Hozier revealed to the Guardian that the controversial subject matter of his worldwide chart-topping hit “Take Me To Church” has led angry pastors to write open letters to him. The Irish singer-songwriter has called the song a slam against “institutions that undermine humanity,” a list in which he includes the Catholic church. He explained, “In America, I’ve never been approached or received hate mail, but I’ve had a few delightful open letters from pastors who have a few choice words to say. But the song isn’t about Baptist or evangelical Christianity, it references more the Catholic church.”
The video for the song was inspired by a recent Russian campaign against homosexuality which compared it to bestiality and pedophilia.
Hozier told us that writing the track was a breakthrough for him but started in humble fashion:
“You know, it really started as a kind of a homemade project. All the vocals on that track were recorded in the attic where I wrote the song. When I had the chorus, everything found its place and all those lyrics found their place in the song and I was excited about it, because it was, I was turning a corner and finding the voice a bit more naturally.”
Hozier added about the song, “I tried to be as honest as possible with the lyrics and the production has a choral energy to it, kind of a gospel feel, which adds a lift.”
“Take Me To Church” topped Billboard‘s “Hot Rock Songs” chart for 23 weeks, tying it with “Radioactive” from Imagine Dragons for the longest run at the top.
The track also peaked at Number Two on Billboard‘s overall Hot 100 and sold more than four million copies.
“Take Me To Church” was released in late 2013 and became an instant smash, paving the way for Hozier’s self-titled debut album, which arrived in October 2014.
Hozier is currently winding down a North American tour that brings him to Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday (May 5th).