Winning always feels great, but when your whole crew is winning, that’s a special feeling. Singer/songwriter/producer Mike Posner knows what that feeling is like. He and one of his closest friends, rapper Big Sean, are currently taking the music world by storm. While Big Sean has seen more of the public spotlight due to his recent engagement to “Glee” star Naya Rivera, Mike Posner has been quietly collecting checks behind the scenes writing and producing for some of pop music’s biggest names like Justin Bieber. Posner wrote Bieber’s hit song “Boyfriend.”
After making a name for himself behind the scenes, Posner is back to making music for himself. Mike Posner is gearing up to release his sophomore project “Pages.” While most artists would drop an album and reap all of the benefits themselves, Posner is doing something different. Mike Posner is planning on donating some of the proceeds to feed some hungry families throughout the country.
The Urban Daily got a chance to talk to Mike Posner about his friendship with Big Sean, the positivity he wants fans to take from his music, and why he was so shocked when he first heard Eve‘s debut album. Yes, we covered a gambit of topics in our interview. Sit back and reintroduce yourself to the sandpaper vocalist.
TUD: You have a new song called “Top of the World” with your old friend Big Sean. What was it like to reconnect with him now that both of you have tasted some success?
MP: It’s always an honor to collaborate with Sean. I can definitively say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. A lot of people don’t realize I started out making beats for him in Detroit. We met when we were both 18. We used to make music in my mom’s basement. First he got a deal and that inspired me. Then I got my record deal. It’s been a while since we’ve released music together, but we’ve still been making music together. But I’m super excited to have a new single out with one of my closest friends.
What was it about Big Sean that made you want to work with him when you guys were 18?
I heard rumblings about Big Sean. At the time, Kanye had already taken an interest in him, but hadn’t signed him yet. I was an intern at a Detroit radio station and I kept hearing about this guy and I started working with another guy who was a mutual friend and he introduced me to Sean. Sean looked like he was a millionaire already even though he wasn’t. [laughs] He came to my mom’s house and I played him some tracks. At first, I was hesitant to work with him because I was rapping at the time and didn’t want to give away my beats. But he told me to think about it and I finally relented and we began working together. When I did my first mixtape “A Matter of Time,” he gave me three verses for it and that’s a big reason anybody ever listened to my music in the first place.
What made you decide to become a singer because you did say you used to be a rapper?
I started singing largely by mistake. I began singing when I was doing beats for Sean. I would write hooks to the beats I would send to him. Normally, a producer who writes hooks will have a reference singer do the hook. I didn’t know any reference singers so I started singing the hooks to give the beats to Sean. The first thing we did was a song called “Smoke ‘N’ Drive” and people really liked that song. So one day I decided I was just going to sing my raps. I’ve been doing that ever since.
Why did you decide to name the album “Pages”?
The album is named “Pages” because I write all of my songs, poems, and goals in my green notebook. The album is just a few selected pages out of this notebook.
“Pages” is said to donate money from every purchase to feeding the hungry.
Correct. I was really blessed that after I graduated college to get all of the things I always dreamed of getting like a record deal and hit songs. The funny thing was I didn’t really feel any happier after I started to get these trophies, if you will. So I started to think about the reasons behind what I was doing. Was the end all, be all just to make more money? I didn’t really know the answer to that serious question until I was on a plane and bit into a sandwich and this crazy idea came over me. It felt very powerful in a physical, visceral kinda way. I cried when I wrote the idea down into notebook. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had to. So then I started to collaborate with the food banks in New York City and we put the album together. This has become the most fulfilling project I’ve ever worked on.
As an artist, we know you want to be honest in your work, but have you ever written something and felt it was too personal to share with your audience?
For me and my life, there’s nothing too personal. There are things that happen in my life that have to do with other people, whether it be a friend or a family member, that would make their lives harder. I wouldn’t want to include that in my music because it’s not really your business to tell their business, but I don’t really have any secrets of my own.
But there’s a song on my first album “31 Minutes to Takeoff” called “Delta 1406” where I was kinda going through it with my family and it was the first time my music had really blown up on an international level. It put a strain on my relationship with my family. I was 22, 23 I think and I didn’t exactly handle it in a very mature way. Things are much happier since that song though.