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9-year old aspiring pop star, Michael "Mikey" Brennan joined country day special needs school, Bower Grove School in September 2008, transferring from his previous primary school, The Holy Family Catholic Primary School, due to raised behavioural and academic concerns about his ADHD. On 10th December 2009, when Mikey was 11-years old, he performed in the junior Christmas production of The Xmas Factor, a pop culture twist on the traditional Nativity play and parody of the British ITV talent show The X Factor, where he sang along to "Angels" by Robbie Williams (two days prior to X Factor finalist Olly Murs' duet of the song with Williams on the Saturday night final).

Mikey's school music teacher was Danny Wells, who also had experience in the field of art as a sketch artist for the 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit film, and Toby Starks, the school music technician and accompanying LSA, a part time musician and founding member of the local Maidstone covers band, The Starks Family, and the primary singer/songwriter and guitarist for the folk and country-influenced Maidstone band Wheeler Street, named after the street of the same name at ME14 1UB in Maidstone (and later The Lowly Strung). In 2010, a year following the release of the debut Wheeler Street album, Roodumdah, Mr. Starks wrote "Another Bower Grove Christmas", which was recorded as a Christmas charity single for Bower Grove School, featuring vocals from the staff and pupils of the school - including an 11-year old Mikey - and released to all online streaming platforms on 18th November 2010. In early 2011, Mikey started having one-to-one singing lessons with Mr. Starks. 

In September 2011, when Mikey was 12 years old, he met Mr. Croft, the school's newly employed maths and music teacher, who would frequently play piano in the school assemblies. Mikey started to have additional one-to-one music lessons with Croft, who would go on to produce Mikey's first ever self-penned original song and debut single, "Mean Mikey", recorded within a six month period in 2012 from February to July. Also in July that year, Mikey performed in the school annual music assembly, where he sang renditions of the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah" and Ed Sheeran's "Lego House", accompanied by Starks on keyboard and guitar respectively for each song. Mikey and Mr. Starks recorded a studio version of "Hallelujah" that same month before the end of term, while "Lego House" was recorded the following academic year in October. "Hallelujah" was originally planned to be released as Mikey's debut single, with "Lego House" as the accompanying b-side, but the idea was scrapped acknowledging that the song had already been defined as a debut hit single by X Factor winner Alexandra Burke in 2008, and thus "Mean Mikey" was chosen as the debut single instead, and released on 5th October 2012, while the two covers of "Hallelujah" and "Lego House" were respectively published to YouTube in January 2013. 

At the start of the 2012 academic year in September, Mr. Croft became Mikey's class form tutor, which gave the two more time to work on music together. "A Dream", the follow-up original song to "Mean Mikey", written about Mikey's ambition of becoming a pop star, was the duo's next collaborative effort. The R&B-influenced pop ballad made its debut in a performance by Mikey, accompanied by Mr. Croft on keyboard, at the school's Christmas dinner assembly, and was subsequently released on 21st December 2012. The third and final of Mikey and Mr. Croft's original songs was "Can't You See Me", released 3rd August 2013. Although Mr. Croft was no longer Mikey's form tutor as of September 2013, he voluntarily became Mikey's one-to-one GCSE Music tutor. (Not only was Mikey the only student in his year to do GCSE Music, but he also became the first student in Bower Grove School history to take it). But due to being pre-occupied at the start of that academic year, on account of his wife's pregnancy with their first child, Mr. Croft was unable to assist Mikey in making anymore original songs. In December 2013, on Christmas Eve, three years following the release of the original version of the song, Mikey released a solo rendition of "Another Bower Grove Christmas", produced by Mr. Starks. After helping Mikey record a number of cover songs throughout 2014, Mr. Starks went on to produce the rest of what ended up being Mikey's debut self-titled album, as Mr. Croft became entrusted with focusing on only GCSE Music coursework with him, and had father duties to attend to. The album was released on 1st June 2015, just before Mikey graduated from Bower Grove School on 26th June. 

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Michael Mikey Brennan's debut self-titled album is a soundtrack of four years worth of school recorded material, that draws listeners into the life and mind of a young school student and aspiring pop star, from the opening lyric to the introductory track "A Dream", "My name is Michael Mikey Brennan, and this is my dream", listeners are instantly taken into his world. The musical-orientated pop ballad incorporates influences of R&B and teen pop, and lyrics within the vein of Disney classics such as "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio and "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella. It also features a lyrical reference to the Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars song "Billionaire" ("I want lots and lots of cars, so I can be as rich as Bruno Mars"). The second track, "Can't You See Me" is an unrequited love ballad, which explores a more darker lyrical concept about a visually impaired girl finding herself unable to reciprocate romantic feelings or affection or develop the trust for a boy, due to her inability to see him. While it is Mikey's least favourite song on the entire album, it does showcase a very soulful and emotional side to him, and is the first of his songs to ever showcase his falsetto (which would become a signature style for him in future recordings). In "Mean Mikey", Mikey takes up the alter-ego of a fictional character version of himself, with a persona mirroring characteristics of cartoon menaces Bart Simpson and Horrid Henry, while the song's producer and additional vocalist Mr. Croft (who also produced "A Dream" and "Can't You See Me"), provides the voice of Mean Mikey's grouchy father, channelling influences of Homer Simpson. Inspired by The Simpsons 1990 hit single, "Do The Bartman" (performed by Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson), the novelty bubblegum pop song, incorporates influences of comedy hip-hop and R&B, mirroring influences of the humour and attitude of Eminem's Slim Shady alter-ego. Not only was it Mikey's debut single, but it is also a notable example of his storytelling skills as a songwriter, metaphorically depicting his childhood and teenage struggles with ADHD, in a child-friendly lyrical narrative. The song also pays homage to Mikey's musical idol, Michael Jackson, and the iconic hits, "Billie Jean" and "Bad", while Mikey also imitates the late King of Pop's signature vocal exclamations, Aoww! Mikey's cover of Leonard Cohen's 1984 classic "Hallelujah", takes up a similar stylistic vein to the 1991 cover by John Cale (formerly of The Velvet Underground), which was famously featured in Shrek, and Rufus Wainwright's cover which was featured on the soundtrack album to the 2001 DreamWorks Animation film, while his cover of Ed Sheeran's "Lego House" explores an R&B and afro beat-influenced production. 

Due to attending a special needs school, Mikey did not have the full adolescent experience of his secondary school years that he would have done had he attended mainstream education. There were very few girls at Bower Grove School in Mikey's year, and he was in an all boys class. He didn't even have the freedom to walk or take public transport to school and back home, as Bower Grove also provided mini bus transportation for their students. Because of this, a lot of Mikey's songwriting on the album, particularly the songs about love ("You And Me") and heartbreak ("Can't You See Me", "Because I Love You") are fictionalised with lyrical themes inspired instead by Mikey's favourite childhood books, films ("Toy Story"), tv shows ("The Simpsons"), and the work of his musical heroes - from Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, to contemporary singer-songwriters, such as Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars - and their experiences, as opposed to his own. However, the pop rock Busted-esque friendship song "College Buddies" is an ode to Mikey's classmates (originally titled "School Buddies"), and discusses forms of social media communication such as Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Email and Twitter. (The song's lyrics were first written in 2011, and MySpace was originally referenced as well, but taken out as the website had fallen from popular use by time the song was recorded in 2015). Growing up with ADHD, Mikey struggled with social relationships outside of school, and would therefore spend most of his school half terms at home talking to friends on social media, and watching films and listening to music, instead of social activities. The album ends with the Disney-esque folk-pop song, "The Best Day Of My Life", which bares a similar motivational lyrical theme to the SpongeBob SquarePants song, "The Best Day Ever", and "Believe In Yourself", the opening and closing theme song to children's tv series Arthur (which Mikey covered), as the 16-year old school boy sings about approaching his day, though sceptical, with optimism. It's clear Mikey learned more from pop records and cartoons - or as Bruce Springsteen once said in his song "No Surrender": "more from a three-minute a record" - than he did from school.

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