When people think of Justin Bieber, a number of different opinions may come to mind. Some may still see him as the teenager who packed malls across America past their fire codes. Others might immediately associate Bieber with his girlfriend, actress/singer Selena Gomez. But for Mike Posner, the teen star is simply a “really cool kid.”
“Justin is 18 now, so the kid that I went in to the studio with is like, buddies with Lil Wayne,” Posner explained during a sit-down interview with “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “He like, skateboards with Weezy.”
So how do you convey that image to the public, while not alienating the millions of teens who adore The Biebs? Posner feels they achieved just that with “Boyfriend.”
“My goal was to make something that me and my friends could put on in the car, smoke and drive to, and chill to,” he said. “But also, not abandon this amazing and gigantic fan base that he’s built thus far.”
So Posner co-wrote and co-produced the track, which serves as the lead single from Bieber’s forthcoming album, Believe.
“I’m just honored to be a part of the Bieber project,” Posner said. “He’s such a high profile artist that he really has the opportunity to change where music is and push it in a new direction, and I think that’s exactly what he’s doing with his new album.”
Speaking of different directions and new music, Posner himself is in the midst of writing and recording his sophomore LP, Sky High. The “Cooler Than Me” singer revealed that the album is about 75 percent complete.
“The sound of the record, and the emotion of the record, and the tone of the record; I’m not rapping, I’m singing, but it grows out of hip-hop,” he said of the project. “There’s a lot of soul in the record, and there’s not a lot of synths and techno-beats.”
The album’s first single, “Looks Like Sex,” will be about as “dance-y” as the new material gets. Posner did create a track in studio with David Guetta, however that will not make the LP. The Duke University grad did note that Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, and J. Cole will all contribute to the final piece, due out before the end of the year.
Sammy Adams is ready to “blow up” and fill a void that he sees in the current pop music landscape.
“There’s not really a white pop star or singer/rapper/hybrid that really has footing like Katy Perry and Britney Spears and the female pop artists,” Adams said in a Skype interview from Miami this week. And he makes a point, although immediately when he gave that example, I thought of his record label-mate, Mike Posner.
“We are both making pop music, but he’s a little more R&B, even a little more urban, especially with some of his new records,” Adams explained, while also mentioning that he and Posner are good friends and he loves the singer’s music. “But yeah, we get compared.”
Adams, real name Samuel Adams Wisner, shares another similarity with the “Cooler Than Me” emcee: both attended college and began recording music in their dorm rooms. But while Posner graduated from Duke, Wisner ditched his political science major and soccer scholarship at Trinity College to tour the globe. He had attended college for a total of three and a half years.
“Once I started touring, my plans to get my work in…” Adams trailed off, while making a guillotine-like motion by his neck, signaling that the plans were cut off. “I was a college kid, traveling around the country, playing shows, making music that I wanted to hear; music that most college kids could relate to.”
And can still relate to. “Blow Up” is a college kid’s anthem, for every student pulling all-nighters and wondering when enough is finally enough. When Adams had enough and focused solely on music, he believes he figured out what the key to success was.
“You have to find your identity as an artist,” he advised. “It really comes down to finding out who you are, what kind of music you want to make. Yunno, these days, a lot of stuff’s changed, and you got to be able to build your fan base and really stay true to yourself.”
Adams was in Miami finishing up the recording for his major label debut album, which he says is “probably 90 percent” done. He still has a couple working titles, and is looking at a spring release on RCA Records.
This is my favorite track off The Layover, Posner’s new mixtape that he dropped on Sunday. Download it here for free!
Another single from Mike Posner’s 31 Minutes to Takeoff. The Duke grad dedicates the track to Carolyne Stevens – and via e-mail he wouldn’t tell me if she was real/if that was her actual name. However, Posner later tweeted me that he’d like to discuss on-air… hmm… dope track nonetheless.
So I was watching an episode of “Maestro Knows” the other day that featured Mr. Mike Posner. Maestro followed the artist around for a day, and the segment ended with the two in Mike’s home studio. Posner was working on a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”
I immediately reached out to Mike’s manager to see what project the song was for. Apparently Posner is not only working on a new album, but also a new mixtape. Those familiar with the Duke graduate before “Cooler Than Me” hit it big know that Posner released two free mixtapes before dropping 31 Minutes to Takeoff. This Coldplay cover will be on that compilation.
Life changes when you go platinum. But you don’t have to tell Mike Posner that. The “Cooler Than Me” crooner recently noticed that his iPod was no longer working out of the right ear. Most of us would bring the device to the Apple store – maybe some would see if a friend could fix it. But when the iPod carries a ton of unreleased tracks belonging to both yourself and others, you don’t take any chances.
The verb “destroy” might be an understatement, as photos he later sent to Twitter followers showed the iPod classic completely dismantled. Posner described how he went about dismembering the music player.
“I was in a hotel room in Cleveland, and I took the couch that was in the hotel room, and I put the iPod under it and just smashed it.”
Something says he probably did not learn that technique while studying at Duke University. Posner revealed that the iPod contained collaborations with the likes of Bruno Mars and Wiz Khalifa. His sophomore album is already about six tracks deep – although the main collaboration that everyone is talking about these days is the “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” remix featuring Lil Wayne.
“When I was making the album, working with Wayne wasn’t a possibility, because he was incarcerated,” Posner noted. “So it was one of the first songs he did when he got out and man, I just feel super blessed and honored to have somebody as talented as Wayne jump on my tracks ’cause… he’s the mother-whomping man!”
The “whomp” reference was a nod to one of Posner’s favorite cartoons, “Recess.” The Duke-grad had a chance to kick it with Weezy while shooting the single’s music video – and came away with nothing but positive comments about the Young Money emcee.
Posner is in the midst of a spring college tour. 31 Minutes to Takeoff is in stores now, and the “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” remix featuring Lil Wayne can be purchased on iTunes… even if you’ve smashed your iPod.
“All Posner, all hits” or “All killer, no filler” are two of the catchphrases Mike Posner is using to describe his highly anticipated LP, 31 Minutes to Takeoff, which drops August 10. The “Cooler Than Me” emcee keeps it as real as possible. Matter of fact, probably the only thing not authentic about the album is its cover, which was not actually shot in an airplane.
“We rented plane props,” Posner admitted backstage at Vans Warped Tour to “The Ralphie Radio Show.” He also revealed that the record is finished, but he might have to scale back on that first slogan a bit, as there are two collaborations of note on the album.
“I do have Travis Barker playing drums on a song,” Posner said. “I have background vocals sung by… guess who?”
Download the interview
Yes, the Duke University graduate turned the tables on me with a pop quiz of his own. I failed before he let me in on the correct answer: Boyz II Men.
“I had this song written and I wanted like a barbershop quartet feel to it,” explained Posner. “We reached out, sent them music, and they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re big fans.’ Within a month we were in the studio and those guys are like geniuses… that was a great experience.”
It’s been a summer full of great experiences for the Michigan-native, as his single continues to climb the charts, only raising his popularity while performing on Vans Warped Tour.
“It’s a grind, but it’s awesome man, I love grinding,” he said. “I’m doing sometimes three shows a day, so, I love it out here and I have the opportunity to meet kids all day long, and that’s the best part of the day for me.”
Posner will continue meeting and greeting fans on Warped Tour through the summer before launching on his own headlining trek this fall.