Gracie Taylor is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Passenger reveals special Kiwi connection

English singer song-writer Passenger. Photo / Warner
English singer song-writer Passenger. Photo / Warner

Michael Rosenberg is a little flustered. As he admits, life is "a little bit all over the place. It's chaos at the moment to be honest".

Fresh off the plane from Sydney, Rosenberg - aka Passenger - has been on a whirlwind ride since his breakout single Let Her Go went gangbusters.

(No, not the Frozen theme song, but it is just as popular and catchy.)

That was four years ago, and saw the English singer plucked from street busking obscurity into a world of non-stop touring.

Let Her Go topped the charts worldwide and has sold more than a million copies in the United Kingdom, plus another four million in the US.

Stopping in Auckland for a quick promo tour ahead of his NZ tour dates in January, Rosenberg reveals his new album Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea has a special Kiwi connection.

British singer-songwriter Passenger. Photo / Warner
British singer-songwriter Passenger. Photo / Warner

"I love New Zealand and I'm not just saying that. Before Let Her Go happened, I busked a little bit here in New Zealand and I've always liked it.

"Two years ago I was touring here and we had to record something really last minute and we ended up at Roundhead studios. We were only there for the day but I fell in love with the place."

So much so that he decided to record part of his album here.

And the Kiwi connection doesn't end there.

"I spent a bit of time on the South Island before going into the studio and I think that definitely kind of put me in this really good headspace to record. I think there is a lot of New Zealand that's come through in my tracks. It's so amazing down there. I loved it.

"In the past I have always written about people. It's always been my inspiration. But this one, although there is a bit of that, there's strong references to landscapes."

The new album from Passenger. Photo / Warner
The new album from Passenger. Photo / Warner

As for the album's title - Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea - Rosenberg says it refers to his own life. "It's my eighth record and I am 32 now and it just feels like I'm at an interesting point where I still feel very young and silly and naïve but I also feel like I have done lots of experience-building."

He'll be back to build more experiences in New Zealand next year, returning to Auckland and Wellington for two shows.

It will be the first time he's performed here with a full band, enlisting the help of the musicians who worked on the album with him.

"I have been playing solo forever and I do love it but I just feel like with this record it's a bigger arrangement and the songs need a bigger idea behind it.

"I also want to give people a completely different show so they can hear these new songs and the old songs with a full band behind it. It will be a really different challenge for me and that's always a good thing."

LOWDOWN:
Who: Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger
What: Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea out tomorrow
Tour: Playing Auckland's Civic Theatre on January 17 and Wellington's Opera House on January 18.

- TimeOut

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