Background and recording
Aspiring pop star, Michael Mikey Brennan, joined Bower Grove School in September 2008, aged 9. Bower Grove is a country day special school located in Barming, Maidstone, Kent for students aged 4 - 16 with behaviour and learning needs and associated autistic difficulties (e.g. autism spectrum disorder, asperger syndrome, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, obsessive compulsive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder). Brennan suffers from attention deficit hyperactive and dyspraxia, as well as anxiety and depression. Brennan attended primary school (from Reception to Year Four) for the past five years in mainstream at The Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Park Wood, prior to joining Bower Grove.
Brennan had already developed confidence in his ability to sing back at Holy Family, through school church services and singing assemblies, in singing traditional Catholic hymns and children-themed religious songs (such as "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", "Oil in My Lamp", "Lord of the Dance", "Jesus Is My Superhero", "This Little Light Of Mine" and "One More Step Along The World I Go"), as well as Christmas carols during the holiday seasons. In addition, Brennan would often participate in the school choir; his first public performance was with the school choir in December 2006 (when he was 8 years old and in Year Three) at Leeds Castle, entertaining the locals, singing various carols. However, Brennan had not yet performed as an individual, until December, 2009, when he (aged 11, Year Six) was chosen to perform "Angels" by Robbie Williams in the school's Christmas production, The Xmas Factor (based on the ITV talent show The X Factor), in dedication to the angels from the Christmas story. Despite his lack in timing and pitch (possibly due to nerves, inexperience and lack of lessons), Brennan received a tremendous amount of applause for his performance.
The following year, Brennan (Year Seven) started having singing lessons, lectured by the school's music LSA, Mr. Toby Starks, a professional musician; lead vocalist and guitarist of local Kent bands Wheeler Street and his family band The Starks Family. Later that year, Brennan featured on the school's Christmas charity single "Another Bower Grove Christmas", alongside the other pupils and staff of Bower Grove. The song was written by Starks and released on 18th November, 2010.
Brennan and Starks' covers of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and Ed Sheeran's 'Lego House' were recorded following a performance in a music assembly at the school, in which they performed the two songs. The 'Hallelujah' cover was mainly inspired by John Cale's version, Brennan's favourite version of the song, which he remembers hearing in Shrek the movie in which he discovered the song through. He has also shown fondness of Rufus Wainwright's version, which was featured in the Shrek motion picture soundtrack, despite it was Cale's version that was featured in the film. Brennan also states that Alexandra Burke's version also impacted his version of the song, although Starks, according to Brennan, despises that version: "When Mr. Starks and myself decided to cover 'Hallelujah' I spent ages rehearsing the song and listening to Alexandra Burke's version over and over again". While Brennan's favourite was Cale's, Starks was most fond of Jeff Buckley's version, which was inspired by Cale's version. Brennan is said to have discovered and developed interest in Buckley's music through Starks. Brennan and Starks' acoustic cover of 'Hallelujah' was inspired by Buckley's version and recorded as a tribute to the latter.
In October 2012, Brennan and a former friend from East London, John Talmey (Johnny Tee) covered Michael Jackson's 'Bad', which Brennan uploaded to YouTube in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Bad album. The cover was a rap remix, inspired by the recent remix of the song by Pitbull and Afrojack recorded for the 25th anniversary reissue of the album, 'Bad 25' (the boys sang to an instrumental track of the remix in the YouTube video). Later that month, Talmey covered 'When You Say Nothing At All', which he uploaded to his own personal YouTube channel - a video of him singing to an instrumental version of Ronan Keating's version of the song - on 25th October. Talmey's cover inspired Brennan to cover the song himself; thus he recommended the song to Starks, who concurred with the suggestion being a fan of the song himself. His favourite version being Alison Krauss and the Union Station's version, while Brennan's favourite was Keating's. Brennan and Starks' cover of the song features elements of both Keating's version and Krauss' version. The acoustic version of the cover was mainly inspired by Keating's version and is played in the same key.
|2.||"Hallelujah" (Short Version)||Cohen||Cohen||02:41|
|3.||"Lego House"||Ed Sheeran||Sheeran
|4.||"When You Say Nothing At All"||Keith Whitley||Paul Overstreet Don Schlitz||04:05|
|6.||"Believe in Yourself" (Theme from "Arthur")||Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers||Judy Henderson
Jerry de Villiers Jr.
|8.||"Lego House" (Acoustic)||Sheeran||Sheeran
|9.||"Man in the Mirror"||Michael Jackson||Siedah Garrett||03:30|
|10.||"You Are Not Alone"||Jackson||R. Kelly||05:08|
|11.||"You've Got A Friend in Me" (from Toy Story)||Randy Newman||Newman||02:12|
|13.||"When You Say Nothing At All" (Acoustic)||Whitley||Overstreet
|14.||"Man in the Mirror" (Acoustic)||Jackson||Garrett
|15.||"You've Got A Friend in Me" (from Toy Story) (Duet with Toby Starks)||Newman||Newman||02:12|
|16.||"Believe in Yourself" (Theme from "Arthur")(Acoustic)||Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers||Henderson
|17.||"Just The Way You Are" (Live, with Mr. Croft)||Bruno Mars||Mars
|18.||"God Only Knows" (featuring Bower Grove School)||The Beach Boys||Brian WilsonTony Asher||02:59|
|19.||"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" (Live)||The Proclaimers||Charlie Reid
- ↑ Michael Brennan - Facebook Life Event: Joined Bower Grove School, September, 2008. 
- ↑ Michael John "Mikey" Brennan's Birth Certificate, born 30th November, 1998. 
- ↑ Bower Grove School website 
- ↑ Bower Grove School (@BowerGroveSch) on Twitter 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan confirms he has ADHDand Dyspraxia 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan | The Music That Changed My Life
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Michael Mikey Brennan (aged 11) performing Robbie Williams' 'Angels' live at Bower Grove School - Christmas Production - The Xmas Factor - 10th December, 2009 
- ↑ The Starks Family Band website 
- ↑ Toby Starks - British Young Folk 
- ↑ Wheeler Street's music on Apple Music 
- ↑ Bower Grove School - Another Bower Grove Christmas 
- ↑ 'Another Bower Grove Christmas' on iTunes 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan - On The School Stage EP 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@MMikeyBrennan) on Twitter: "Happy birthday for yesterday, @therealjohncale! Your version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' is my all time favourite. #Shrek #Childhood" 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@MMikeyBrennan) on Twitter: "My favourite version of 'Hallelujah' is the version by John Cale (@therealjohncale) since I grew up watching Shrek a lot. #RIPLeonardCohen" 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@MMikeyBrennan) on Twitter: "My all time favourite version of "Hallelujah" has to be the Shrek version by @therealjohncale. #childhoodmemories" 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@michaelmikeybrennan) on Instagram: "The film that inspired me to cover "Hallelujah"." 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan's Top 5 Favourite Versions of "Hallelujah" 
- ↑ Shrek (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) on Apple Music 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@michaelmikeybrennan) on Instagram: "The movie soundtrack that inspired me to cover "Hallelujah". 
- ↑ Shrek - Hallelujah (2001) 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan on Alexandra Burke's version of "Hallelujah". 
- ↑ How John Cale recorded the definitive version of ‘Hallelujah’ 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@MMikeyBrennan) on Twitter: "Throwback: Me and Mr. Starks' tribute to Jeff Buckley, such a great musician! http://youtu.be/EL4nHryqB0s #RIPJeffBuckley #19Years #Hallelujah"
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan and Johnny Tee - Bad (Rap Remix) 
- ↑ Michael Jackson - Bad (Remix by Afrojack - DJ Buddha Edit) featuring Pitbull 
- ↑ Michael Jackson - Bad (25th Anniversary Edition) (2012) on Apple Music 
- ↑ Johnny Tee - When You Say Nothing At All 
- ↑ Johnny Tee - When You Say Nothing At All (Outtake) 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan (@MMikeyBrennan) on Twitter: "Mr. Starks' favourite version of 'When You Say Nothing At All' is @AlisonKrauss' version". 
- ↑ Michael Mikey Brennan - When You Say Nothing At All (Acoustic Version)