Irish rocker Hozier says sexual orientation 'not the point'

LONDON (Reuters) - Grammy-nominated Irish singer-songwriter Hozier says people assume he is gay because of his anti-Roman Catholic church anthem “Take Me To Church” and the anti-homophobia video which accompanies it.

In the United States the song, written following a break-up with a girlfriend, has reached No. 2, and is in the same position in the British singles chart.

It may also win Song of the Year at the Grammys next Sunday, when Hozier - from Bray, County Wicklow, and whose full name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne - is scheduled to perform with Annie Lennox.

The “Take Me To Church” video, which has attracted nearly 100 million YouTube views, depicts two men kissing before they are attacked by a homophobic mob.

“Yes, people do make that assumption (that I am gay), which is fine, but for me I don’t think it’s the point, you know what I mean. It doesn’t come into it what my sexual orientation is,” Hozier told Reuters backstage at the London venue.

“Regardless of the sexual orientation behind a relationship, it is still a relationship and still love... So people are free to make any assumption they want, it’s grand,” he laughed.

On Sunday, he performed the second of two sold-out gigs at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, which have won high praise from critics, and received five-star reviews in British newspapers.

As well as the Grammy nomination, Hozier, 24, is also a contender for International Male Solo Artist at the BRIT Awards.

“I am still kind of in awe of what’s been going on this last year and the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to have. The Grammys coming up and the BRITs and stuff so I am thrilled, I really am excited,” he said.

Editing by Michael Roddy and Louise Ireland