Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2018

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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas:

Q+A: Hozier talks ‘Church,’ Las Vegas, touring and being a St. Patrick’s Day baby

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Alex Lake

Irish singer-songwriter and musician Hozier.

Hozier Take Me to Church

Hozier Take Me to Church 2015 Grammys

It has been an incredible ride for 25-year-old Irish singer-songwriter and musician Hozier in the past six months that has included a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year (“Take Me to Church”), that same single staying in the Top Five of the Billboard Hot 100 for more than six months, and performing with The Eurythmics legend Annie Lennox at the Grammy Awards.

A pale version of “Take Me to Church,” one of the best masterpieces to be released in years, was, of course, used in Fox’s now-ended “Glee,” while a stronger mashup of it was performed by Rascal Flatts during their recent mini-run of “Vegas Riot!” at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.

St. Patrick’s Day baby Andrew Hozier-Byrne chatted over the phone on Feb. 11, three days after performing with Lennox at the 2015 Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

How did it feel to perform with the legendary Annie Lennox at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night? The two of you were one of the show’s highlights.

It was an absolute thrill, a total honor. She is a legend and a true artist. It was a total honor, and I really enjoyed it. I was excited and incredibly nervous. She is a fantastic performer.

Who were you most excited to meet at the Grammys?

I greatly respect him and didn’t want to annoy him as just some fan, but Stevie Wonder. The Black Keys, as well. I didn’t want to bug any of them as a fan.

“Take Me to Church” has been on the Billboard Hot 100 for more than six months now, and it’s still in the Top Five. Why do you think the song is resonating so much? And I will disclose that I am obsessed with the song.

Oh, wow, thank you. I get asked that a lot. I think perhaps because it’s different, and it makes a social statement. It’s different lyrically, it’s honest, and I put my heart and soul into it.

We never thought it would be a pop hit, a radio hit. We trusted our gut on how it felt, even though it didn’t fit in a radio context and pop music. I really don’t know why it has resonated (laughs)!

You’ve been asked endlessly about the meaning of the song, so I’m not going to ask you about it. However, the video is really powerful. Why did you go that direction with it?

Well, it’s clearly referencing Russia and the gay attacks in Russia by the ultra-right-wing gangs. The propaganda laws by organizations undermining a natural aspect of a person and telling society who they can and cannot love. The video and song were an opportunity to spread awareness of what’s going on in Russia.

Have you been to Las Vegas before? What is on your to-do list?

I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m not a big gambler. I’d like to see a show and just soak in the Las Vegas-ness of it all and see it for myself. I avoid gambling.

We’re two months out from your show, and it’s already sold out. How does that feel?

It feels good, man. This tour sold out before the last one ended. I’m enjoying it all while it’s all happening.

Are you working on anything right now along with the touring?

It’s very difficult right now to work on new ideas and nail down time to work on things. It will be a while.

Who are some of the artists you’re listening to right now? Inspirations?

Haim. They are fantastic, and their album is one of the best in many years. St. Vincent, too.

You’re Irish, and you were born on St. Patrick’s Day? How does that happen?

Yeah! I don’t know, man! Well, you see, when a man and a woman love each other very much … joking! As a kid, I got the day off on my birthday, as it was a national holiday. It was great. At home, everyone is up for a party on March 17.

Tell me something that fans would be surprised to learn about you?

I dunno … my first job was working as a janitor.

We’re 1 1/2 months into 2015. What are you looking forward to most in the New Year?

Music festivals — Coachella, the Newport Music Festival. This is the longest American tour to date. Going to Australia. I’m finally getting to enjoy and have come to terms and accepted the success of the song. The shows and the audiences — it’s all great, and I’m loving it.

Hozier performs a sold-out concert at the Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Don Chareunsy is the Las Vegas Sun’s arts and entertainment senior editor and has been a journalist for nearly two decades.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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