Hozier is the name on everyone’s lips.

The 24-year-old musician from Ireland has had the sort of year that others only ever dream about. His single "Take Me Church" was released in 2013 and in one fell swoop turned the Wicklow native into an international sensation.

He recently performed on "Saturday Night Live" to great acclaim and has acquired a global fan-base with Ed Sheeran, One Republic, Adele and even everyone's favorite talk show host Ellen DeGeneres singing his praises.

His self-titled debut album is currently reigning at no. 2 on the Billboard Album Chart.

As meteoric as his overnight success has been, if you ask Andrew Hozier-Byrne, his story has been years in the making.

"I knew I always wanted to write .....I wanted to write songs that people could sing," explains the soft-spoken Bray man.

Back in 2009 during the first year of a music degree in Trinity College, destiny came knocking.

"I had an opportunity to record for a label, to do some demo work that conflicted with the exam schedule and it kinda pushed me into thinking."

That thinking led the musician to drop out of college and pursue his dream. After a relatively slow couple of years, Hozier released his first EP in late 2013 and a star was born.

The gospel blues style song "Take me to Church" was set along to a controversial video that depicted a gay couple being targeted and persecuted for their relationship; both the song and the video hit the right note with audiences.

“We sat down [Hozier and the video production team] and talked about the video, and we saw that we had an opportunity to make something that resonated with the song and resonated with what is going on in the world at the minute,"explains the Irishman about his break-through EP.

"We didn't think we would have a viral hit on our hands. We didn't think that it would get to as many people as it did."

In fact, the song, which was initially released online for free, just took on a life of it's own. The video was shared on various social network platforms but really took off when it was shared on Reddit. It received over 10,000 views an hour at one point and at last count "Take me to Church" has close to 15 million hits on YouTube.

Since then the Wicklow musician has been on everyone's most wanted list and has been touring non-stop on both sides of the Atlantic.

Having had the opportunity to appear at every major festival this summer, Hozier cites the annual Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island as a personal stand-out moment.

“Newport Folk Festival was a career highlight for me.”

“A big part of my musical education was watching footage of the festival … that was a big deal.”

Alongside the non-stop tour dates, the 24-year-old (whose birthday is St. Patrick's Day) has appeared on a variety of popular US television shows such as David Letterman, Ellen and more recently SNL.

"Doing SNL was a dream come true," he said. 

Whilst many have remarked to the singer about his whirl-wind year, Hozier hasn't had a moment to reflect on the last twelve months admitting “Even now at this stage, I've yet to really get my head around it”

"That is one of the hardest things to do I think, because every day is very very busy."

"... it's so go go go. "

And it seems it might be sometime yet before he gets a chance to step back and take stock, as he is set to perform a string of already sold out shows well into 2015.

But despite the exhausting schedule, Hozier says it's worth it - “It is very exciting seeing people excited about your songs.”


Hozier, from Bray, Co. Wicklow.Alex Lake