Tag Archives: Let Her Go

Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #1, Passenger – “Let Her Go”

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver's seat.

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver’s seat.

#1 for twelve weeks, 40+ weeks in the top 40

Chart Run (including 2014 Chart Year thus far):
36-25-18-12-9-3-3-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-3-2-4-4-3-4-4-6-7-7-9-10-13-15-17-19-19-17-20-20-22-?

In The Mix entry date: skipped
Top 40 debut: March 24, 2013
First week at #1: May 12, 2013

Music Video:

As I sit here writing this final year-end post, I can’t think of a better way to end the countdown than with this song, a song that literally took over my world for the past nine months and counting. There’s no other way to put it. It was Mike Rosenberg, better known as Passenger‘s “Let Her Go” that led me to write this Profile post on March 22, which got tweeted out by Nettwerk Records CEO (!) Terry McBride (who, by the way, called it a “brilliant article” – I mean, whoa!) and was used in an email campaign for Nettwerk and marketing/radio promotion group, The Artist Cooperative. (Thanks to Bob Divney, who heads the group’s Marketing department and Promotion for their AAA and Rock formats releases.)

It was also that post that landed me a few interviews with Nettwerk in May, and then, thanks to my constant nagging to the program director (I’ll admit it), Mr. Rosenberg himself performed at my current job in an acoustic set back in August. He was wonderful and met every expectation I had about him. I may not have been picked for the job, nor do I remember a lot except for some bits and pieces about that summer day, but the one thing that’s remained a constant all this time is the artist, his lyrics, and his songs. That’s the heart of this post, not what happened to me. After all, if I hadn’t seen his song place on the ARIA Singles Chart and then look up the music video, things would’ve turned out very differently on this year-end survey, but of course, I’m glad things ended up the way the did.

Ready, set, "Go".

Someone’s pretty in pink. (The shirt, not the cheeks.)

“Let Her Go” was recorded way back in March 2011, written and co-produced by Rosenberg, along with Chris Vallejo. It was initially released in July of last year and marketed to AAA radio in the fall, where it peaked in the mid-30’s before falling off the radar. Then, suddenly, the song took off in Europe, and then Australia and New Zealand, and nearly every country it touched, it became at least a top ten hit. The same can be said of the United States, where it finally broke the Hot 100’s top ten several weeks ago. It’s so far peaked at #9, but there’s still life left in it. “Let” has been certified for shipments of nearly 3.5 million copies and, in worldwide sales, is at the 5 million mark.

On my personal chart, “Let Her Go” debuted at #36 in late March and took a quick ride up to #1, where it spent twelve consecutive weeks there. It holds the all-time record for longest consecutive run at the top for a male act and longest run at #1 overall in five years. The two followup singles, “Holes” and a rerelease of “The Wrong Direction”, also spent time at the top. Now, it’s just the latest single to reach the 40 week mark. Should it make it to 50, it will rank as the second-longest running song ever. That’s a little ways away, but I thought I would just put it out there.

The Passenger shrine, if you will.

The Passenger shrine of sorts. (Poster, Vinyl, CD and “Let Her Go” promotional CD.)

Sometimes, you feel defensive about an artist even when you can’t claim to have discovered them, heard their music first, and whatnot. I mean, I first heard Passenger earlier this year; there are tons of people out there who have enjoyed Rosenberg’s music since the act was a band back in 2007 with their only full-length release, Wicked Man’s Rest. It’s so easy to put yourself in that position even when you know it’s not right. I’m guilty of it. However, from my post being recognized to the phone interviews to actually meeting the guy, I sort of felt like I was justified in that role. It at least gave me hope that maybe something could happen for me in my current situation to the point where I could look back 15 or 20 years from now and say, “Hey Mike, remember that one time I posted this and you responded “Hope so too :)” and that whole chain of events spiraled into motion?” It’s just a dream for now. Luckily, there’s still work to be done: a new album in 2014, more touring, etc., and I’d love to be a part of it.

Congratulations to Nettwerk Records, The Artist Cooperative, and the radio staff at Warner Bros. Records for a breaking a really talented artist with a meaningful set of songs here in the States. I know there was pressure to deliver on a slow burner of a song that’s done wonders internationally, but everything’s falling into place now. Most of all, it’s the man himself, Passenger, who deserves the credit for creating a song with a message that was relatable on so many levels of relationships and experiences. It’s one of those rare universal songs, both lyrically and success-wise. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.

“…and so ends the countdown of the year that just passed / and for the number one artist, it won’t be his last / but I heard him exclaim, ere he topped the charts right / Merry Christmas to all, and to All The Little Lights.”

Purchase Passenger on iTunes: “Let Her Go” ::: All The Little Lights ::: iTunes Session (EP)

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CONCERT: Passenger (Acoustic), 8/21/13 – Worcester, MA

Ready, set, "Go".

Ready, set, “Go”.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… okay, make that March and it was right here at my computer. March 21, in fact. It was then that I started writing a post about a performer named Passenger who I had heard a little about, especially because he was doing so well in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. I also really liked his song. So, I wrote for a little bit and finished it and this piece went up just after Midnight on March 22. I didn’t think much after that because I was off to bed and hoping for maybe a few hits on it by the time I woke up.

Around 11:30 the next morning, I noticed two things that were peculiar. Firstly, my link had been tweeted out by someone named Terry McBride and this was awesome in itself even though I wasn’t sure who he was. Then, I found that pulsing orange “You’ve got a new comment” button going off with a response from somebody named Bob Divney, asking if he could use my post in an advertisement. I was confused, but a few Google searches later, it was clear that he was part of The Artist Cooperative, a small agency used for radio promotion and marketing that worked with Nettwerk Records, Passenger‘s label, which McBride is the CEO of, and that’s when a like turned into a love, which turned into some freebies from TAC, which turned into a job interview with Nettwerk Records, which turned into a #1 song on my chart for 12 weeks and now a top 5 followup single. That’s just the short version – I’m not sure you want the long one.

The point of all this is that “Will Passenger “Go” On To The U.S.?” can now be answered with a definitive “yes” – he’s sitting in the top 20 on Hot AC radio and in the top 30 of iTunes and there’s still room for much growth at digital retailers and on AAA and CHR radio. I’d like to think that maybe my article helped out when it was sent on a promotional email, even if it was in the smallest way; it was something that hopefully made up somebody’s mind about adding the song or not. Now, five months to the day that I started with that idea, I finally got the chance to see him perform live at the radio station I work at, and trust me, I was on cloud nine.

After setting up at my weekly event at a dive bar (but not in a West End town), I was back at the station smelling like I just came from the beach. Gross. After a quick wash-up, I found myself in a conversation with Andrew Govatsos, another Cooperative member, and I casually slipped in the whole blog post, which he seemed impressed with. Who wouldn’t? I think I said something to effect of “I’m so thrilled this is all happening,” to which he responded, “You wanna meet him? He’s in there.” All I could say was, “Oh my god, yeah!” There he was, red plaid shirt and blue jean shorts, sitting in one of our studios and extending his hand with a “Hi, I’m Mike, what’s your name?” and I was literally struggling for words. I was so not prepared for this moment. I managed a “So great to meet you! How was the gig in Boston?” to which he replied positively, then we took the picture you see above, and I was out of there for fear that I was bothering him. Also, there might have been an overdramatic faint on the music director’s office floor. Luckily, it wasn’t real but someone was star struck.

Fast forward through the in-between time of waiting for people to show up and getting them settled upstairs. Let’s begin the show! Like most acoustic loft performances, this was a shortened set and started off with “Patient Love”, an album track from All The Little Lights, which saw him plugging away his guitar and sounding just like the record. Then, he said, “this is a new song, tell me what you think,” before going into the line “Like the legend of the Phoenix”, which clicked with me automatically. It’s “Get Lucky”, the Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams song. He sure is clever, kids. This is coming from the same guy who was involved in a medley of “No Diggity” and “Thrift Shop” with Ed Sheeran, so he has some tricks up his sleeve. Good ones too. This seamlessly blended into “Let Her Go”, which was the cue for everyone to take out their cameras because once the hit comes on, you know the flashes come a-rolling. However, it was a passionate performance that everyone quite enjoyed. Lastly came a new song, “Scare Away The Dark”, which saw Passenger in name-check mode, from “hashtags and Twitter” and PSY‘s “Gangnam Style”, this while encouraging that “if we all light up, we can scare away the dark.” This was largely sung away from a microphone, and boy, he can belt and fill up a room. I was majorly impressed. He puts on an awesome show.

The guy’s a sweetheart and seems really humbled by what’s happened thus far with his career. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in meeting him. He’s a superb performer and an even better person to talk to – he’s just a regular guy, but you don’t know that until someone is humanized for you before your very eyes. Also, I just want to say that as he was signing posters away, I mentioned that he couldn’t just drop “Gangnam Style” in a song without making his next medley a mix of PSY and Los Del Rio‘s “Macarena”, to which he said, “Whoa! That’s a great idea!” I don’t think I was alive at that point, but if that’s going to be my new claim to fame, I will take it. “He inspired a mash-up of the two most annoying songs ever!” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I did. Potentially. Ultimately, the show was over and everyone went their separate ways – he and his crew to New York City, me down to pack up a sound system in Small Town, Massachusetts and thinking about how my chart was going to look this weekend given what just happened, while not fully comprehending everything at the same time. It was the highest point for me this summer by far.

Call me bizarre, judge me, tease me, etc. for fangirling for the growing list of British singer-songwriters that I enjoy rather than a Britney Spears or Lady Gaga type, but that’s just me being different and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Somebody’s got to be there for them. In a world full of cries of “one-hit wonder”, I’d probably be the first to argue that “Holes” or “Things That Stop You Dreaming” (which I would like to be the followup to “Holes”) could make an impact. It’s all part of the job. I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come for Passenger and Nettwerk Records, even if I wasn’t picked to work there — it was the consideration and the validation that counted, that maybe something could work out regardless of what employer it was. Most of all, I’m just thankful that a new favorite of mine is doing so well and can be appreciated by so many people. I’m not the first fan he ever saw or the last, and someone can probably outdo me in making posters and fan videos, but for one guy in Worcester, MA who wants to help the music industry and move onto greater places, this is a night I’m going to treasure, a thing that won’t stop me dreaming — at least for the time being.

Click the “Get Social!” tab at the top to find PGTC on social media.

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The Social Nettwerk: Tangled In New Talent

You may remember that I wrote this little post about a month ago just putting a little idea out there that Passenger should definitely come to the U.S. after having a huge amount of success overseas. Well, it worked, but it also caught the attention of his record label here as well as the marketing team behind it, who decided to use my article as a part of their package for radio promotion. I mean, whoa! So, a big thank you to Bob Divney, Terry McBride, and the rest of the staff between The Artist Cooperative and Nettwerk Records who helped my post reach a wider audience. Hooray! These spiffy little things came in the mail yesterday (here and here) as a thank you from them, so hey, why just highlight one of their acts? They have an entire label. So, take a look at the five acts that you need to know from the label. They’re ready to break, but they need you to listen to them first!

Gaining traction "Little" by little.

Gaining traction “Little” by little.

BOY
Current Release: “Little Numbers” (top 30 at AAA radio)

This duo blends Sonja Glass from Germany and Valeska Steiner from Switzerland. They two met while studying together at the same university in 2005, then began to play live for several years before recording their debut album, Mutual Friends, back in 2011. Nettwerk signed them late last year and released the album in the States in February 2013. “Little” has been in the top 30 on the AAA survey for four weeks now and is making its way towards the top 20. They’re currently overseas playing a few festivals and various dates, but they do have a few concerts coming up here in May. Be sure to look out for them then.

All in the Family.

All in the Family.

FAMILY OF THE YEAR
Current Release: “Hero” (spent one week at #1 on AAA radio)

After eleven weeks slowly climbing up the top ten on the AAA chart, this quintet out of Los Angeles finally made it to the #1 spot on the chart almost two weeks ago. They’ve now fallen a bit, but still, the group has the momentum to make their followup single a success (TBA). “Hero” is still climbing on Alternative radio as well, currently top 15, and is approaching the Hot AC top 50. The band’s been recording together since 2009, recording various EPs and placing a few songs on advertisements and shows like the Showtime series Weeds. The four man and one woman band is touring behind their album Loma Vista (from Spanish, a hillside view) in Canada, while playing a few stops in the U.S. in-between. Look for that new single to be out just in time for summer. (I personally like “Living On Love” and “Never Enough”.)

Driving his way around the world.

“Let” it hit hard.

PASSENGER
Current Release: “Let Her Go” (at AAA radio; goes for Hot AC adds this Monday)

A few things have happened since I initially wrote that post on Mr. Rosenberg last month. He has an impact date for U.S. radio at the Hot AC format, April 29. The song’s already been delivered both digitally and physically to stations, with a little bit of plugging to boot in the form of ads running in an online Billboard newsletter and in the RadioInformer series. “Go” has now hit the #1 spot in twelve countries and rose quickly into the top ten on iTunes in the United Kingdom, where it currently remains at this point. It’s been #1 in Australia for four weeks running, recently topping the airplay chart there, and is spending a fifth week atop Germany’s Singles Chart. I mean, things are really moving with this guy, so latch on now and enjoy the ride. He embarks on a small tour of the United States and Canada this July and August. Parent album All The Little Lights was released here last summer both digitally and physically. A followup single, “Holes”, has charted in a few countries in Europe thus far.

I Adore mi amor.

I Adore mi amor.

SAVOIR ADORE
Current Release: “Dreamers” (digital EP recently released)

This terrific twosome is based out of Brooklyn. The mixed duo consists of Deidre Muro and Paul Hammer. After signing with a small label in 2007 and releasing a few albums, Nettwerk scooped them up earlier this year. You probably recognize their cover of the Men Without Hats hit “Pop Goes The World” as featured in an advertisement for Tide Pods that’s been running since early last year. A full-length album, Our Nature, was released last fall independently, and will be rereleased on June 4 on their new label. First single “Dreamers” was recently issued in digital form; no word on a radio date at the moment. Stay tuned for more developments on this project.

Flying high in the sky.

Flying high in the sky.

THE PAPER KITES
Current Release: Woodland and Young North (digital EP releases)

Here’s the newest of the acts on the list. They just revealed that they were signed back in March, and as a result, two of their EPs are now available at digital retailers. The four man and one woman group hail from Melbourne, Australia, releasing a few singles on the indie circuit down under while developing an online following. Their music was also featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. At this point, they’re back in the studio, and they seem to be suggesting maybe some U.S. touring based on one of the newest Facebook items. We’ll have to see what happens in the coming weeks.

Are you feeling any of the new artists featured here? Let me know! Leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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PROFILE: Will Passenger “Go” On To The U.S.?

Driving his way around the world.

Driving his way around the world.

Seems like for at least the past few years, we’ve always had an international solo act that writes and sings their own material and dominates the charts with a breakup anthem that you just can’t escape. In 2011, it was Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep”. In 2012, it was Gotye‘s duet with Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Both sold bucket loads and won awards for their compositions, even if each act didn’t have the same level of success after their signature songs. While we have acts like Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sandé climbing the national surveys today, I’m inclined to think that there may be another act in the wings waiting to breakout and attain that same level of success. With that, let me introduce you to the singer and song that may do it: Passenger and his international hit, “Let Her Go”.

Passenger is a one-man band, 28-year-old British singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg. He started performing at age 16. Rosenberg previously fronted a band baring the same name that broke up in 2009, and he decided to carry the name with him as he began his solo career that same year. His first albums came and went with little notice, but it’s his third album, All The Little Lights, that seems to have everyone interested him. (It’s been out in the U.S. since late August of last year via Nettwerk Records.) A first single, “The Wrong Direction”, didn’t chart in any territory, but his second release, the aforementioned “Go”, became a major hit in Europe beginning in the summer of 2012. It’s already gone to #1 in Austria, Sweden and The Netherlands and now it’s securely at #1 on iTunes in Australia, which will likely take it to the top of the ARIA Singles Chart there. (UPDATE: It rose 23-2 in its second week on the chart, but is still #1 on iTunes.) In total, it’s charted in over a dozen countries so far, most within the top ten. His album has also been a top ten seller in countries like Germany and Ireland. He recently toured in Australia and New Zealand as the opening act for Ed Sheeran and is now on his own headlining tour in the same region. How fast those things seem to grow.

As for the song itself, it’s a really pretty one. It has a minimal arrangement, at times entirely a capella, but is still commercial sounding in its own way. What really drives the song is that Rosenberg has a really distinctive voice, one that would especially stand out here, but in a good sense. It sort of reminds me of a mix of Ben Howard and Paolo Nutini, both of whom have had some degree of success here. It’s one of those songs you just want to listen to if you’re feeling down and can’t shake the memories of an old flame. In fact, that’s reflected in the lyrics pretty elegantly: “You see her when you fall asleep/But never to touch and never to keep.” As the expression goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. You realize that you need some essential quality, but it doesn’t happen until after it’s gone. He can put it better than I can: “You only need the light when it’s burning low/Only miss the sun when it starts to snow/Only know you love her when you let her go.” It’s a song that can touch a lot of people, like “Rolling” and “Somebody” did during their respective years in the spotlights. Watch out for Passenger to fill that void at some point.

So, what happens from here? It may be that the sudden sales in Australia translates into Nettwerk promoting “Go” to both Canada and the United States later this spring. It could be longer. It’s currently being considered for only Triple A radio here, but that could easily be expanded. Regardless of what it happens, it will happen, and then maybe you’ll be tired of it by the 200th time you hear it on the radio. For now, it’s a fresh sound that may be the next to pop on the mainstream circuit. You may “let her go”, but don’t let this one do the same.

Download “Let Her Go” on iTunes. / Download All The Little Lights on iTunes.

Are you already enjoying Passenger’s music? Think he can break the U.S. market successfully? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

UPDATE: “Let Her Go” goes for adds at hot adult contemporary radio on April 29! Here’s to a great U.S. run for it.

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