Passenger, the British singer/songwriter known for the smash hit "Let Her Go," just kicked off a headlining tour of North America this past weekend in support of his new album Whispers. If you go to check out the show, though, be prepared for something intimate, because he performs solo -- no band involved.
"I think actually it's quite refreshing for people," says Passenger, born Mike Rosenberg, talking about his choice to go it alone. "And I think there's also a kind of respect thing, where it's just like, 'He's either bonkers for doing this or he's bold enough to get up there on his own,' and more often than not, people are more likely to listen."
But that's not to say that Passenger concerts are boring affairs, with just one guy and a guitar, droning on about his broken heart. Mike says it's quite the opposite.
"I really try and keep it up. I try and tell a lot of jokes and be silly and tell some stories and interact with the crowd," he tells ABC News Radio. "For me, there's nothing more frustrating than going to a gig, and you've heard the record and you love the record. and then all you kinda get is the record....there's no acknowledgement of the crowd, and it's just the songs and it's, 'See ya later.' I don't go and see live music for that."
"I want to feel something. I want to feel part of something unique for that night," he adds.
Mike says he feels that by playing solo, he's taking music back to its roots, where it was, he says, "playing in a pub to 30 people...and it was all interaction." "The power of live music is the fact that you're all in that room together," he adds. "It sounds really cheesy, but you can sort of go somewhere together. I really believe that."
Passenger's dedication to his craft means that he doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about what outrageous demands he can make when it comes to making up his tour rider; y'know, that list of requirements artists have for each stop.
"Yeah, all of this stuff's really new to me," he laughs. "I know I'm meant to demand certain colored M&M's and all that kind of stuff, but usually...fruit and a sandwich is fine. Coupla beers and sandwich and we're pretty happy. We're pretty simple folk!"
Passenger's North American tour runs through September 14, wrapping up in San Diego, before heading overseas.
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