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Passenger: From busker to headline act

Friday 15 Mar 2013 11:08 p.m.

One-man band Passenger, aka Mike Rosenberg is on the up, going from busking on the streets to survive, to landing his own headline tour.

The British singer-songwriter has stuck at music for nine years, and his tunes are finally getting noticed.

Rosenberg, 26, is a busker. He's played in streets and parks all over the world to fund his four solo albums.

His latest album, All the Little Lights, is getting radio play - and he's in New Zealand as part of his first headline tour. He played in Auckland last night and Wellington tonight.

"Recently it's kind of been too busy for busking, and hanging out in places like this. But um, hopefully, I'll be able to find a balance again."

Rosenberg admits the career-focus means he hasn't had a tonne of luck in love.

"I've had a couple of relationships that have been pretty painful to come out of," he says. "But I think it's one of those subjects that pretty much everyone can relate to. You know what I mean? There's a reason why [it seems] 89-percent of popular music is about heartbreak."

Given the similar themes of eighties power ballads, Rosenberg says there's nothing quite like one of those to get him in the mood to perform – such as "Africa" by Toto.

"'It would take a lot to drag me away from you', that one. Yeah I don't really know the lyrics, I just get caught up in the emotion of it all."

Although his shows don't lend themselves to wind machines, Rosenberg's over the moon about his growing success.

He concedes in a commercial world though, the hairstyle may need some work.

He jokes about his hair being called "Hobbitty". But he admits, there's a few other Hobbitty things about him. He likes a quiet life, wants a family, doesn't have a driver's license, hence the name Passenger, and loves nature walks.

"My feet are the worst Hobbit feet on earth, they're like, I've got flat feet to start with. Why am I talking about feet on camera, it's disgusting, but I've got proper Hobbit feet."

His music's got to be better than the tunes in the Shire, though.

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