“Hozier is a very particular presence – he describes himself as “awkward”, but rather there seems something undiluted about him – he is tall and slight, and speaks with intellect and intensity. At one point he explains how, for him, songwriting is slow, methodical work “because I’m very meticulous about making sure every word is right. I can defend any idea by the time someone hears it, because I’ve put it through a strainer seven times,” and there is a similar quality to his conversation – each word selected with care, as if feeling its ripeness.”
“"I think it all started with Nina Simone," he says. "When I was maybe seven or eight I used to listen to one of her albums every night before I went to sleep. For me her voice was everything." It’s strangely rare to hear a male artist heap such praise upon female artists, but Hozier talks glowingly of St Vincent, Feist, Lisa Hannigan. "The best vocalists I can think of are female," he says. "There is no singer I can think of who can touch Ella Fitzgerald. And when Billie Holiday sings she’s merciless about it. Her voice has just this immaculate sadness – even in happy songs there was something that was so broken about it."