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New kings of Pop: Hozier

 

It’s been quite the media circus for andrew hozier-byrne since the surprise success of his hit “Take me to church”. Indeed no one was more surprised than hozier himself, who has always felt completely out of synch with the times in which we’re living.

In contrast to rock stars of their parents’ generation, Hozier, Tom Odell, James Bay, George Ezra, Benjamin Clementine and Jake Bugg represent a different face of British pop, one that’s less wild and rather more saccharine. For Numéro Homme, this new wave of singer-songwriters posed in the studio of fabled photographer David Bailey, the man who immortalized Mick Jagger and all the other London legends of the Swinging 60s.

Photo David Bailey.

 

Denim shirt, RALPH LAUREN BLACK LABEL. Tee-shirt andt jean, POLO  RALPH LAUREN. Vintage boots.

 

 

Take me to church, Hozier

Andrew Hozier-Byrne, who goes by the shortened version Hozier, has had one of the most spectacular débuts of recent months. Thrust into the limelight by the unstoppable Take Me to Church, a song that mixes incense and hellfire in an explosive cocktail of gospel and infidel pop, he has become a figurehead in the new combat for equal rights. When we met him, Ireland, where he grew up, had just voted to allow gay marriage, a source of enormous pride for the man whose video, which denounced anti-gay violence, was considered so controversial that it almost didn’t get broadcast. The song itself, which calls for freedom from religious dogmas, wasn’t necessarily destined to conquer Europe’s hit parades. “I was the first one to be surprised by its success, not because of the lyrics but because of the music. I’m stunned that so many people want to listen to this kind of thing in 2015. I was convinced I was completely out of synch, like I was at school when I listened to old blues tracks, which my classmates just didn’t get.”

 

Delta blues, early RnB, 60s soul − Andrew discovered all that thanks to his father’s record collection, which unlocked an unknown world where the teenager from County Wicklow began losing himself in an enchanted forest. Voices from almost 100 years ago had far more impact on him than the throwaway hits he heard on the radio, and the blues became his obsession. “At 14 I started playing slide guitar. I thought of myself as a bluesman and imagined making a career out of it later, even if it was completely unrealistic. Moreover in my mind it remained unrealistic until very recently.” In direct opposition to the false values peddled by contemporary music, this young white boy fascinated by old black men writes with sincerity, humanity and animality, in direct reaction to his intimate experience with the outside world.

 

Like another illustrious Irishman, Van Morrison, he manages to subsume his influences into a personal grammar that has nothing rote-learned or fake about it. But his ultimate inspiration is American. “When I heard Tom Waits for the first time I felt reassured about the path I’d chosen. He was also inspired by the blues, but he was lively, sexy and modern.” After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Andrew went to London in the hope of gaining more exposure for his singular songs, which soon caught the ears of music producers looking for authenticity. But Hozier might surprise us all by radically changing direction. After this first album, he’s not ruling out a possible foray into funk or dance − black music again, but more carnal, which he might take by stealth, under a borrowed name.

 

 

Check out the full story in the September issue of Numéro, now in stands and available in our iPad app.

 

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By Christophe Conte

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Rosalía, the flamenco-R’n’B tornado knighted by Pedro Almodóvar

Music Rosalía won’t be slowing global warming down. Whether it’s in her music videos where she dances with a fiery passion or on her smouldering album which marries edgy R'n'B with traditional flamenco, she scorches everything that comes her way. Pedro Almodóvar and Pharrell Williams have already succumbed, and it won’t be long before the rest of the planet does too. Rosalía won’t be slowing global warming down. Whether it’s in her music videos where she dances with a fiery passion or on her smouldering album which marries edgy R'n'B with traditional flamenco, she scorches everything that comes her way. Pedro Almodóvar and Pharrell Williams have already succumbed, and it won’t be long before the rest of the planet does too.

“Better to die for a noble cause than to live and die a slave.” Neneh Cherry
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“Better to die for a noble cause than to live and die a slave.” Neneh Cherry

Music A performer sans frontières, Neneh Cherry has just released her new album, Broken Politics, after four years away from the recording studio. A magisterial disc, it updates her trip-hop groove for today’s troubled times. With her customary elegance, Cherry shares her emotion with respect to the world’s many injustices, lending her voice to those who are without one. A performer sans frontières, Neneh Cherry has just released her new album, Broken Politics, after four years away from the recording studio. A magisterial disc, it updates her trip-hop groove for today’s troubled times. With her customary elegance, Cherry shares her emotion with respect to the world’s many injustices, lending her voice to those who are without one.

“It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.” Why is Dolly Parton the ultimate icon?
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“It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.” Why is Dolly Parton the ultimate icon?

Music The 72-year old country singer is the unexpected muse of Gucci’s spring 2019 collection. Singer, actress and writer, she continues to seduce with her wild stage outfits and her awesome one-liners. Those millennial popstars have got nothing on Dolly. The 72-year old country singer is the unexpected muse of Gucci’s spring 2019 collection. Singer, actress and writer, she continues to seduce with her wild stage outfits and her awesome one-liners. Those millennial popstars have got nothing on Dolly.

Dandyish musical sophisticate caught somewhere between Daft Punk and the classical cannon, but who really is Chilly Gonzales?
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Dandyish musical sophisticate caught somewhere between Daft Punk and the classical cannon, but who really is Chilly Gonzales?

Music Canadian composer, musician and rapper, Chilly Gonzales forms the central focus of “Shut Up and Play the Piano”, a documentary that hit theatres on October 3rd. Directed by German journalist Philipp Jedicke, the film explores his path to date, and his dual personality. Canadian composer, musician and rapper, Chilly Gonzales forms the central focus of “Shut Up and Play the Piano”, a documentary that hit theatres on October 3rd. Directed by German journalist Philipp Jedicke, the film explores his path to date, and his dual personality.

Meeting with Lenny Kravitz, unbeatable rock icon
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Meeting with Lenny Kravitz, unbeatable rock icon

Music With his inimitable look and solar charisma, he embodies the archetypal rock star, on whom time has no empire. A one-man band capable of playing all his own instruments, Lenny Kravitz is back with a new album, “Raise Vibration”, a groovy and militant manifesto, the eleventh opus in his career. Weaving gospel and Native American chants into his rhythms, in homage to his black and part-Cherokee roots, Kravitz also celebrates figures such as Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson on this vibrant and intimate disc. Numéro caught up with him af ter his stomping Paris concert this June. With his inimitable look and solar charisma, he embodies the archetypal rock star, on whom time has no empire. A one-man band capable of playing all his own instruments, Lenny Kravitz is back with a new album, “Raise Vibration”, a groovy and militant manifesto, the eleventh opus in his career. Weaving gospel and Native American chants into his rhythms, in homage to his black and part-Cherokee roots, Kravitz also celebrates figures such as Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson on this vibrant and intimate disc. Numéro caught up with him af ter his stomping Paris concert this June.

4 things you should know about Lana Del Rey, the vintage star with an irresistible pout
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4 things you should know about Lana Del Rey, the vintage star with an irresistible pout

Music With her vintage allure and her throbbing vocals, Lana Del Ray is nothing short of captivating. Just a week after the unexpected release of her “Mariners Apartment Complex”, she unveils “Venice Bitch”, a 10-minute track that wraps up summer perfectly, while announcing her sixth album, “Normal Fucking Rockwell”. Numéro looks at four must-know facts about the diva with the irresistible pout. With her vintage allure and her throbbing vocals, Lana Del Ray is nothing short of captivating. Just a week after the unexpected release of her “Mariners Apartment Complex”, she unveils “Venice Bitch”, a 10-minute track that wraps up summer perfectly, while announcing her sixth album, “Normal Fucking Rockwell”. Numéro looks at four must-know facts about the diva with the irresistible pout.