It’s been 10 years since Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, whose real name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, released his chart-topping hit “Take Me to Church.”
Hozier was 23 when the hit made him an international star. The song went to No. 1 in at least a dozen countries and surpassed an astonishing 2 billion Spotify streams earlier this year.
The success of the song is something that surprises him to this day.
“I scarcely believe it myself,” he said.
Alongside the success of “Take Me to Church,” the multi-platinum-selling artist has unveiled his highly-anticipated third studio album, “Unreal Unearth,” which was released Friday.
The road to his third album has been tumultuous. Three-and-a-half years ago, Hozier had new music he was almost ready to release — but then the pandemic hit.
The pandemic’s onset caused a shift in perspective for the musician, prompting him to reevaluate his work’s relevance in the face of global challenges
“The world sort of changed and it felt like a lot of the work was frivolous in the face of everything. I did sort of scrap a lot of ideas and I did struggle to write and to sort of rise to the moment, as it were,” he said.
When things started to return to normal, Hozier began to have a lot of moments to himself and began to do some internal “janitor work.”
That meant that many of his ideas ended up in his “brain, phone and hundreds of memos” to himself.
The album delves into themes of love and loss, particularly inspired by a painful breakup that significantly impacted the singer. While he poignantly addresses these emotions through his music, Hozier confessed that discussing them in interviews proves challenging.
“It was a wonderful time and a very challenging time,” he said.
In his music video for “All Things End,” Hozier portrays a patient in critical condition, symbolizing the period of a lot of love and loss, he grappled with during the creation of the album.
Hozier said the album serves raw reflection of his personal journey and the gift of moving on.
Reflecting on his creative process, Hozier revealed that melodies often appear mysteriously, a magical experience that brings together artists in a shared musical journey.
“You kind of catch a wave and everybody has that little look around the room where it’s like, “Oh, wait, what was that,” you know? Just sing that again, you know, so that was very freeing. It’s very… it’s a good feeling,” he said.