Mike Posner makes the music we wish Justin Timberlake could make. His mixtape A Matter of Time features 12 tracks of Posner’s distinctive pop vocals over his firestorm beats. The 21-year-old Posner shows off his list of connections with verses on Matter of Time from Big Sean (G.O.O.D. music protege’), Jackie Chain, and Donnis. With the success of his mixtape Posner has signed on to work with Elitaste (WALE, Paper Route Recordz) management and has had interest from just about every record label. He has big plans for the near future so be sure to keep an eye out. Mike took time from moving home from school to talk with ATF for a few minutes.
The day I turned 21 I was in my room recording instead of partying and my friends were making fun of me so much. I’m just like ‘Yo man, this is my passion, this is what I want to do…so I’m doing it.’ People are just now starting to see the fruits of that.
Download A Matter of Time Free from iTunes HERE
Check out the full interview
ABOVE THE FOLD: Well we know you’re from the Detroit suburb Southfield, MI. Talk about how you started producing.
Mike Posner: I was really lucky to grow up in that area because it’s a super diverse area. I went to high school with all types of different kids. Really rich, really poor. Really black, really white. And was just exposed to a lot of different things throughout my childhood so that was beneficial to me. I used to have friends that would freestyle so I just got interested in producing. I bought a cheap little keyboard when I was 13 or 14 and my friend gave me some software and started making beats.
ATF: Once you realized you wanted to make music, how did you get started in the industry?
Posner: I was an intern at 102.7 in Detroit when I met Big Sean. Me and one of our other good friends Pat worked there and Pat told Sean that I got the beats (laughter). I ended up giving Sean a beat and we just ended up becoming really good friends after that and now he’s one of my best friends.
ATF: Seeing as you grew up in a somewhat large market in terms of music scenes, what drew you to Duke University?
Posner: I really dislike MI winters. That was number one. Also, Duke is a really cool size so its not a tiny school like a high school, but its not a huge school like Michigan or Michigan State like 30,000 kids. I liked that environment and its just a really good school.
ATF: Did you have mixed feelings when Michigan beat Duke in basketball earlier in the year?
Posner: I had to turn my cell phone off. I’ve got so many friends from high school at Michigan. I was like man f*** this. I mean I’m a Michigan fan, except when they play Duke.
ATF: Your band is called The Brain Trust and your album is going to be called the New Deal, which are both references to FDR…..how much of an influence is he on you?
Posner: I was trying to think of names for the band. I couldn’t think of a name so my friend Nick who goes to Marquette who I took AP History with in high school came back with 3 or 4 suggestions and Brain Trust was one of them. The New Deal just goes along with that. I’m thinking of calling my blog The Fireside Chat, too (laughter). I don’t have any FDR posters in my room with candles underneath it if that’s what you’re asking (laughter).
ATF: Your music draws on an array of pop music references (ELO, Carly Simon, Beyonce, and The Fray)…..where does that random spattering come from?
Posner: What I try to do with my music is make it very inclusive. And put people together in the same room that normally wouldn’t be in the same room. When I choose to cover Gorilla Zoe, Beyonce, Fray, and ELO I’m trying to cover as many different demographics as possible. I’m trying to make inclusive things that a lot of different people can relate to.
ATF: There seems to be a new breed of musicians from the same geographic area that are making pop music fused with hip hop (Colin Munroe, Mayer Hawthorne)….. why do you think that might be?
Posner: I don’t want to speak for my region because I don’t think I have earned that at all. I don’t know how similar everyone else’s experience was mine in growing up. I grew up in a very diverse area and I was lucky enough to be able to be exposed to a lot of different types of people growing up. And to have parents that put me in an environment like that on purpose. So I think that’s a strong influence on my music.
A guy like Big Sean grew up in the city right? We never would have met if it wasn’t for music. We came from two really different backgrounds and music made us friends. That to me is what its all about.
ATF: Your video from your performance at Duke went kinda viral with shouts from the likes of Kanye….in the short time since your mixtape dropped, what has been the most surreal experience?
Posner: …………Meeting with Jay Z…….yeah definitely……that would have to be number one.
ATF: For other college students who may have musical aspirations…..what would be a very brief DIY guide of how someone can make music and go to school?
Posner: I made my own mixtape in my dorm room. I don’t tell a lot of people that until they’ve heard it. I know how to work all the stuff in my room really well. At the end of the day your dedication and the time you put in is going to reflect what you get out. My friends clown me all the time this year for not going out and partying. When I turned 21 I was in my room recording and my friends were making fun of me so much. I’m just like ‘yo man, this is my passion, this is what I want to do so I’m doing it.’ People are just now starting to see the fruits of that.
ATF: What can we expect from your full-length album?
Posner: I just turned 21 in February. I don’t feel like a man yet, I know I’m going to change a lot as a person and as an artist. It was important for me with my mixtape to create a space for me in the future. I could’ve made a mixtape of all ‘Drug Dealer Girls,’ like funny songs, but that would leave me with no where to go.
ATF: When you ‘roll the windows up’….what are a couple songs you would want to listen to?
Posner: Ya know that song actually came from my high school experiences because we don’t really drive here at all.
The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Thin White Duke Remix)
Nas – You’re Da Man
Outkast – Slump
Outkast – West Savannah
Who are some musicians you are into that other people may still need to hear about?
ATF: To Finish….say the first thing that pops in your head when I say the following:
Big Sean – Nicest guy ever
Daniel Weisman – Vision
The Brain Trust – Dope
Detroit – Home
Mike Posner – Awesome