BANNERS // Artist Interview

You’ve probably heard his voice somewhere on Tik Tok, or maybe even on Spotify’s Global Chart, or I don’t know — maybe even on tv for the trailers of Hulu’s up and coming show, Love, Victor. Familiar yet? Well BANNERS is one artist that you should get well acquainted with. He offers a beautiful mix of haunting yet inspiring anthems that never fails to put a smile on your face. We got to talk to him about music, inspirations, and the huge change he’s had to transition to with the success of his hit single, Someone To You. 

BANNERS: My name is Mike Nelson and I’m from Liverpool. I’m writing this just round the corner from Penny Lane and I’ll probably go up to strawberry fields in a minute because what else is there to do when there’s a pandemic on? I like singing and playing music but mainly I like football. Which is probably the description of everybody born in Liverpool really.

CROWDSURFER MAG: How did you first get into music? 

B: When I was 6 years old I was, for some reason, a singing Ox in a school Christmas play. You’d honestly think more would be made of the fact that there was a singing Ox at the birth of Christ (being dressed like an Ox, put on a stage and made to sing at the age of 6 was the first I’d personally heard of it) but I suppose there was a lot going on with the birth of our Lord and Saviour so the Ox clearly took a bit of a back seat. Still, pretty great. So yeah it turned out I had a lovely little 6 year old voice and I auditioned for the Cathedral Choir in Liverpool. Then did that like every night after school and on weekends while everyone else was doing cool stuff like watching Terminator 2 and having coming of age experiences like in Stand By Me. My Dad is a record producer, so I also spent a lot of time being in recording studios and fell totally in love with them and wanted to be in them with people that do music for the rest of my life.

CSM: Can you talk about your writing and recording process?  

B: Well at the moment, there’s a lot of Zoom in my life. It’s quite nice really. I’m staying with my parents whilst we all figure out this worldwide health emergency the news is always talking about, so I’m genuinely writing a lot of songs in my bedroom. Which is weird. I can’t believe I’m still doing this from a bedroom at my mum’s house. Really thought I’d be further along by now. Man, I hope I’m better at writing songs now than when I was like 10. What if I’m not? What if being 10 was as good as it ever got?! It probably was actually. I really had it figured out then. I’ve got NO IDEA what I’m doing now. So yeah there’s a lot of writing over the internet at the moment but it’s working out pretty well. There’s a lot of writing lyrics with people over email, which considering a lot of them are love songs, it works nicely. Nothing says I love you like a properly formatted email.

CSM: Your Song “Someone to You” has got a lot of attention! Tell us how that changed your life as an artist. 

B: Yes it has. It’s been weird because I can’t play any gigs so my only way of experiencing that has been via emails that say things like “LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO THAT SONG” or by looking at Spotify. So there’s a huge chance that you’re all playing a joke on me. That this is like The Truman Show, you’ve just hacked into my Spotify, artificially inflated the numbers, and are observing how someone acts when they think people really like their song. I’ll save you the trouble. I’m generally relatively freaked out, feel pretty much like an imposter that will get found out as a charlatan and am hiding in a bedroom in my parents’ house. 

CSM: What inspires you?

B: I really just want to play a small part in making people happy. Just making their day a tiny little bit better. 

CSM: What’s coming up for you next?

B: The forecast is a lot of being in a bedroom in my parents’ house. Worrying about a song that’s already out and also worrying about if songs that are done but aren’t out will do as well as the one that is already out.

CSM: Anything you want your fans to know?

B: That I love them and that I can’t believe how nice they are. That they send me lovely messages all the time and they make me feel better about the world. They’re so much nicer than me. I love loads of bands but it would never occur to me to open up social media and go “Hey The National/Arcade Fire/Elbow/Joanna Newsom/Regina Spektor/London Grammar I really love you so thanks.”  So thanks for being lovely everyone.

We look forward to hearing more music from Banners and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next while we’re all stuck inside. The next time you hear Someone To You (which is highly likely), be sure to remember the wonderful artist behind it.

By Sonca Nguyen

Writer and Curator for Crowdsurfer Magazine

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