A unique and intelligent singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who cites James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Leonard Cohen, John Lee Hooker, and community choral singing among his influences, Hozier (his stage and performing name) was born Andrew Hozier-Byrne on March 17, 1990 (which just so happened to be St. Patrick's Day) in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. The son of a local blues musician, he literally grew up with the blues being played all around him. He joined his first band when he was 15, gravitating toward R&B, soul, gospel, and, of course, blues. 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, and when a video for the powerful title track, which directly addresses gay discrimination in Russia, went viral on YouTube and Reddit, Hozier 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. It reached the Top Ten of the charts in no less than 11 countries, and was quickly certified gold in Canada and Great Britain. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
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