UK R&B singer Victor Ray sang a heart-stopping rendition of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” this month while busking on the streets of London, stunning the crowd with his soulful voice. Young Ray sings in central London every week and has been making a real splash, with many of the videos on his YouTube channel gaining hundreds of thousands of views.
The original hit song by Hozier had more of a rock and pop feel to it, but Ray really honed in on the gospel and soul elements of the song and gave his personal touch to it, as you can hear in the video below. Listeners noticed too, with several saying that Ray is destined to become a hit-maker in his own right.
Ray performs a diverse range of songs during his busking performances, with covers of Harry Styles, Elvis, Rag’n’Bone Man, and Bruno Mars featured on his channel. He often performs with a low-key backing track featuring only piano or synthesizer, although on some songs he also breaks out his acoustic guitar to accompany himself.
One of the most popular performances on Ray’s channel is Harry Styles’ 2022 single “As It Was,” which you can listen to below. The original single is quite upbeat, but in his performance, Ray sings over a delicate piano track that really highlights his superb voice. His range is truly impressive, as he can nail the husky low notes as well as hit the beautiful, clean high notes in the falsetto parts.
Ray’s performance of “As It Was” has garnered over 120,000 views on YouTube so far. Viewers predicting that Ray will soon be a big star himself may be onto something, as the most popular song on his channel is actually his own composition, “Hollow.” On this song, Ray plays the acoustic guitar and performs a catchy modern pop and R&B song with a big chorus. I could definitely imagine hearing it on the radio.
“Hollow” was released as a single in 2022 and was later included on Ray’s EP, “I Was.” The song has clocked up nearly 3 million streams on Spotify, and his latest single, “Stay For a While,” has been met with a similar reception, attracting 1.5 million streams and counting so far.
Beyond his original music, Ray has a huge talent for creating unique takes on hit songs, as seen with his performance of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.” This song was the debut single for the Irish singer-songwriter, released back in 2013, before being later included as the opening track on his 2014 debut album, “Hozier.”
“Take Me to Church” mixes elements of rock, gospel, and pop and was a massive international hit for Hozier. At the time of writing it, Hozier was a nobody, and he recorded it in the attic of his parents’ house. It later topped the charts in 12 countries and received critical acclaim, helping to springboard Hozier’s career.
The song picked up speed as a hit on rock radio in the US and eventually collected a record-breaking 23 consecutive weeks at the top of the Hot Rock Songs chart in the country, tying with Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” for the record. It was subsequently nominated for a Grammy and received a US Diamond certification. If you would like to see more from Victor Ray, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Instagram.