Some artists choose to drop out of college for music's sake, but Mike Posner made sure he finished. After graduating from Duke University in December 2009 (he’ll be walking at the ceremony in May), the Detroit-bred singer-songwriter and J Records signee is now focused on completing his debut album for a summer release. Catch him if you can at SXSW, the Bamboozled Festival or Warped Tour. Learn about him quickly here.
VIBE: I read that you taught yourself to sing? How does one do that without any help?
Mike Posner: Yeah, I was a producer for like eight years before that, so I know what sounds good. I can listen so it really was… I just got tired of giving my ideas to other people. I was writing and as a producer I was taking meetings at like G-Unit and Atlantic to try to sell beats and they would always pass on my hooks and my beats. They never bought any and that’s when I realized they never bought any because they didn’t have any artists that could pull off what I was writing. That’s when the light bulb went on in my head and I was like, there’s no artist in this lane. It has to be me. No one else can do it. [Laughs] So I started singing what I was writing and that was just like two years ago from now.
Have you gotten any comparisons as far as your sound?
People compare me to Justin Timberlake, but I think that’s just because when I first grew my facial hair—this was before I was putting out music—girls started coming up to me and saying I looked like him and I was like, 'Yeah that’s what’s up!' But, you know, Justin is a superstar so I have a lot of work to do before I can even be compared to him in my book.
You dropped a couple mixtapes that were pretty well received [One Foot Out the Door and A Matter of Time]. Plan on dropping anymore?
No, I’m not. It’s album time for me, so the mixtapes have done what they’ve done and they’ve gotten me thus far but I’m really excited for the world to hear the album music. You and I both can probably name like 10 artists who’ve had a lot of dope mixtapes and then their albums you just think, Wow I wish it sounded more like their mixtapes. I promise you I will not be one of those artists. [Laughs] Because going through this whole year since I’ve put out my first mixtape I’ve been saving the craziest joints so I’m just excited for the world to hear it ’cause I know everyone’s gonna flip.
How did your college lifestyle change after the mixtapes dropped?
Well, first of all, I was gone all the time. I was going to class four days a week and then I was on the road anywhere from three days a week to sometimes five, six days a week. I did over 35 to 40 shows just in the first semester of school all over the country so it was wild, man. It was a grind to pull that off and put out a new mixtape and then still have a 3.59 [GPA]. It wasn’t easy but I got through it and now I’m just excited that I get to concentrate on my music and this new album is gonna be incredible.
Do you have a title for the album?
TBD. It’s a secret!
Anyone that you really want to produce for who’s on your wish list?
If he started making music again, Andre 3000 is like the…. He’s so awesome. Young Jeezy has an incredible voice and Lloyd. I’m a really big fan of Lloyd. I think his voice is incredible so I’d love to go in with him.
Why should VIBE readers check you out?
The VIBE readers should check me out because I don’t sound like anybody else and if I did, I would’ve retired yesterday. —Clover Hope
Mike Posner is currently performing shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Check the event schedule for details.