Passenger, the working name of singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg, makes intimate, folk-inflected indie pop. Originally a four-piece, Passenger formed in Brighton, England, as a collaboration between singer/songwriter Rosenberg and composer Andrew Phillips. Working out of Phillips’ studio, the duo recorded the songs that would become Wicked Man’s Rest, Passenger’s debut album. The disc was released on ChalkMark in 2007 and spawned several singles including “Wicked Man’s Rest,” “Walk You Home,” “Do What You Like,” and “Table for One.” Passenger opened for several high-profile indie acts throughout the U.K. that year, including Kate Nash and the Hold Steady. The following year found the band providing the soundtrack to the film Where Have I Been All Your Life? and performing at the 2008 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
Phillips parted ways with Passenger in 2009, leaving Rosenberg at the helm. The band’s sophomore effort, 2009’s Wide Eyes Blind Love, reflected this change with a stripped-down acoustic sound. A year later, Rosenberg’s Passenger returned with the “fan-only” release Divers and Submarines. Also in 2010, Passenger released Flight of the Crow, featuring collaborations with such artists as Josh Pyke, Katie Noonan, Elana Stone, and others. In 2012, Passenger released a fifth full-length effort, All the Little Lights, which featured a more fully fleshed-out sound. While the album was released in the summer of 2012, it wasn’t until 2013 that a tune from All the Little Lights, “Let Her Go,” broke through as a hit in Europe. By the end of the year, the single had reached number one in 16 countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, and Belgium.
Rosenberg began work on his next album, Whispers, toward the end of 2013 and enlisted All the Little Lights’ co-producer Chris Vallejo to work with him. Whispers was released in 2014 and featured the singles “Scare Away the Dark” and “Heart’s on Fire.” A year later, the band paired again with Vallejo for Passenger’s full-length follow-up, Whispers II. Rosenberg also announced that all profits from Whispers II would go to help fund UNICEF U.K.’s work in Liberia. In 2016, Passenger returned with Young as the Morning Old as the Sea, which saw Rosenberg and Vallejo collaborating as producers alongside a newly assembled group of musicians. A massive success, the album topped the U.K. charts and reached the Top Ten in countries around the world. In the summer of 2017, at the end of a major tour, Rosenberg announced the surprise release of his next album, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which was issued by his own label. ~ Margaret Reges & Matt Collar