GlobalGrind sat down with Mike to chit-chat with him about his most recent mixtape The Layover, as well as the secret behind his creative success.
GlobalGrind: Who’s been your favorite person to work with?
Mike Posner: I feel so grateful when everyone asks that question because I think about everyone I’ve worked with. The names that I get to go through are Bruno Mars, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, just ridiculously awesome people who I’m gonna tell my grandkids about.
But my favorite to work with is Big Sean because we were homies before either one of us were signed. He’s someone that believed in me before anyone else did, so there’s a dynamic when we’re making music that can’t be duplicated. Artists become friends along the way. Sean made it to the mountaintop of who was my friend first to the point where I help him write his raps and he helps me write my hooks. That’s how it works. We always do songs together.
Another thing with us is that we’re kinda like brothers in the respect that we’re competitive, but we love each other. When I see him doing really well, I couldn’t be happier for him. I almost cry sometimes when I see him on 106 & Park. But then it motivates me to make better music and work extra hard and take care of my sh*t as well.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I have a very wide spectrum of stuff that I grew up listening to. Some of my early musical memories are attached to grunge. I had a big sister who let me listen to Nirvana behind my parents’ back. When I started picking out music for myself, I was a hip-hop kid. DMX, The Roots, Outkast, people like that. I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music. But what I try to do is combine these things in ways that others would never think of, like putting Bun B on an Elton John song. That’s some G sh*t that no one else has done.
Do you think there’s a lack of creativity and the people who are creative are pushed to the side?
I think the line between the indie and commercial is often more superficial than you think. There’s a band called Temper Trap. They’re an awesome Australian band. In the U.S., they’re considered indie, but in Australia they’re a commercial success. It depends on how it’s presented. I still feel like artists like Ke$ha, if she didn’t put out an album and put out mixtapes and wasn’t signed to a label, she could be a really big hipster. Her sh*t could really work in an indie way. She could’ve been a hipster girl. But she’s huge and has hits. It’s the way that it’s presented.
My goal is always to make good music for as many people as I could and bring people together with my music. A lot of people are scared of the word commercial. I make better mixtapes than most peoples’ albums. I’m not scared of having hits. I love to go to Australia and see people sing my songs and see people smile when they sing them. I’m not afraid of commercial success, but I feel like it’s a balancing act.
Was singing something that you enjoyed?
No. I used to rap when I was really young. And then I started singing two years ago. One of the first things I recorded was “Cooler Than Me.” I was making this in my dorm room. But I had this idea that since I love hip-hop so much, and if I could sing what a rapper would say, that’d be really dope. No one is doing that. That’s my lane.
When were you sure that this was going to work?
When Big Sean told me he loved “Cooler Than Me” and my mom told me she loved “Cooler Than Me.” Then I knew I did something right. Because they have never agreed before.
So you thought ‘I’m going to start singing’?
I didn’t ask anybody. I just started singing. Probably one of the first things I sang on was a track on Big Sean’s first mixtape called “Smoke and Drive”. I was sending him beats and think of choruses like a lot of producers do. So it snowballed from there.
If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three albums with you, what would they be?
Aquemini, Aquemini, and Aquemini. (Outkast) That’s my favorite. Andre is my favorite.
Do you have any celebrity crushes?
It used to be Natalie Portman, but now she’s married. I need a new one. The one I love the most but would never pursue because she’s married is Paula Patton. She’s so gorgeous. And Halle Berry.
What’s your favorite thing to do besides making music?
Basketball. I’m an Iverson fan, but not a 76ers fan. I’m more of an outside shooter. Deadly from the 3 point range.
Who are your top 5 rappers in the game right now?
Big Sean, Andre 3000, Drake, Lil Wayne. Dead? I gotta throw Big L in there. And overall Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye, Andre, and Nas.