Hozier and Taylor Swift’s Mutual Admiration Society and More Insider Scoop

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Hozier poses for a portrait before performing an EndSession hosted by 107.7 The End at Fremont Abbey Arts Center on October 22, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. 

What’s Cooking With Hozier And Taylor Swift?
Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known as Hozier, has formed quite a mutual admiration society with Taylor Swift. In early October, 24-year-old Swift shared an Instagram of herself enthusiastically air-drumming along to Hozier’s performance of “Sedated” at a live gig, and the Irish singer, also 24, tells Overheard that he spent time with the “Shake It Off” star in Nashville. “Hanging out with Taylor as she was baking cookies for her fans was as surreal and wonderful as you’d imagine,” he says. “She’s a very impressive human being.” Despite Hozier’s own newfound fame, he says he still finds himself dumbstruck when he encounters other celebrities he admires. After his Oct. 11 performance on Saturday Night Live, he admits he couldn’t muster the courage to say hello to one of his comedy heroes, Nick Kroll, whom he calls a “genius.” Can someone please make the introduction?

The Butterfly Effect: Weezer's Pinkerton Homage to Belasco
On Nov. 7, Weezer played a special show at the Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. During the performance, the band's frontman Rivers Cuomo spoke about the significance that playing at the theater held for the band. He explained that Weezer's second album Pinkerton was inspired in part by the one-act play Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, which was dramatized by David Belasco, who had built the theater with his brothers. (The libretto for Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly was based partially on Belasco's play.)  In honor of the connection, Weezer performed a handful of tracks from Pinkerton, including "El Scorcho" and  "The Good Life"  before playing its entire ninth studio album, Everything Will Be Alright In the End. Highlights of the night included Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino joining the band on stage for “Go Away”, the song she co-wrote with Weezer for the album.

Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Big Mouth’ Honored 
On Nov. 9, Cyndi Lauper proved that girls don’t just wanna have fun when she was feted for her work for LGBT rights at the ACLU of Southern California Bill of Rights dinner. Lauper, who sported a funky Medusa-like coif, told the crowd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, “I try and use my big mouth to create big change, and I just want to say that if one of us isn’t equal, then nobody is.” She finished her speech by saying, “If you can have a louder voice than the people with no voice, stand up and speak!”, to which she received an exuberant applause. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Warner Bros. Records CEO Cameron Strang were also honored. Then towards the end of the night, folk singer-songwriter Steve Earle did an acoustic rendition of his highly political song “Christmas in Washington.” He introduced the song by saying that “music has the power to change the world”, but if we stop creating conscious music, the world has the power to change back. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Larry Flynt were also in attendance.

Big Data's Singular (ity) Obsession
Alan Wilkis, the introspective mind behind electronic music project Big Data, is in the home stretch of working on an LP called 2.0. And an upcoming lyric video for his hit song “Dangerous”, featuring indie-rock band Joywave, holds some hidden hints about 2.0. "There are a few clues about the upcoming album buried in it, and it kinda feels like this sinister little trip through our daily computer/Internet use," Wilkis tells Overheard. The artist is continually exploring how technology and humanity are converging within his music, and believes that the singularity might be closer than we think. "We'll all be in self-driving cars sooner than we think, more and more human jobs will becomes obsolete, we'll see more biological enhancements," he says. "It's all coming, and it's both exciting and terrifying.”

An edited version of this article first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of Billboard.