Michael Robert Henrion Posner (born February 12, 1988), better known as Mike Posner, is an American singer, songwriter, and producer. Posner released his debut album, 31 Minutes to Takeoff, on August 10, 2010. The first single from the album, “Cooler Than Me”, produced by Gigamesh, climbed the Billboard Hot 100 to reach No. 6 before going on to attain global success. He performed at Bonnaroo and the 2010 Warped Tour in the summer. A second single, “Please Don’t Go”, was issued on July 20, 2010. On February 1, 2011 Posner released a radio mix of his 3rd single, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”, which included a new verse from Lil Wayne. He is also featured in Cher Lloyd’s “With Ur Love” which released as a single on October 30, 2011. He is also known for writing and/or producing “Sugar” by Maroon 5, “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber, “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth and Emeli Sandé, as well as songs for Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Nelly, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Nick Jonas, Avicii, Austin Mahone, Big Time Rush, Iggy Azalea, Riff Raff, Olly Murs, and Rixton – just to name a few.
Early Life and Education
Posner was born and raised in Southfield, Michigan, the son of Roberta Henrion-Posner and Jon Posner, a criminal defense attorney. His father is Jewish and his mother is Catholic. Posner attended and graduated from Groves High School, where he ran varsity track and cross-country, and went on to attend Duke University. There, Posner went to Sigma Nu and graduated in 2010 with a degree in sociology and a certificate in markets and management, with an overall GPA of 3.59.
2009: Musical beginnings
Posner got his start producing his hometown friend Big Sean (both are members of the Finally Famous crew). Posner produced and was featured on Big Sean’s first mixtape on a song entitled, “Smoke & Drive”. Posner’s second mixtape, A Matter of Time (the first mixtape being Reflections of a Lost Teen) started attracting industry attention in 2009. Working with Don Cannon and DJ Benzi, the mixtape was recorded and released from his dorm room at Duke University in March 2009 under the name, “Mike Posner & the Brain Trust,” the Brain Trust referring to Posner’s supporters. The release was unusual for being distributed for free through iTunes U, a channel designed for educational audio content. Although Posner was not the only artist to take advantage of this loophole, his release was the most organized and high profile, and attracted the largest response, immediately reaching the number one position on the iTunes U chart.
2010-2011: 31 Minutes to Takeoff
Posner signed a record deal with J Records (RCA/Sony) in July 2009, after his Junior year at Duke. He chose to return to Duke after signing, and toured on the weekends while at the same time recording for his debut album. Posner’s third mixtape One Foot Out the Door was released in October. The mixtape was accompanied by a web series of the same name which aired bi-weekly from September to December. Posner’s debut album, 31 Minutes to Takeoff was released in August 2010. The first single, “Cooler Than Me” reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. He performed at music festival Bonnaroo and on the 2010 Warped Tour. The second and third singles, “Please Don’t Go” and “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” reached the top 20 and 30 on the Hot 100 respectively. The latter was released with an added verse by rapper Lil Wayne. Posner won a 2011 ASCAP Award from the publishing organization for “Cooler Than Me”.
On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Posner (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release his future material on the RCA Records brand.
2011–present: Songwriting and Pages
Posner co-wrote and provided vocals for X-Factor contestant Cher Lloyd’s second single “With Ur Love”, which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Posner co-produced and co-wrote singer Justin Bieber’s Billboard Hot 100 number 2 single “Boyfriend”, and has also been working on Labrinth’s album. He has also worked on several other artist’s albums and mixtapes; Maroon 5, Machine Gun Kelly, Iggy Azalea, Labrinth, 2 Chainz, Big Time Rush, Austin Mahone, Nelly, Cris Cab, Blackbear, Travis Porter, Rittz, Riff Raff, Timeflies, Nick Jonas, and longtime friend Big Sean.
After the release of his debut album, he began work on his second studio album under the title Sky High and released a single “Looks Like Sex” to digital outlets on December 2, 2011. However, with the success of his first album, Posner began to feel uncomfortable with being in the spotlight and struggled with depression. He took a break from making music to write and produce songs for other artists.
Posner later announced via Twitter that his next upcoming album would be titled Pages and would be released in late Summer or early June 2013. His single “The Way It Used To Be” premiered on digital outlets on June 11, 2013.
In September, it was announced that he had filmed a music video for his new single “Top of the World” which would appear on his upcoming album Pages, rumored to release sometime in 2014. The song was originally used for a Reebok campaign, and made available as a free download under the title “Tapada World” as a special remix. The song was released on December 17, 2013, featuring Big Sean, and the music video was released on December 19, 2013.
On March 4, 2014, Posner announced his new Unplugged tour. Running seven dates in major U.S. markets, the tour will highlight music new and old from the songwriter and producer’s discography, including new material from upcoming album Pages, while also giving fans a shot at learning new information from him with stories and Q&A sessions breaking up the tunes. The unplugged sets will feature little more than Posner on predominantly acoustic instruments, save for the potential live production on “a song or two” — much like, he says, how much of his music starts. Posner will begin the tour March 31 at the World Cafe in Philadelphia, before wrapping up April 10 at Los Angeles’ The Mint. The string of dates also includes a hometown show in Posner’s native Detroit — his first such show, he says, in around two years.
Studio Album: 31 Minutes To Takeoff
31 Minutes to Takeoff is the debut album by American singer Mike Posner, released on August 10, 2010. The album debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 29,000 copies. “Cooler Than Me” is certified Double Platinum. “Please Don’t Go” is certified Platinum.
Posner’s idea for the album was to make something that didn’t sound like anything that was already out. In an interview with Billboard, Posner argues: “My music doesn’t sound like anyone else’s, and it’s important for me that it stays that way”, and that “I want to make songs that will bring people together”, Posner has stated that he draws a great deal of influence for his music from his hometown “Where I grew up was a huge influence on my music.” He also said that “A lot of people have trouble putting into words what my music is, and it’s because of where I grew up”. Meanwhile, speaking to Blues & Soul about the album’s stylistic diversity, he described it as “A 21st Century album – meaning that, instead of listening to 12 different artists on your iPod, with my record you can just listen to ONE! Because every song is refreshing and different from the one before, and at the same time BETTER than the one before!”
The title of the album, 31 Minutes to Takeoff, is in fact a reference to something that occurs exactly 31 minutes into the record. As Posner himself describes it “Something happens 31 minutes into the record … All I can say is that both the listener and I will be in a higher place when it’s over”. 31 minutes into the CD, during “Synthesizer,” there is a sound of an airplane taking off.
Music and Lyrics:
Musically, 31 Minutes to Takeoff consists a blend of pop, R&B, and dance songs with heavy use of synthesizers straight out the 80’s, influences of hip hop music while also incorporating electronic music with clever hooks and catchy beats. Songs like “Please Don’t Go”, “Cooler Than Me”, and “Cheated”, are up-tempo dance songs. “Please Don’t Go” is an electropop song with an R&B infused beat and heavy-use “video game” like synths in its chorus. “Cheated” follows a similar path, with a more dance oriented beat and repetitive hook, and “Cooler Than Me”, is electropop based with nu-disco influences. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”, “Déjà Vu”, and “Do U Wanna?” are mid-tempo songs carrying R&B sounds, with “Delta 1406” following the same path with a faded beat. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” carries it’s R&B sound with a rock music feel, while “Déjà Vu” blends 90’s R&B sound with contemporary pop and features Boyz II Men on background vocals. “Do U Wanna?” is a hip hop old-school R&B song, with stax horns, whistles, over a bluesy guitar that samples Ray LaMontagne “You Are the Best Thing”. “Gone In September” is a pop acoustic-rock tune, while “Save Your Goodbye”, and “Synthesizer” are synthpop ballads.
Lyrically, the album references Posner’s personal experiences, ranging from love, and rise to fame at age 22. Its first single “Cooler Than Me” is about a girl who thinks she’s cooler than anybody, and “needs everyone’s eyes just to feel seen”. In an interview with US Weekly, Posner says the “song was inspired by a girl I went to Duke with, but she doesn’t deserve any notoriety”. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” is a song ‘to reel a women in’. “Cheated” sees Posner singing about his regret at not cheating on a former flame who cheated on him with lyrics like ’’I should have cheated on you / I was everything you wanted and more / I should have cheated on you / nobody told me I was dating a whore’’, while later calls out his ex by name. “Gone In September”, a song about Posner breaking up with a woman. “Delta 1406” is a song about Posner current rise to fame, written on his way back home to Detroit in the flight (he sat in seat 6A), after spending 5 months in Los Angeles, “I’ve got to book hotels for my Detroit shows” says Posner as a reflection of what he was dealing with at the time. “Please Don’t Go” shows Posner begging a girl to stay. Mike Posner opened up to Amaru Wilcox (AmaruDonTV.com) in an interview about a very sensitive topic to him: depression. Mike explained his relationship with depression and how he masked it in a song called “Save Your Goodbye”. “I’m writing a letter to my depression. I’ve struggled with depression, you know, all my life. And I kind of masked this letter through making it sound like it’s a song about a girl I have a crush on that I can’t get out of my head. But in reality I’m talking about something different” he explains.