How Hozier Became Gen Z’s ‘Forest Daddy’—and a Number One Artist


Hozier’s art is almost the antithesis to that epidemic. After all, many love songs (much less Tinder messages) aren’t often written with such meaningful lyrics like “Heaven is not fit to house a love like you and I / And I would not change it each time.”

“What I feel connects me more to him and his music is the fact that he has a way of capturing the human experience — like love, heartbreak, and very importantly, social issues — in a way that speaks to me like no other artist has,” says Maya.

For Hozier, this has all been, let’s just say, a new experience. Despite his new heartthrob status, though, he’s staying humble, telling Glamour he’s “just a guy.”

“I can enjoy the humor and the joke of it,” he says over Zoom. “I’m also keen not to invest too much into thinking about it…but, it’s funny. I get the humor and I think there’s a lot of goodwill.”

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Also attractive to the young women is that Hozier doesn’t shy away from speaking up on topics of justice and human rights. From feminism and reproductive rights to the recent conflict between Israel and Palestine, the singer has positioned himself as an informed, impassioned figure.

“I don’t see myself as an activist, I see myself as a citizen of the world in some respects,” he says. “I’ve experienced a lot of the world, I’m very fortunate in that regard. Do I see myself as something of a role model? I certainly would never say that I am. I would never be [that presumptuous]. I’m an individual with a conscience. And I’m an artist—I just want the art to reflect my experience of the world.”

While he may not necessarily consider himself a role model, his Gen Z fans certainly feel impressed.

“I believe one reason he’s very popular among Gen Zers is his progressiveness and his willingness to fight for social issues,” Maya explains. “Especially within recent years, Gen Z has begun to take a keen interest in social issues that affect them and those around the world. Hozier’s music constantly sheds light on these topics, thus sparking up conversations and inspiring listeners to take action in whatever way they can.”

When asked about why he thinks Gen Z has taken so strongly to his work, Hozier agrees that it may come down to the honest vulnerability characteristic of his early music.

“With Gen Z, there is a wonderful nose for bullshit. I struggle with the word ‘authenticity’, but it feels like something real and handmade and true to one’s lived experience,” he says. “[Gen Z] is the generation who sort of spearheaded that. I actually don’t know what it is in particular, but the first album was quite DIY. It was just guitars and drums and my voice. There’s something very real about it—maybe there’s something to the raw elements.”

Judging by the unfiltered appreciation Hozier fans show him online, it’s certainly true that something “raw” about him is highly sought-after. We’ll just leave that to the imagination.

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