By Shannon Carlin
Hozier is set to grace the stage of Saturday Night Live this weekend with host (and returning SNL alum) Bill Hader. But you may be asking yourself, just who is this Hozier guy?
You might even be wondering, how do you pronounce his name? SNL assumed as much and even included the correct pronunciation in the new teaser for the show.
For the record, Hozier rhymes with “cozier” and it’s actually the Irish singer’s middle name. His full name is Andrew Hozier Byrne.
These promos also show us that Hozier isn’t afraid of giving or getting a great big bear hug. Not a bad trait for an up and coming star.
But to help prepare you for the show, here is a handy-dandy — and very abridged — guide to Hozier. Now you can impress your friends after he hits the Studio 8H stage.
1. He’s the guy who sings “Take Me to Church”
Earning comparisons to Elton John, Hozier’s soulful first single is climbing up the charts and gaining notoriety for its very real subject matter. On the track, he sings “I will tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife” pointing fingers at Catholic culture — specifically in his home country of Ireland — that condemns homosexuality.
He told The Cut that “Sexuality, and sexual orientation — regardless of orientation — is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation — that it is sinful, or that it offends God. The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.”
But, the song is not an attack on faith. “Coming from Ireland, obviously, there’s a bit of a cultural hangover from the influence of the church. You’ve got a lot of people walking around with a heavy weight in their hearts and a disappointment, and that s–t carries from generation to generation,” he explained. “So the song is just about that — it’s an assertion of self, reclaiming humanity back for something that is the most natural and worthwhile. Electing, in this case a female, to choose a love who is worth loving.”
2. His song has become an anthem for the LGBT community
This is thanks in part to the very real video, directed by former Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty in 2013, which references the persecution of the LGBT community in Russia by showing actual abuses. Hozier told Mother Jones, “We weren’t trying to go for sensationalism or shock value or anything like that. Of course it is shocking—and it should be shocking—but this is what’s going on.”
He also told the publication, “There is no greater celebration of life, and nothing more human than a sexual act,” adding that any government that condemns homosexuality “undermines humanity at its most natural.”
The clip currently has over 13 million views.