Singer-songwriter Mike Posner talks about his music career and new album

With his radio hit “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” the spotlight has fallen back upon Mike Posner, whose newest album At Night, Alone is set to release May 6, approximately six years after his first radio hit “Cooler Than Me” came out. To Posner, those six years have been filled with constant songwriting. The Daily Trojan conducted a interview with Posner about how he, as a student at Duke University, came to produce music as his profession.

Daily Trojan: Coming from a collegiate background, how did music play a part of your educational career, especially when it was not your field of study?

Mike Posner: First of all, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I recorded my first mixtape, A Matter of Time, in my dorm room at Duke University. The only time that the dorms were quiet enough to record vocals was 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., when everyone else went out to party. Those were my golden hours. I think a lot of my friends thought I was weird because I spent so much time in my room making music but that mattered little to me. I’ve always just loved recording and making beats. I recorded my first hit song, “Cooler Than Me”, on a $200 microphone in my dorm room on software I’d stolen off the internet. I released that song and the mixtape in March of my junior year. My friends and I told everyone we could about my music via Facebook. By finals week of that year, I was playing shows at other colleges, and Jay-Z flew me to NYC and offered me a record deal. There’s probably some USC student reading this who is more talented than I. I hope this story can be just a tiny bit of encouragement on their path. I mean that. That’s the point of this interview and this long, meandering answer.

DT: Six years have gone by since the release of 31 Minutes to Takeoff, and now you’re getting ready to release At Night, Alone May 6. What did that hiatus look like and what prompted you to make a musical comeback? How did you come up with At Night, Alone?

MP: It wasn’t an intentional hiatus. I made two records, “Sky High” and “Pages,” which were shelved by my former record label. My singles were selling poorly, and they couldn’t justify investing any more money into my project so the albums never came out. In the music industry my career was largely considered to be over. All the while, I was still writing and recording music for my fans. I released an EP called the The Truth last year and then a talented Norwegian duo, SeeB remixed my song “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” Now they play this remix on the radio. My phone rings more. Girls smile at me more often now. People tell me, “Welcome back.” I’ve been myself the whole time, so for me I never went anywhere. I wake up in the morning, I do stuff, and then at night I go to sleep. It’s kind of the same thing as it was before my “comeback.” It’s just life. You’re living one too, you know what it’s like. I feel all the same emotions that you do: the love, the uncertainty, the compassion, the moments of being, the pain, the suffering, the fatigue, the wonder and the mystery of what it all means.

DT: Many people don’t know this about you, but you’ve co-written other radio hits by famous artists and bands like “Sugar” by Maroon 5 and “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber. What is it like to collaborate with another artist and contribute to their success?

MP: I like when people hear the songs I write. I usually write between 50 and 100 songs per year but I can only put 10-20 on an album. So it’s nice to have another avenue to share. I like Justin Bieber. I like Adam Levine. They are very talented, and they are very nice.