Hozier has maintained a steady hold on the blues genre since the release of the Take Me to Church EP. Along with the title track’s smash success, the “Take Me to Church” music video received critical acclaim for its portrayal of anti-gay violence in Russia. Hozier’s striking religious influences and political messages distinguish his music from the average chart-topper.
I had the pleasure of photographing Hozier’s Glasgow performance at the O2 Academy. After opening with fan favorite "Like Real People Do," Hozier played "Nina Cried Power." The latter stays true to the socially conscious roots of Hozier’s early success by presenting a rallying cry to stand up for equality. Drawing off of the legacies of artists such as Nina Simone and James Brown, Hozier creates a blues anthem for the modern-day rebel.
Old and new songs were beautifully interwoven into the rest of the set. I was particularly struck by just how comfortable fans seemed, whether they had followed Hozier since the early days or had just recently discovered his music. The communal atmosphere was palpable, and I attribute that to Hozier’s message of tolerance.
At the core of Hozier’s music is the idea of finding yourself—through both lost loves and chaotic political times. He doesn’t claim to have the answers, but his poetic lyricism as he attempts to find them is his most endearing quality of all. The emotions in his songs are only heightened live, and I’m glad I had the chance to experience them.