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Passenger performing 'Let Her Go' LIVE on BalconyTV
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PRESENTED BY LEAH HOBBS
For Brighton, UK born and bred yet very much the adopted Australian son singer songwriter Mike Rosenberg, being independent has proven to be the best road he could have taken. There was a time, back in the early 2000s, when things looked very different. There was a five-piece band called Passenger and the big money label behind it and there was a critically acclaimed debut album, Wicked Man's Rest, but when the members of that band chose to go their own separate ways in 2007, Rosenberg opted to stick with the Passenger moniker and trust in his music, his voice and his guitar to take him where it would. He took to the streets and discovered not only that the experience enormous fun, but it also proved empowering for the likeable musical troubadour.
Having obviously got a real taste for the busking and the travelling, he thought he'd check out sunnier climes, which is how, in October 2009, Mike first took himself over to Australia where he managed to support Lior and Sydneysiders Elana Stone and Brian Campeau, and then played One Movement, a major music industry-focus festival in Perth. Back in Sydney, he met a neighbour who just happened to be ARIA Award-winning singer songwriter Josh Pyke, and the initial idea that would become Flight Of The Crow formed in his mind.
The album proved the perfect entre into the Australian music scene, not least because Flight Of The Crow saw him joined in the studio by the cream of Australian independent musical talent, including Lior, Kate Miller-Heidke, Boy & Bear and Katie Noonan. By the time Mike felt it was time to return to the UK to launch the album there, he was selling out 500-seater venues across Australia. Before he left however, it was time to record a new album.
"It's very different to Flight Of The Crow... actually all my records," Mike explains. "Flight Of The Crow sounded like it was made in the 1960s, which was kind of what we were aiming for, but this one is a bigger production and a bit more modern sounding."
As always, there's a certain element of the youthful Cat Stevens in the tenor of Mike's voice that tells you the emotions that drive his songs aren't very far beneath the surface. Recorded again in Sydney, for the new album, All The Little Lights, Mike was joined once again by a core Australian band that included Boy & Bear drummer Tim Hart, jazz bassist Cameron Undy, who also played on Flight Of The Crow, and keyboards player Stu Hunter, from Katie Noonan & The Captains. If there's a theme to be drawn from the album it's not just the usual stock-in-trade of the travelling troubadour -- love -- but the love of life itself.
Meanwhile the Passenger fanbase has been building very nicely, and very much from the ground up, with the busking feeding into the club gigs -- all very organic. "It's such a funny and slow process, the way we do it. We haven't got a label, we haven't got the big muscle behind it -- it really is meeting every fan personally and trying to convince them to sort of buy into it, which is quite a bizarre way of doing it. But I think what I've found is people have a real personal relationship to it because it's not just something on the radio -- I might be busking and we'll have a chat or have a beer after a gig or whatever -- I think that personal thing is so important in making people feel part of the project and then hopefully becoming fans ultimately."
Among the highlights of this past northern summer's touring round the UK has been opening for one of UK pop music's most influential figures, Jools Holland, as well as Ed Sheeran, who just had the #1 album in the UK, and Australian acts the John Butler Trio and Josh Pyke, with whom he co-headlined a UK tour.
Cindi Avnet: Producer / Talent Booker
Brandon Wade: Cinematographer
Recorded By: Karla Barrera
Mixed By: Jeff Bates
Atara Gottschalk: Co-Producer / Talent Booker
Leah Hobbs: Associate Producer
Courtney Arwin: Balcony Location
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