Singer-songwriter from Liverpool, Mike Nelson, has one of the most talented voices I have heard in a long time. Nelson began singing in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Choir and the Liverpool Kop. Once he sang in Cathedrals and concert halls all across Europe, he began working with Canadian Producer, Stephen Kozmeniuk. Kozmeniuk and Nelson created BANNERS and they truly created Nelson’s sound and music.In 2015, Nelson signed with Island Records and used his first stage name was Raines when he debuted his song, “Ghosts.” In August, 2015, Nelson released his second single, “Shine a Light” that was on Billboard Canada Rock and Rock Airplay charts. I found Nelson’s music in January 2016 when it was on Spotify’s artists to watch and listened to his song, “Start a Riot” that was released on December 4, 2015.
I love his music and I was lucky enough to talk with Nelson about his music!
When did you start getting into music/playing/writing?
My first performance was as a singing, “Ox,” at a Christmas play at school. I’m really not sure where a singing “Ox” fits in to the story of Jesus’ birth though! It doesn’t get the mentions in the Bible that it really deserves. That was when I was about six, I think? It’s really all been downhill from there. I’ve always loved being in recording studios, the feeling of finishing a day having created something from nothing. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in recording studios as a kid and it’s always something that fascinated me. I’ve always known that singing, recording and performing was the thing I wanted to do. Although, I found a piece of school work recently that claims that, at the time, when I grew up I wanted to be a football. As it’s obviously impossible to have a job as an inanimate object I guess singing is the next best thing.
Congratulations on your EP, Banners, that came out on January 15, 2016! I love listening to it and each song on the EP is extremely powerful. How long did it take to you write Banners? What is your process as a musician when creating an album?
Thanks! Well I’ve been writing for years so I guess it took years to write, but I wrote and recorded most of it with my producer in Toronto over a period of about eight months. It’s hard to talk about the process really because it’s not necessarily set in stone. I think the key is to take inspiration from every day life, from things that matter to you and then condense it into three and a half minutes. I like to write songs on the acoustic guitar or the piano and then build the production around that. To make sure the song stands up on its own without the crutch of expansive production, and then you can add production elements to enhance it.
What are some of the songs about on the album?
Well, “Shine a Light” is about feeling lost and looking for salvation. I think it’s something that all of us have felt at some point, the feeling of being almost totally overwhelmed waiting for that one big wave to finally drag us under and praying for that one thing that can save us. A girl or a boy, a lighthouse in the darkness.
Who are some of your musical influences when writing music?
I really love Jeff Buckley. His album, Grace, is my all time favorite album and one that everyone should listen to. I love how he uses his voice as an instrument, and explores what you can do with it as opposed to just a means of conveying lyrics. He’s a really huge influence on me.
The song, “Start A Riot,” is my favorite song on the EP and I was wondering what your song is about?
I’m glad you like it! It’s a love song to the person in your life that means loads to you. It’s about when they’re having a bad day, and the whole world is against them. It’s saying “I’m on your side, it’s me and you against the world.”
Keep on rocking Mike! Hope to see you in Boston soon!