Welcome to the monthly series where I write about the ideas and inspiration behind the Spotify playlists I release on the first of every month. There tends to be a personal story behind each of these, so I’ve committed to some friends, readers and myself to use this space to practice leaving my ego behind to make room for vulnerability. It’s scary being so forthcoming on the Internet, where strangers, friends and coworkers alike all reside, but I keep coming back time after time because of the responses I get from people saying thank you for writing about things that typically aren’t talked about openly. Thank YOU all for letting me open up and get real through good times and bad, time after time. On we go.
As I was working on February’s playlist in January, things all seemed to come crashing down once again.
What I hoped would be a month of new beginnings presented itself as a month of unforeseen endings. If you’re able, bear with me through this story; it’s longer than the average. But at the end of it, I hope you’ll feel a closer connection to this music, to me, and to the theme of finding change and turning points when they’re least expected.
You may not have seen Mike Posner around a lot lately, but his sound is still shaping pop radio nonetheless. Working behind the scenes and penning hit songs like Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” Posner has proven to be relevant even when his own music has been repeatedly shelved. Now, with a long-awaited sophomore album finally on the way, the Dukie who made it big off “Cooler Than Me” is staging a comeback.
As part of his rebirth, Posner has been hitting the road and holding surprise pop-up concerts across the U.S. affectionately called “Ninja Shows.” Last night, Mike made a pit stop in Chicago’s beautiful Lincoln Park, strumming new songs and old hits alike to one of the best views of the city’s skyline.
The set was extremely intimate (there were maybe just north of 100 in attendance) and a bit awkward (people jogging and doing lunges nearby), but you couldn’t help but get a taste of magic in the air. Mike was honest and authentic. He was was close enough to reach out and touch; close enough to hear without monitors or an amp. And whether he was doing a verse a capella or taking photos and giving out hugs after the show, Mike Posner was as entertaining and genuine as ever, as if he had never missed a beat.
Listen to four cuts from Posner’s upcoming album below.
This past week, Mike Posner released an EP called “The Truth.” Most know Mike Posner as the artist behind the hit song “Cooler Than Me,” which made it all the way to #6 on Billboard Top 100. He’s also the co-writer of Maroon 5’s hit song “Sugar,” which has made it to #2 on the same list. But there’s a lot that people don’t know about Mike Posner, and he’s written that story for us in this latest EP, which he plans to turn into a full album. For now, the 4 songs on this EP can be streamed for free below. They’ll be available for purchase on iTunes on June 22nd.
If you’ve followed Sunset closely or long enough, you’ll likely know that Mike and I were friends in college and you can assume that this EP is a really groundbreaking one in my mind. To fill everybody in and to give clear context around my thoughts on the EP, I have to tell the story of Mike’s and my friendship. [Hit the jump after the audio player to continue reading.]
Mike Posner emailed me about a new official single he released, and as soon as I pressed play, I nearly started my official #Thicke Blurred Lines booty-poppin dance. Tell me you didn’t get that same feeling when the song started! It turns out to be quite a bit different than Robin Thicke‘s single, but it’s still got that poppy vibe that will easily get airtime on the radio. Who wants to make a bet about how quickly this will have a rap feature added to it? I give it two months, MAX. Good stuff, Mike. Sticking to the basics rather than trying to manipulate the voice and get a little too weird. Hit the jump for the full lyrics for The Way It Used To Be.
Though I don’t always condone the sound of Mike Posner‘s voice on a song like this, the production of this song and the lyrics were too meaningful to me right now to pass up posting. Having known Mike since 2006, it’s pretty neat to see how far he’s come. The first time I heard about him was when I read a piece in the Duke campus newspaper; apparently there was a new freshman on campus who had set up a mini-studio in his dorm room. He had grown up making hip hop music in Michigan. I was intrigued. I looked up his MySpace page, and found he had released a mixtape called Reflections of a Lost Teen and he had some really legitimate music. Not long after, Mike and I became friends, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Through the years, I’ve seen Mike go from a shy, quiet guy who liked spending most of his time making music to a fraternity member who was discovered that he could make music through a campus label. People heard some of his songs like “Smoke and Drive” with Big Sean and some other friends from home, and they realized Mike had talent. Soon enough, people started showing up for some of his shows. It seemed to trigger a reaction with him that he could make something out of this growing Duke crowd. He started making more of his own music, and before we knew it, he wrote “Cooler Than Me” with another Duke student, Eric Holljes. After that came a full mixtape (A Matter of Time), which really caught on with the students on campus. When Mike would throw a show, it was packed.
The best part about the whole rise to where he is today is that it was grassroots from the beginning. Word of mouth and social media were everything. Mike’s second mixtape, One Foot Out the Door, turned more heads, and he was starting to get recognized by labels. I remember the day when I saw Mike in the New York Times after he was signed to J Records. I was a senior that year; Mike was only a junior. Thinking back on it, I remember a hot summer night when I told Mike he was going to make it big someday. He humbly responded that he wasn’t sure he wanted to make it big.
I went through a phase where it irked me that Mike strayed from his original path so much. Mike used to be the quiet guy who only wore sweatpants, black t-shirts, and sandals with socks around campus. He alluded to that in a lot of his songs, and said that would always be “him.” In all honesty, it made me mad that the industry was able to turn Mike into somebody he always said he didn’t want to be. But with time, I realized that this was good for Mike. Really good. So when this song came out, it all made perfect sense.
I remember when I told my mom the record label really loved my song. She told me Mike stop smoking weed. Now she sees me on the TV. I’d like to propose a toast to the future. Here’s a toast to the past. Grab a glass I’ma turn this bottle upside down, to my homies and my mama, hope I’m making you proud. Here’s a toast to right now.
I’m proud of you, Mike. And so happy for how far you’ve come. People grow with time, and they change. It’s probably for the best that you got out of your sweatpants at some point anyway, right? And sandals and socks were never a good luck. You rocked it, though. But in all seriousness, you’re really making a name for yourself, and I couldn’t be happier for you. Keep up the work, buddy. I’ll raise my glass to you. Here’s a toast to today and all the days to come.
Mike Posner sent me a link to the next remix he put out today and as soon as I saw the lineup on the song, I got all jittery inside. I knew it would be a fun one, but was worried about it sampling Started From The Bottom. I was relieved when I heard that it sounds very little like Drake’s own “Started From The Bottom,” as it’s really minimalist piano as the instrumental. The song then builds into a full band collaboration, which is really fun to watch in the video (featured after the jump). This is a really fun one, and it sounds like they had fun putting it together. One thing I’d ask for is a bit more from Asher Roth, but hopefully Mike and Asher will do a collaboration in the future. Also, I have to say, I love the “Hey Ma” cover section thrown in there. My first listen was a bit mindless as I was doing work simultaneously, and all the sudden I was rapping along, wondering how the hell I already knew the lyrics. It took me a minute, but I figured it out. A little slow today, it seems.
Hit the jump to see the music video!
Mike Posner has been dropping a fair amount of music lately. This time around, he remixes Ed Sheeran’s famous tune, The A Team.
With his own touch, Mikey turns The A Team into his own and does a fairly good job. Solid remix.
Whether you’re back at school for the spring semester, or if you’re just pregaming with some friends before heading out for the night, my man Clinton Sparks (aided by Mike Posner) has a nice little treat for you. In addition to his smooth “IDKurName” track, the video will help keep you on your toes next time you go out to the bar, I’ll just leave it at that.
I really wish it was that easy to get a drink at the bars, though. Man.
Mike Posner just released this remix of The Lumineers’s most famous single, “Ho Hey.” I have to be honest, I’m not much of a fan, because it sounds way too produced and Mike’s voice doesn’t fit the song, but I will admit that when the chorus hits, the beat is incredibly catchy. That said, I’m a huge fan of The Lumineers, and I think this is one of those songs that should remain untouched. But hey, it happened. What do yall think?
Our guy, Mike Posner, recruits good friend and Cleveland native, King Chip, for this acoustic track for the holidays.
It’s 8pm Dec 22nd and I just got back to Detroit. My Dad picked me up from the airport. My sister is cooking dinner and yelling at me for already having my headphones on. My Mom is on her way home from work. These words can’t express how grateful I am for my family and friends. Everyday I wake up and can’t believe my life is real. Hopefully this song can be part of the soundtrack to your prosperity and happiness in 2013.
Mike Posner wrote this song yesterday following the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. It hurts to think about what happened yesterday, but Mike says it pretty well: Maybe this will make sense in Heaven, cuz right now it don’t make sense at all.
This song and post are dedicated to the families of the December 14th tragedy. The world is on your side.
“Heaven” – Mike Posner
Download Mike Posner Heaven
I got a call from Mike Posner today letting me know he released a new song. He didn’t tell me many details, but asked if I’d listen to it and see if it was worth posting. As soon as I wrapped up at work, I sat down to give it a listen and at first glance, I got nervous because it featured Snoop Dogg (er, Lion?). If you know me well enough, you likely know that I think Snoop Dogg (Lion) hasn’t put out respectable music for about a decade. Nevertheless, I gave it a spin, and I loved it. Heavy beats, classic rhymesong from Mike Posner, and a jam that caps off my beerpong buzz perfectly. We have our company holiday party tomorrow night – best believe this song is going to be on the pregame tracklist.