Hozier recently visited World Cafe to discuss his latest EP, Nina Cried Power. Stopping into the WXPN studios before his sold out show at The Fillmore Philadelphia, the singer-songwriter performed stripped-down versions of several new songs as well as his breakout hit, “Take Me To Church,” with his full band.
In June of this year, Hozier shared details about his new music with World Cafe host Talia Schlanger. He talked about how blues and soul music influences continued to show up in his writing, and how the political climate of the last couple years informed some of his new material.
“I think all music is political regardless of whether its intending to be,” Hozier told Schlanger. “I think it reflects people. It reflects people’s situations … I try to be honest with the music and I try to be honest with stuff that I think is important.”
The Nina Cried Power EP is his first new release since his 2014 self-titled breakthrough debut album. The title song of the EP, which features vocals by Mavis Staples, pays tribute to musicians whose music figured prominently into the civil rights movement.
“It’s not the waking, it’s the rising / It is the grounding of a foot uncompromising,” he sings, name-checking Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, James Brown, John Lennon, B.B. King and others along the way.
In a recent interview with All Songs Considered‘s Bob Boilen, Hozier talked about meeting Mavis Staples and creating the song. “It was the first time Mavis [Staples] and I got to sit down and really talk. She was talking about the artists [mentioned in this song] as she had met them and known them. Just sitting with her, hearing her talk about her own experience and singing at rallies after Martin Luther King spoke — she was speaking about him on a first name basis — that was absolutely remarkable.”
“Nina Cried Power is a protest song,” Hozier wrote on Instagram. “It’s about crediting the spirit and bravery of people whose voices have made impact on our world and put their work and lives often on the line for civil rights.”
Today we share this remarkable performance of “Nina Cried Power.” Look for Hozier on an upcoming interview on World Cafe.