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July 28, 2009

Q&A: Mike Posner

Mike Posner is a 21 year-old singer, songwriter, producer, and college student at Duke University.  Originally from Southfield, Michigan, Mike Posner began playing music in the fifth grade.  By age thirteen, he was already producing his own beats.

Earlier this month, we featured Mike Posner in Drop-top Music Vol. 2, and last week he took some time for a little Q&A with Limité. We asked Mike about music, school, social networks — just about everything — and he was full of answers. Enjoy.


Who were some of your biggest influences growing up?

I was blessed to grow up in a really diverse area so I was constantly around different types of kids. I think that reflected a lot in the music I listened to growing up. You know, on the school bus, for a week it would be like Led Zeppelin. The next week it would be the Roots. The next week was Paul Simon, Elton John, and Jay-Z. Everything.

But all those artists I listened to throughout the years, I feel like I’m able to take strands of each of them and weave them into the thread that’s become my music and my sound.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s music you can drive around with your boys to in the car. Then when you pick up your girl for a date, you can leave my CD in.

If you could work with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

Young Jeezy. He has the greatest voice. It might be in the works. Time will tell.

You’ve recently inked a deal with Sony. How did that pan out?

Starting the last week in school, finals week, I was taking meetings with pretty much every label. I was blessed to have the opportunity where I could make a choice between which label I wanted to be at. I really picked the best one, you know, for me at least. The people there are all making it. I just made the decision.

Are you working on any new collaborations?

I was in the studio working on stuff for Lupe. I don’t know if that’s going to come out or not. I’ve been working with this producer named Benny Blanco who’s totally amazing. He’s 21 and he produced “Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry, “Circus” by Britney [Spears], and I’m actually on my way now to New York right now to get in with him for like 2 weeks. We make crazy shit together. And Big Sean of course.

What is the most difficult part about juggling school and your music career?

Staying awake in class. No, I mean, sleep is really the key. I found that if I get the right amount of sleep, I can pretty much do anything. But if I don’t, my whole mood and morale is down. It’s all about budgeting time like you learn to do as a freshman. I had to re-learn how to do that on an even higher level. I can’t sit around and waste time like a lot of college students. That sucks at times, but I gotta do my thing. Staying awake in class and not being able to party are the hardest things.

Outside of music, do you have any special interests?

I’m into women. I like spending time with women in my free time. I’m becoming more of a foodie and time goes on and I get to some more cities. I really appreciate good food. Whenever I go to a new city, I like to try out stuff that’s unique to that area.

If you weren’t creating music, what would you be doing?

Since I was a teenager, I knew I would be doing something with music. Until about a year ago, I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be working behind a desk at a label, producing, writing, or recording. But, now I’m pretty sure that I can do all four.


Tell us about modeling for Dr. Romanelli.

He’s an amazing designer and artist. He’s coming out with a new clothing collection and he asked me to model it for him so I did it.

Did any perks come with modeling for Dr. Romanelli?

He took care of me, which is a big deal because his stuff is really, really exclusive. It’s really expensive as well.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming publishing/production company. Have you ironed out any details yet?

I have some producers that I’m looking to sign that are amazing from Detroit. That’s not official yet though, so I won’t say their names. But, I’m gonna be in a position to help people, and I already am in a position to help people. So, I am looking for people that are more talented and better than me, and more driven than me. I don’t fuck with people that don’t work hard and take opportunities when they’re given.

To be signed by Mike Posner, you’ve got to be more than just good at music. You’ve got to have the right attitude as well.

What are you listening to now?

  • Luther Vandross – Never Too Much (Odahls K-Love Remix)
  • The Pharcyde – Passing Me By
  • Eric Clapton – Old Love (unplugged)
  • Drake – Successful
  • The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Thin White Duke Remix)
  • David Guetta – Love is Gone

Have you and Big Sean considered starting a group together?

No, we haven’t talked about that. But we’re both so early in our careers individually that we both feel that we have work to do on our own. Not that we can’t help each other do that work but we have a lot to accomplish by ourselves before we can come back and make that happen. Some people have been saying that “oh, you guys should do an album together.” He’s pretty much done with his album and I’ve got a pretty good start on mine.


Do you have a name for your album yet?


When can we expect the album to drop?

Well, I’m doing a mixtape first, so you can expect a mixtape from me in the fall, like September or October. There’s no real date for the album yet but I’m guessing probably first or second quarter 2010.

What’s a local spot around Duke and Southfield, MI where you feel people need to stop by when they travel through?

If you come to Duke, you’ve got to go to Shooters which is this bar that everyone goes to on Saturday night and it’s real, real grimy. Like, you go on the dance floor and you come back completely wet like you just jumped in a swimming pool. And there’s a mechanical bull that girls ride and a cage that people dance in. It’s a scene, man. In Michigan, I go to Ann Arbor in East Lansing and just go wherever my friends take me. I don’t really know.

Favorite blogs?

My friend’s blog is named CLIFF NOTES. I go to elitaste (my manager’s blog), Hypebeast, 2dopeboyz, and Nah Right. There’s another one called Create Digital Music. They have the craziest new electronic toys, musically.

Do you feel that using Twitter helps you connect with your fans?

Yea, definitely. I use Twitter as a means to open up dialogue with my fans. When a fan tweets something at me, I try to tweet back and talk to them. You know what I mean? I don’t know how much more direct you can get that talking straight to your fans. On a more macro-level, Twitter gives people the inside view on what I’m doing on a minute-to-minute basis as opposed to a day-to-day basis. Usually in airports is when I tweet the most.

What’s the craziest thing that a fan has done for you or given you?

I got baked that pie a few days ago. I’ve signed scores of breasts. Those girls drove me home. This girl drew me this amazing picture once in Michigan and gave it to me at a show. It wasn’t of me, but it was about me. It was a really deep picture and she explained the symbolism behind it. It was really dope.

Any closing statements?

You should probably listen to me now so you can be that guy that tells your friends that you were listening to me a year ago.

Also check out:
Mike Posner’s Twitter
Mike Posner’s MySpace
Download Mike Posner’s “A Matter of Time” mixtape

posted by: Chet Bortz
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