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Hozier's trip to "Church" was a blessed affair

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Back in the fall of 2013, Andrew Hozier-Byrne was just an aspiring singer-songwriter from Ireland who'd spent some time with a popular band (Anuna) and was ready to set out on his own.

Then he took us to church, and took his career to the moon.

Known these days as Hozier, his "Take Me to Church" was a worldwide hit -- No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, certified triple-platinum and nominated for a Grammy Award -- that launched his self-titled debut album to similar peaks. He's doing sell-out business on the road, and this summer he'll be making the leap from clubs and small theaters to larger venues.

"it's been crazy, man," says Hozier, 24, who plays a sold-out show Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. "I've just been very fortunate and people have really connected to the music a lot faster than I thought.

"I'm thrilled and I'm excited to tour more here and spend more time in America. The crowds have been incredibly warm and incredibly supportive. It's kind of taken me by surprise. I'm still kind of processing it, in a sense."

"Take Me To Church" was Hozier's breakthrough in more than just commercial terms. It was the result of a long creative gestation from the time he was 16, working with Anuna and stdying at Trinity College in Dublin as well as a variety of producers trying to make something that clicked and felt comfortable. But, he notes, "It wasn't until the 'Take Me To Church' EP that I began to reflect my influences a bit more naturally and more honestly and produce it a bit more myself, and I really found I was getting close to the sound I wanted to create.

"I was turning a corner and finding the voice a bit more naturally -- but I certainly never imagined I'd be here with it. That's been a great surprise, and hopefully we can keep it going."

Hozier and Asgeir

Saturday, Feb. 28. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are sold out.

Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Note: Hozier and Dawes perform at 8 p.m. July 29 at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $65 and $45 pavilion, $29.50 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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