Hozier Was Never a One-Hit Wonder. But Now He Has a Second Smash.


Indeed, the songwriter and producer Dan Tannenbaum, known as Bekon, recalled that in the studio Hozier “would often say, ‘Oh, I don’t know, there’s a lot of people doing that right now’” in response to “overly commercial” suggestions. Tannenbaum, who has writing and production credits on “Too Sweet” and a majority of the tracks on “Unreal Unearth,” said he felt certain that with Hozier’s “sense of self” the music “would be tasteful, yet with the hope of being successful, heard by many.”

While Hozier, who lives in the countryside of Wicklow, Ireland, has benefited from listeners sharing their intimate moments on social media accompanied by his music, he reveals little of himself online, or in interviews. He was, however, happy to discuss beekeeping, a fairly recent pursuit, and the poetry readings — Seamus Heaney, Stephen Dunn — he did on Instagram Live during the height of the pandemic. (“If you wanted to talk history or novels or poems, he’s just very well-read,” Tannenbaum said.)

Hozier explained that he doesn’t like to attract attention outside of music-related activities, a desire sometimes undercut by his physical stature. (“I kind of stick out like a lanky thumb.”) The singer’s reticence has left room for fans to project all sorts of things onto him.

“He doesn’t chase the trappings of celebrity in any way,” Russell said. “They find that mysterious, and I think there’s a bit of fetishizing, if you will, of Ireland as a mystical, magical land of druids and fairies.” She recited some of the nicknames Hozier’s young acolytes had bestowed upon him: Forest Daddy, King of the Lesbians, the Bogfather, Irish Jesus.

Hozier described the fan perception of him as an amusing but sometimes mystifying phenomenon: “The Irish element — that’s the thing that seems exotic or whatever.”

So is Hozier a normal guy? “I’m grounded enough,” he replied. “But at the same time, does a normal guy sit down for an hour with The New York Times and play to how many thousand people a day? So there’s elements of that. But yeah, I’m not a woodsman.”





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