R&B, soul, gospel, and, of course, blues. Citing James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Leonard Cohen, John Lee Hooker, and community choral singing among his influences, Hozier started studying for a degree in music at Trinity College Dublin, where he was involved with the Trinity Orchestra, but dropped out in his first year to record demos for Universal Music. From 2009 to 2012, he sang with Anúna, an Irish choral group, and toured internationally. He released a solo EP, Take Me to Church, in 2013 using Hozier as his stage name, and when a video for the powerful title track, which directly addresses gay discrimination in the Catholic Church, went viral on YouTube and Reddit, he found himself with an international audience. A second EP, From Eden, appeared in the spring of 2014 and in September of that year, Columbia released his eponymous debut album.
Thanks to the runaway success of "Take Me to Church" (which was included on the album), Hozier reached the Top Ten of the charts in no less than 11 countries, and was quickly certified gold in Canada and Great Britain. Hozier spent the next several years promoting the release, appearing at the 2015 Grammy Awards, and offering up the concert album Live in America, that same year. In 2016, he contributed the song "Better Love" to the soundtrack for the Legend of Tarzan film. In September 2018, Hozier released the four-song Nina Cried Power EP, which featured a collaboration with soul legend Mavis Staples on the title cut. The song was also featured on his sophomore full-length Wasteland, Baby!, which was released in March 2019.
Rife with apocalyptic and socio-political themes, Wasteland, Baby! debuted at number one in the U.S. upon its release; it also topped the charts in Ireland and debuted at six in the U.K. In early 2020, following months of touring, Hozier issued his version of the traditional song "The Parting Glass" as a charity single. A year later he guested on Meduza's track "Tell It to My Heart" which hit number 13 on the Irish charts. He returned in October 2022 with the haunting "Swan Upon Leda," which served as the first taste 2023's Unreal Unearth, a concept album loosely based on Dante's Inferno. ~ Steve Leggett