Menu

Archives

Search

Mike Posner Interview

June 10, 2009

posnerresize

By day, Mike Posner is a typical college student at Duke University, but at night the Southfield native trades his books for beats. The 21-year-old junior and his band, The Brain Trust, released their DJ Benzi and Don Cannon-hosted mixtape A Matter of Time in March and held the coveted #1 free download on iTunesU. For many, the idea of living such an active life and juggling classes is intimidating, but with the school supporting him, Mike Posner can only seize the opportunity. The not quite Hip Hop artist traveled to Austin, Tex. last month to perform at one of the nation’s largest music festivals, South By Southwest.

In an interview with MichiganHipHop, he talks about G.O.O.D. Music signee and Finally Famous brethren Big Sean, how The Brain Trust came to be and his Detroit homecoming.

When did you get started in music?
When I was in the 5th grade, I played the drums, and friends used to come over and we’d jam. I never stopped making music from that point on. When I was 13, I started producing songs. And I started singing one year ago,s after I stopped producing for other people.

Why did you stop producing for other artists?
I stopped producing for other people because I have a lot of ideas and I hated to have my ideas go to somebody else. Because sometimes they may not like my ideas and then the world would never get to hear them. So I started my own project because I think my ideas are pretty dope.

How did The Brain Trust come together, and why that name for the group?
About one year ago, I was producing and brought in some live musicians to play on beats and song ideas just started to flow out of me. When I started the project I knew I wanted the name to be Mike Posner and something, but I couldn’t figure out what. I took a history class in high school, and I thought it’d be cool if it were someone from that history class. One idea was The Brain Trust, who were Franklin D. Roosevelt’s advisors from The Great Depression, and I thought the idea was super dope.

What was it like performing at South by Southwest?
That was amazing! There were a lot of people there, like Bun B. … And for a lot of people who had heard my music before, this was their first time putting a face to the music. The ones who didn’t know me, they became familiar with my music; it started a buzz.

It’s hard to define your sound, how do you describe it?
I usually say it’s pop music because pop can be anything. It’s pop music that your favorite rapper likes. Sometimes I tell people I’m their favorite rapper’s favorite singer. Being put into a genre doesn’t really mean anything, though.

How did you meet Big Sean?
Anybody that meets Sean knows he’s a cool guy and a lot of people know his story. He used to rap on 102.7 sometimes and one day Kanye West goes to the station, he raps for Kanye and he gets signed. Well, after that I started interning at that station with Pat Piff, and every now and then Sean would come through. I don’t remember where we were, but one day Sean came over and rapped over some of my beats, which you will never hear. We’ve been friends since then we get along great. He’s one of the coolest people I know and I’m lucky he’s one of my best friends.

Where did the name A Matter of Time come from?
I named the mixtape after the song “A Matter of Time.” I wrote the song when I was getting bombarded with up and coming artists asking for beats and all of them seemed so sure they were the next big thing. So basically, the song is about it only being a matter of time before reality hits these people in the face and even for the people that do make it, it’s only a matter of time before their run ends. There’s a more direct meaning to the mixtape’s title but saying what it is makes me seem like an asshole.

How did you hook up with DJ Benzi and Don Cannon?
Well, Wale’s manager had given some of my stuff to Benzi, [and] Sean had given my stuff to Benzi, so he was familiar with it. I met Cannon through Asher Roth’s manager and I drove to [Atlanta] to meet with him. When I got there, Cannon was singing “Cooler Than Me” and I figured if I can get him to sing “Cooler Than Me” then I could get other people to sing it, too.

How long did it take you to make this mixtape?
Some of [the songs] are older, like “Smoke & Drive” is older. I’d say about 90% of the album was done in mid-January to mid-February, about 4 weeks. My favorite track would have to be “Still Not Over You.”

Why are there so many ‘girl hates boy’ songs?
I’m unloved and I feel that gets missed in songs. A lot of people talk about being the man and that they’re getting all the girls and that’s not true. I’m a real guy and I’m not changing the lines to say I’m getting all the hoes and I don’t. That has changed a little bit, my friends and me always joke about how “Cooler Than Me” makes me cooler to girls now.

How do you feel about your upcoming performance in Detroit?
It’s my first show in Detroit in about a year and it’s like my homecoming; I’m excited. You know Sean would have these [Finally Famous] parties and I would be the only white kid in there. There are people coming down from the suburbs, who’ve never been to Detroit, coming to hear my music. I’m excited because I’m the reason that they’re coming down to Detroit and then they’ll see it’s not so bad. There will be people from Detroit coming to see me perform; it’s going to be crazy. I want my music to reflect what that room is going to look like, but on a larger scale.

What’s planned for the rest of 2009?
I’m coming back to Michigan this summer to record; I plan on finishing another mixtape and my album by September. So look out for a mixtape in the fall and my album in 2010. Other than that, I plan on getting out to the UK, LA, Chicago and a couple more cities.

How do you feel about your performance at Wayne State University in Detroit?
It’s my first show in Detroit in about a year and it’s like my homecoming; I’m excited. You know Sean would have these [Finally Famous] parties and I would be the only white kid in there. There are people coming down from the suburbs, who’ve never been to Detroit, coming to hear my music. I’m excited because I’m the reason that they’re coming down to Detroit and then they’ll see it’s not so bad. There will be people from Detroit coming to see me perform; it’s going to be crazy. I want my music to reflect what that room is going to look like, but on a larger scale.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I usually just dance to whatever music is playing and get my energy up.

What was it like to have people dancing and singing to your songs?
It was a great night and I’m extremely grateful for all the love my hometown shows me. I signed about 20 billion autographs in Birmingham the next day at REVIVE sneaker boutique and it was so nice to meet so many of the people that are supporting me. I love each and every one of you guys!

Talking to you and listening to your music you seem like a really chill and relaxed guy, but there was so much energy coming from that stage. Why?
Concerts are for rocking out. I think I went to more concerts than all my friends did put together growing up. So I just act on stage the way I’ve always acted in the crowd.

What was your favorite part of the whole night?
Seeing a lot of my best friends that I don’t get to see a lot: John Conyers III, Big Sean, WrighTrax, my cousin Dan Osher came from Chicago.

So it was almost like a family reunion?
Very much so.

What’s planned for the rest of 2009?
I’m coming back to Michigan this summer to record; I plan on finishing another mixtape and my album by September. So look out for a mixtape in the fall and my album in 2010. Other than that, I plan on getting out to the UK, LA, Chicago and a couple more cities.

What do you want to say to your fans and supporters?
Thanks so much for all the love and support. Hit me up on MySpace, Facebook, and follow me on Twitter. I check it personally so it might take me a minute to respond, but I will definitely get back to you.

4 Comments »

  1. Interview: Mike Posner « Alex Washington says:

    […] an interview with MichiganHipHop, he talks about G.O.O.D. Music signee and Finally Famous brethren Big Sean, how The Brain Trust […]

    January 6th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  2. Rodney says:

    Dear,mike.

    I’m a huge fan and I was wondering if I maybe can get onto j records,I can sing okay but I’m really good at rapping I’ve even written my own songs so I was just wondering if I could get on and even if I can’t can you please just email me back your biggest fan rodney

    February 4th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  3. Popping Up: Mike Posner | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on Idolator.com says:

    […] Benzi, who hosted A Matter Of Time on the Web in March of 2009. The mixtape went on to became the #1 download on iTunesU and in no time Posner was signed to J Records. Shortly after he was opening for 50 Cent, Gym Class […]

    April 12th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

  4. Popping Up: Mike Posner « Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on Idolator.com says:

    […] Benzi, who hosted A Matter Of Time on the Web in March of 2009. The mixtape went on to became the #1 download on iTunesU and in no time Posner was signed to J Records. Shortly after he was opening for 50 Cent, Gym Class […]

    September 15th, 2014 at 9:35 am

Leave a comment