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Hozier’s ‘Swan Upon Leda’ Inspired by Egyptian Journalist Mona Eltahawy

October 7, 2022
Hozier performs live in Studio 1 at NPR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Talking Blues With Hozier, A One-Man Irish Invasion : NPR
Hozier | Photo Credit: NPR

Irish singer-songwriter Hozier announced the release of ‘Swan Upon Leda’, a single set to drop on 7 October. The track, according to Hozier, was inspired by feminist author and journalist Mona Eltahawy.

“Egyptian journalist and author Mona Eltahawy once referred to the global systems that control and endanger women as the world’s ‘oldest form of occupation,’” wrote Hozier on his Twitter. “Ever since hearing her speak in Dublin, I wanted to explore that thought in a piece.”

Mona Eltahawy på Twitter: "So @Hozier is my favourite famous person ever and a great feminist ally too thanks to @SAFEIreland #Dublin https://t.co/m4orbHn0vJ" / Twitter
Hozier and Mona Eltahawy | Photo Credit: Mona Eltahawy

Eltahawy is a prominent figure in Egypt’s feminist circles, as a commentator and author who tackles women’s issues, and Islamic political and social affairs. She is an award winning columnist, whose books include ‘Headscarves and Hymens’ (2015) and ‘The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls’ (2019).

I want patriarchy to fear women': Mona Eltahawy says the time for being civil, peaceful and polite is over | CBC Radio
Eltahawy | Photo Credit: CBC

‘Swan Upon Leda’ was recorded during the overturning of Roe v. Wade – a United States Supreme Court decision which revoked women’s right to safe and legal abortion. Hozier explained that he “felt like there was an opportunity to offer some show of solidarity.”

In addition to Eltahawy’s influence and Roe v. Wade, Hozier goes on to cite the Iranian woman killed for her hijab.

“We’re reminded again,” he wrote, “by the protests in Iran that progressivism is a global movement. The recent push backs against civil liberties and Human Rights respect no boundaries or borders, and like all acts of control, violence and indeed all forms of occupation, their legacies can be immeasurable in both personal and political spheres.”

Born Andrew John Hozier-Brynet, Hozier is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who rose to fame in 2013 with his brooding, soulful single ‘Take Me To Church’. Since then, he has released several EPs and albums, and earnt a Grammy nomination in 2015.

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