The day before Dillo Day, North by Northwestern got to catch up with Mike Posner, who was in Chicago at the time. The performer and Duke University junior talked about how he got started, what he likes most about performing and his plans for Dillo Day.
What are your expectations for the concert tomorrow?
I’m expecting a half hour of mayhem. I can’t wait to be on stage. It’s going to be really, really fun, I promise.
What are you studying at Duke?
I’m a sociology and business major.
Do you have any plans to do anything in either of those fields?
[Laughs] No, absolutely not.
How’d you end up choosing to be a sociology and business major?
I don’t know, I was just interested in them. I use the stuff I learn in class for sure, but I’m not going to be a sociology professor –- at least I don’t think.
How did your music career get started?
Basically I started out playing the drums when I was in fifth grade. When I was 15 or 14, I started making beats and producing for other people. And I kept producing until about a year and a half ago. I got started giving all my ideas away, […] so I started singing.
How did you find your sound that you’ve described as “pop music that rappers like”?
I guess my music is just a product of the environment I grew up in and the people I’m around. I was very lucky to grow up in a super diverse area and a school where there were really uber rich kids and also uber poor kids, and was really racially diverse. And also the music I listened [like Led Zeppelin, Jay Z, Elton John, Paul Simon] to growing up was also really diverse. So I think my music mashes all that up and mashes all the people in my life up.
What is your favorite part about performing?
Just interacting with the people and the fans, man. And crowd surfing.
What is the most challenging part about being a performer?
I don’t know, man, it’s pretty fun. All of it is pretty fun. I guess I don’t get to sleep as much as other people. But it’s worth it.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I met Jay-Z like a month ago, that was cool. [laughs]
What do you have planned for future projects and after you graduate?
I’ll probably be coming out with another mixtape in the fall and I’m also working on my album right now, which will probably come out sometime next year.
What’s going to be different about this new album from the mixtapes?
There will be less covers and remixes of other people’s stuff on it.
Do you prefer one over the other?
I like to perform my own stuff. The covers I do are not really like covers, they’re more like remixes, like, I put my own twist on people’s songs. But I like to perform my version of stuff. I think the crowd does too, usually.
Do you know what you’re going to do tomorrow before performing?
I’m just going to go wherever Zack [Johnson] takes me. When I come to schools I don’t like to stay in hotels. I try to stay with a student, usually, and meet all the kids and party with all the kids because that’s the best part about performing at schools. So I have a couple friends who go here so I’m just going to let them show me around.
Any final words before tomorrow?
Be there at 3:45. I’m super duper excited and it’s going to be awesome. And I’m singing with Big Sean, and he’s super duper excited as well.