Passenger (songwriter)

Michael David Rosenberg (born 17 May 1984), better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Previously the main vocalist and songwriter of Passenger, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work after the band dissolved in 2009. In 2012, he released the song “Let Her Go“, which topped the charts in 16 countries and accumulated more than 3.2 billion views on YouTube; it is the most-viewed Australian YouTube video of all time.[1][2] In 2014, the song was nominated for the Brit Award for British Single of the Year, and he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work.[3]


Rosenberg performing in 2013Background informationBirth nameMichael David RosenbergBorn17 May 1984 (age 38)
Brighton, EnglandGenres


  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician


  • Vocals
  • guitar

Years active2003–presentLabels

Personal life

Rosenberg currently lives in Brighton.[4] He is a fan of English football club Arsenal F.C. In a 2021 interview, he said he became an Arsenal supporter despite being from Brighton after watching Arsenal beating Sheffield Wednesday F.C. in the FA Cup Final in 1993.[39] In May 2015, Rosenberg appeared at Arsenal’s ‘A Night to Inspire’ event and played a version of the ’49 Undefeated’ fan chant.[40]


Music career

Early years

Rosenberg did his first performance when he was 16.[citation needed] Rosenberg’s father, a film production worker, introduced him to former member of the band FaithlessJamie Catto, in 2001; this led to Rosenberg getting a two-song spot at the Free Burma Campaign benefit gig at the Royal Court in London in 2002.[9] On the night, Rosenberg met his future writing partner Andrew Phillips and established contact with the IE Music label.[citation needed] Back in Brighton, Phillips and Rosenberg pooled their musical influences (from Simon & Garfunkel to DJ Shadow), and started to write songs at Phillips’ in-house studio in Hove.[citation needed] In 2003, they formed the Mike Rosenberg Band, engaging Marcus O’Dair (bass), Alon Cohen (drums) and Richard Brinklow (keyboards) through connections within the Brighton music scene.[10]

2003–2009: Passenger

Main article: Passenger (British band)

Rosenberg founded the band Passenger with Andrew Phillips in 2003 in Brighton and Hove.[citation needed] The name of the band was stylised as /Passenger. (with a slash at the beginning and a dot at the end).[citation needed] The five-person band’s only album, Wicked Man’s Rest, was released in 2007, on Chalkmark.[11] Rosenberg wrote the majority of the album’s tracks, with the exception of “Four Horses”, which was written by Phillips.[citation needed] The band broke up in 2009.[citation needed]

2009–2010: Solo career and Wide Eyes Blind LoveDivers and Submarines and Flight of the Crow

After the break-up of Passenger, Rosenberg kept the band’s name as his personal stage name, and took to busking for a solo music career. In October 2009 he went to Australia, where he supported acts such as Lior and Sydneysiders Elana Stone and Brian Campeau.[citation needed] He then played at One Movement, a major music industry-focused festival in Perth.[citation needed] This earned him a following in Australia and he was selling out 500-seater venues across Australia.[citation needed] His debut solo album, Wide Eyes Blind Love, was released in 2009.[citation needed] It was produced and mixed by former bandmate Andrew Phillips, who also provided backing vocals, and played guitar and other instruments, and featured vocals by Isobel Anderson.[citation needed] Rosenberg also played various shows in the United Kingdom during this time,[when?] including a support slot for Turin Brakes‘ tenth anniversary show at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.[citation needed]

Rosenberg produced a fans-only limited release Divers and Submarines, again supported by former bandmate Andrew Phillips and vocalist Isobel Anderson.[citation needed] His third studio album, Flight of the Crow, was recorded in Australia[12] and saw him joined in the studio by various Australian independent musical talents including LiorKate Miller-HeidkeBoy & BearJosh Pyke and Katie Noonan.[citation needed

2011–2013: All The Little Lights

Main article: All the Little Lights

Rosenberg’s fourth album, All the Little Lights, was released in the summer of 2012 in North America on Nettwerk Records.[13] Recorded at Linear Recording in Sydney, Rosenberg worked with a core Australian band that included Boy & Bear drummer Tim Hart, jazz bassist Cameron Undy, and keyboards player Stu Hunter, from Katie Noonan and The Captains.[14][better source needed] During the summer and autumn of 2012, Rosenberg toured the UK, opening for Jools Holland and Ed Sheeran, the latter of whom he had known since Sheeran was about 15 while living in Cambridge.[4] He joined Australian acts the John Butler Trio, and Josh Pyke with a co-headlined UK tour.[citation needed] He also opened for Ed Sheeran’s 2012 North American tour[15] and also in Paris. He also opened for Ed Sheeran on four of his five sell-out dates in Ireland in January 2013 and in Australia and New Zealand in early 2013,[16] and supported Sheeran in his Brighton dates and in Reading.[17] Rosenberg performed “All the Little Lights” at the Children in Need Rocks concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, broadcast on BBC One on 14 November 2013..[18]

2014–2015: Whispers and Whispers II

Main articles: Whispers and Whispers II

On 24 March 2014, Rosenberg unveiled “Whispers”, the title track of his new album, as part of his set at the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London where he also performed alongside Ed Sheeran.[19] On 26 March 2014 Rosenberg announced details of his fifth studio album.[citation needed] He released Whispers on 9 June 2014.[citation needed] Talking to Digital Spy about the album, he said: “This is easily the most ‘up’ album I’ve ever made, it’s quite cinematic. There are lots of big stories and big ideas. There are also some sombre moments about loneliness and death but hey, it wouldn’t be a Passenger album without those”. He released “Hearts on Fire” as the album’s lead single on 14 April 2014.[20]

Rosenberg recorded Whispers II at the same time as recording Whispers.[citation needed] Whispers II was released on 20 April 2015.[citation needed] All profits from the album go to the UNICEF UK initiative to help children in Liberia.[21]

2016–2017: Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea and The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Main articles: Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea and The Boy Who Cried Wolf

On 16 June 2016, the music video for “Somebody’s Love” was uploaded to his YouTube channel, thereby announcing his seventh album, Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea.[citation needed] A second track from the album, “Anywhere” was released on 19 August 2016.[citation needed] Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea was released on 23 September 2016, and became Passenger’s first UK number one album.[22]

On 25 July 2017, at the end of his Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea tour, Rosenberg announced via the Passenger Facebook page that his performance on Sunday 23 July would be “my/our last gig for a while”.[23] The following day, he announced that his eighth album, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, would be released two days later on 28 July 2017.[citation needed] The album was announced with a livestream of the album performed live in its entirety, broadcast from Passenger’s studio simultaneously to YouTube and Facebook.[citation needed] The album charted at number 5 in the Official UK Charts.[24]

2018: Runaway

Main article: Runaway

 18 May 2018, Passenger released the song “Hell or High Water”.[25] It was recorded in a variety of different national parks across UtahNevadaArizona and California[26] In the following days, he also announced an autumn European tour [27] and teased fans through social media with a cover for a new album.[28]

Passenger during his Runaway Tour performing Let Her Go in BogotaColombia

On 25 May 2018, he formally announced his ninth studio album, Runaway, and released a live acoustic version of “Hell or High Water” recorded in Venice, Los Angeles.[29] Passenger described Runaway as a concept album, as he realised many of the songs had a strong sense of Americana.[citation needed] He also believed the songs would work well accompanied by American visuals and thus, alongside long-time collaborators Jarrad Seng, Stu Larsen and Chris Vallejo, embarked on a three-week-long road trip through the United States to film videos for each track.[citation needed] Additionally, they recorded acoustic videos for each track, filmed in a variety of different locations.[citation needed] Rosenberg plans to release a song every three weeks, sharing both the official and acoustic videos, plus behind-the-scenes footage.[26] Runaway was released on 31 August 2018.[citation needed]

2019–2020: Sometimes It’s Something, Sometimes It’s Nothing at AllPatchwork and world tour

On 18 March 2019, Passenger released the song “Restless Wind” on YouTube.[citation needed] Two more songs, “Helplessly Lost” and “Paper Cut, Chinese Burn,” were subsequently released a month later, as well as a cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “Landslide“.[citation needed] On 2 May 2019, Passenger both announced and released his tenth album, Sometimes It’s Something, Sometimes It’s Nothing at All.[citation needed] Unlike more recent Passenger albums, the record is arranged entirely for vocals, acoustic guitar and a string quartet.[citation needed] All the profits from sales will be donated to Shelter, a UK-based homeless charity.[30]

At the end of January, Passenger announced a world tour including dates in the UK, Europe, Australia, North America, and New Zealand.[31] On 20 March 2020, he announced and released his new single “The Way That I Love You” with a video.[32] On 1 May 2020, he released his new single “London In The Spring”.[33] On 10 July 2020, Passenger released his eleventh album Patchwork. The album was written and recorded during the coronavirus lockdown alongside producer Chris Vallejo and guest musicians Andrew Phillips (a collaborator of Rosenberg’s and formerly of the band Passenger) and Richard Brinklow.[34] The record was released as a funding project for The Trussell Trust, an NGO and charity that works to end the need for food banks in the UK.[35]

2020–2021: Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted

On 8 January 2021, Passenger released Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted. The record was supposed to be released by early 2020, but later delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown. The record’s release supports both Ecologi and Eden Reforestation Projects, non-profit organisations aiming to rebuild natural landscapes destroyed by deforestation. A tree will be planted for every physical copy of the album sold via the Passenger store.[36]

2022: Birds That Flew and Ships That Sailed

On April 14 2022, Passenger released his 14th studio album, Birds That Flew and Ships That Sailed. The album was released independently, without a record label or a press team.[37] The record release supports Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that combats plastic pollution in the ocean.[citation needed] The record debuted at Number 35 on the Official UK Albums Chart, marking Passenger’s 8th album to enter the UK Top 40.[38]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s