Last month, Hozier surprised fans with a new four-song EP called Nina Cried Power. On Tuesday (October 9), the soulful rocker performed the politically tinged title track for the first time on television, debuting it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The Irish-bred artist recruited gospel singer Mavis Staples to lend her powerful vocals to the track, and the 79-year-old stood beside him to belt out her lines during the performance.
"It's not the waking, it's the rising / It is the grounding of a foot uncompromising / It's not foregoing of the lie / It's not the opening of eyes / It's not the waking, it's the rising," Hozier sings with conviction at the beginning of the song, before Mavis lends her husky voice to the chorus, proclaiming "And I could cry power (power) / Power (power) / Power / Nina cried power / Billie cried power / Mavis cried power."
Watch the inspired performance below.
While discussing the EP with Billboard, Hozier explained the importance of Mavis' involvement on the record. "When writing [the title track], it was important to me to have Mavis involved," he said. "She was kind of there at the beginning of the song. Even when the song was in its embryonic state and the idea of it was forming, I wanted to credit the legacy of the artists in that song and the names were kind of popping into my head, [and] I knew it needed Mavis. I just felt incredibly fortunate and honored that she got where the song was coming from and vibed with it and was up for being a part of the song. That was a very integral part of the song for me."