Mike Posner first gained his claim to fame with summer hit "Cooler than Me" in 2010, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, but fell into lukewarm after his follow-up "Please Don't Go." The 28-year-old singer-songwriter since penned tunes for Maroon 5 ("Sugar") and Justin Bieber ("Boyfriend"), but was not back on our radar in a big way until this year with his single, "I Took a Pill in Ibiza." We chat with him about staying honest.
You’ve been really open in recent interviews — discussing your sophomore slump, and albums getting scrapped by RCA, to even the origins of "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" which is about being at a low point — what’s led you to be so honest?
I found it exhausting to delineate between what I could share with people and what I couldn’t. Before, I had this line in my head, like if I was in conversation with you right now, I’d just be thinking, “Can I tell her this or not or is that supposed to be private?” I was trying to curate myself to only show people the part of me.
Is it true you turned down Avicii’s offer to produce the track?
He was one of the first people to hear it. We’ve been working together for years, and he’s always been a supporter of my stuff. We were on his last album, and I said, “Oh I just wrote this,” and he was like, “Man, I’ve always been a fan of your stuff, but this is one of the best songs you’ve ever written.” We talked about possibly doing it for his album, but as I wrote more songs in the similar vein, I figured out I was writing the Mike Posner album. So I said, “I’d really like to keep a version of this for my record,” and he was cool with it.
Is there a moral to “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”?
I wouldn’t say that there’s a moral, and if there is, it’s not my job to say what it is. It’s the listener’s job. I was just trying to write a song that’s honest and truthful, I never thought it would ever be played on the radio. It’s like, you don’t dance to get a spot on the floor, and you don’t meditate to get done meditating — and I don’t write songs to teach people how to make money, or do interviews with Metro. The reward is the process, and if a song helps someone learn from it or process something in their life than that’s great, too.
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What can you tell us about the album coming out this spring?
I can tell you that I’m very proud of it, and it was a very different experience for me. I come from a hip hop background. Since 13, I’ve been making beats and recording myself, but with this album, I tried to produce [songs] the same way, but they all felt the all wrong. I had this sound in my head and I found myself recording with a live band in Detroit instead. At one point, we had a 30 piece orchestra in the studio, and just all these magical things I never thought I’d be able to do musically. It’s my weird dark singer-songwriter album.
If you go:
March 18 at 8 p.m.
The Marlin Room at Webster Hall
125 E. 11 St.
Sold out, websterhall.com