Passenger plays LIVE and shares story of how Let Her Go became a hit

Virgin Radio

10 Nov 2023, 15:26

Passenger talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio.

Passenger visited Virgin Radio to play a cracking session on the Stool of Rock, and to talk about special anniversary editions of hit single Let Her Go and debut album All The Little Lights.

The singer-songwriter joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to chat about re-recording and re-imagining his breakout 2012 album, and releasing a new version of Let Her Go featuring none other than Ed Sheeran.

Passenger, aka Mike Rosenberg, told Chris: “I was lucky enough to be on tour with Ed Sheeran a lot around that time. And he was just so instrumental in Let Her Go getting big in the first place. Yeah, so yeah, he was the first sort of obvious one, straight off the bat."

Regarding other collaborations on his re-released album, he said: "I've got Gabrielle Aplin, Nina Nesbitt and Foy Vance, who were just phenomenal. I'm so lucky.”

On how Let Her Go became his breakthrough hit, Mike explained: “I released the album, I released Let Her Go… Nothing. I was a busker. I was playing in pubs, nothing happened for nine months, and we got an email out of the blue one day, me and my manager, from this guy called Dave in Holland. And he was like, ‘I was sitting in a cafe in Amsterdam and Let Her Go came on. I didn't know what it was, so I Shazamed it, and I love it and I want to take it to radio'. 

“He's a radio plugger over there. He said, ‘Do you mind if I take it in to radio? No worries if it doesn't work, you'd have to pay me anything’. So I was like, ‘Yeah’. I kind of thought it was a bit of a scam or something. I was just like, ‘Fine. Knock yourself out’. Two weeks later it was number one in Holland and then it dominoed around the world from there."

The artist told Chris: “There have been moments where I absentmindedly pick up a guitar, not thinking about writing a song, not thinking about much at all, and straight off the bat something kind of flows out my fingers.

“Actually Let Her Go is like that. I genuinely remember walking into this dressing room - it was more of a broom cupboard really -  in a pub in Australia and just picking up the guitar and honestly playing the riff, like I'd written it 10 years before.

“It's odd, isn't it? And pretty much finished it in 45 minutes. And other songs have taken months.” 

During his session, Passenger played a cracking cover of Eye of the Tiger. Watch it here:

Talking about how he still he used to busk, “even after everything got bigger,” Mike said: “I'd been busking Let Her Go, and a kid came over to me and was like, ‘That's an amazing cover, you sound just like Passenger’. Genuinely. I played along for ten minutes. I was like, ‘Man, I love that guy.’"

Speaking more about busking, the musician told Chris: “You learn all sorts of ways to draw in an audience. And I think it taught me so much, not just as a musician, but just how to be a human being on planet earth and how to navigate it and meet all sorts of people from different walks of life. 

Passenger also played Circles on the Stool of Rock. He described it as “A song I wrote about my best mate when we were growing up. A guy called Jamie. We met when we were, like, a year old and we were inseparable throughout our childhood and then, you know, life happens and we see less of each other now.”

Let Her Go - Anniversary Edition is out today (10th November). All The Little Lights - Anniversary Edition is also out today. For more information visit

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.