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Mike Posner on writing, fame and finding happiness

Mike Posner first rocketed to stardom with his instant hit Cooler Than Me in the summer of 2010. Since then he has been a non-stop creative force, touring the country as well as writing and producing with some of the biggest musical heavyweights in the industry. With his awaited new album Pages set for release this year, Mike is taking to the road again, this time on an unplugged tour, a more up close and personal show that will give fans a chance to experience his music like never before. Mike told Examiner about the tour, some special projects and how he found inspiration that kept him from leaving music behind.

Check Mike out on his Unplugged Tour.

Examiner: “You’re doing an ‘unplugged’ tour in a few major cities; it features new material as well as songs from 31 Minutes to Takeoff and some Q&A. Have you done performances like this before?”

Mike Posner: “No, and that’s the reason I wanted to do it. I’m constantly playing music in my friends’ living rooms and in my living room. I though ‘my fans never get to hear me sing like this or play like this…why not’. That was kind of the motivation behind this tour, like ‘let’s let everyone come into the living room.”

E: “This tour will also feature new music from a project that is separate from the album, which is called “…Featuring Me”. How did this project come about?”

MP: “That project came out of collaborations that I did with other artists, various artists that I’ve written for or produced for.”

E: Your brand new album titled Pages is set to come out soon; do you have a specific release date yet?

MP: “No hard date yet, sometime this year.”

E: “Every copy of the new album that is sold will help feed a child in need, thanks to a partnership between you and Food Bank of New York City. You’ve said that it came out of an experience with airplane food?"

MP: “Yes, I was on an airplane a few years ago, and I had this nasty airline sandwich; the idea just came over me. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I knew I needed to do it. The Food Bank of New York City came on board and helped out, for which I’m very grateful.”

E: “You’ve written and produced for other artists too, working on hits such as ‘Boyfriend’ from Justin Bieber, ‘Windows Down’ from Big Time Rush and ‘Say Something’ from Austin Mahone; you also worked with Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Nelly, T.I, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion now) . What’s it like being in the studio and helping write and create not only songs that are so well known but with some of the biggest names in music?”

MP: “I grew up watching artists like that on TV…God blessed me with a hand and a pen, and I’m grateful for that.”

E: “Do you find it harder writing for other people or yourself; are you more critical in one as opposed to the other?”

MP: “It’s not really a different process for me. I’m always just writing for myself, and trying to impress myself and do something I think is good. I don’t really worry about anyone else when I write. I don’t think about my fans, I don’t think about other artists, my manager, my girl, I just think about me. If I don’t think it’s good I won’t let anyone hear it. Most of the time I found that when I think it’s good then other people tend to as well. I work hard on my songs everyday.”

E: “Is there anyone you would like to work with that you haven’t yet had an opportunity to do so?”

MP: “You know I’m a hip hop kid, I grew up with Mos Def and Tabli Kwali. My favorite rapper is Andre 3000, I haven’t been able to work with him yet; I hope that happens. I’m also the biggest Paul Simon fan ever so I hope that happens too.”

E: “Are there other careers you’d like to try?”

MP: “I feel like I was meant to do what I do. I’m good at it and I’m blessed that I’m good at it so I feel like it’s my job to become the best that I can at this. I’m really focused and I work really hard everyday. Some things that I would like to do outside of music is get married and have kids. Other than that this is it. ‘This is the life I chose or rather the life that chose me’ to quote Jay-Z” (lyrics from December 4th).

E: “You actually almost stopped making your own music at one point, and you’ve talked openly about struggling with depression in the midst of your success. You have a song called My Light which is about that?”

MP: “Totally. I remember thinking in school that if I had a record deal and songs on the radio that I would be happy. So I set about acquiring those things and was successful. Then I picked up all these trophies above my head and I realized I didn’t feel any happier. So I started putting all these trophies down thinking ‘what am I doing this for if it doesn’t make me happier?’ That’s when I started doing some serious thinking, and I came up with the food bank idea. My life has certainly turned and changed for the better.”

E: “That’s such a positive message and you have such a great attitude and outlook on everything, especially in an age and an industry where people put a lot of stock in status and things like trophies. What do you hope that people gain from hearing about your experience?”

MP: “I more like to just tell stories from my life, and sometimes it helps people with theirs. For me and my life, the things that made me most happy, given me the most joy and filled me up with the most purpose have been when I’m giving as opposed to taking. Any time I’m focused on making more hits, more money or getting myself more famous I just feel sort of empty inside; even though to the world I’m so-called ‘successful’. I think that’s number one; number two for any young people reading this is that you can do what ever you want to do. The biggest thing is to believe in yourself and keep working hard towards your goal everyday.”

Mike will be performing at the House Of Blues Boston on Tuesday April 1st, 2014.

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