BANNERS (real name Mike Nelson) is an up-and-coming artist from Liverpool, UK. Despite being around the music scene for less than a year, dropping a couple singles, he has been gaining lots of traction with his refreshing sound. He has also found a home here in Toronto, where he recorded his debut album and soon-to-be hit single, “Shine a Light”.
BANNERS started his music career being part of a choir, singing in concert halls and cathedrals with the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Choir and Liverpool Kop. Surprisingly, many musicians started this way: from John Lennon, to Pat Benatar, and you wouldn’t believe it but Jack White took it a step forward and wanted to become a priest before deciding to pursue music! Banners eventually decided to go solo and work on his own music, making a turn to rock.
Earlier this year, he release his first single “Ghosts” under the name Raines:
His influences range from The Beatles to Arcade Fire, and his past as a choir boy seems to influence his music as well, as he explores themes of life, death, dreams, despair, and is able to connect with a wide range of audiences. He definitely knows how to rock, but like in a cathedral, his music also echoes, it’s beautiful, haunting and hopeful. You can even hear choral elements, like in “Shine A Light”, which he released this past August:
This track is about the low moments we sometimes face and the one sliver of light that gives us hope through it all. He explained: “It’s about asking for salvation, a ray of light in whatever form that may take […] There’s an odd juxtaposition that exists when you’re working on a project that you’re really excited about, yet feeling slightly lonely, slightly lost, and under a lot of pressure […] It’s then that you feel the furthest from home, and I think deep down, that’s what the song is about.” He wrote the song when he was far from home and his loved ones.
His tracks also demonstrates the skill, not only musically, but poetically as well, in his music.