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 lukewarmafter his follow-up "Please Don't Go."The 28-year-old singer-songwriter since penned tunes for Maroon 5 ("Sugar") andJustin 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 alow 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.
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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