Mike Posner in conversation with FAULT Online


Mike Posner trades in dance music for an acoustic guitar with his new 4-song EP  – “The Truth”





It’s been a while since we last heard of Mike Posner. The Detroit-based multi-platinum singer, songwriter and producer has been spending his time writing and producing with Justin Bieber, Maroon 5 and FAULT Issue 21 cover star Nick Jonas, all while working on his own music. His new EP entitled ‘The Truth’ is an acoustic self-confession, with lyrics “I get along with old timers/ Cause my name’s a reminder of a pop song people forgot.” It plays like a diary, a voyeuristic peek into the creative mind of Posner. Nothing is sugarcoated and everything is out in the open. In terms of songwriting, it doesn’t get more honest than this. We caught up with the singer earlier this week and here’s his side of the story.

Let’s talk a bit your early days. You’ve been passionate about music since you were 8 years old. What started you off? 

Well, I was interested in hip-hop music when I was a kid. Actually, even before that, my big sister, 6 years older than me, used to play Nirvana to me, Pearl Jam and stuff like that. And then she left the house and I stumbled upon hip-hop music. Afterwards, I started to write my own little raps and that’s how I first got into writing music.

You started your producing career with Big Sean. What’s your story with him?

My story with him is that I used to intern at a radio station in Detroit and that’s how we met. I started to produce songs and make beats for Sean and we became closer and closer. He’d come over to my mom’s house and he eventually made me part of his crew. I was 18 at the time. When I started doing my own music, when I was singing a rap, if you will, and I made my first mix tape, Sean believed in me. He’s a good friend and I love him and I feel very grateful that he helped me get to where I am. He’s the reason I am where I’m at right now.

Apart from your own music, you’ve written for a lot of artists as well. You’re the name behind Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend, Maroon 5’s Sugar and many others. What’s the main difference, for you personally, when writing for others as opposed to writing for yourself? 

There isn’t any difference at all.  I’m constantly thinking about what I want to hear and listen. Typically, I’m always writing for myself and then later I decide if I want to get involved in a project. I don’t really know how to write for others, I just go with what sounds good to me and go from there. Sometimes I have to change some words here and there to make it sound less about me, but it works out.

Well, it worked well with Maroon 5’s Sugar.  I read a story that you wrote it for yourself initially and then it was just sitting on your laptop so you decided to pass it on to them afterwards. Is that how it happened?

I didn’t write it myself, I co-wrote it with a couple of buddies and then Adam (Levine) added his twist, so he wrote on the song as well. I’m really glad that happened cause I feel really grateful to have a song with Maroon 5.

Sound-wise, your new songs are vastly different to what you’ve done in the past. You’ve said before that they’re like “your own take on country music”. What made you shift from dance music to a more acoustic sound? 

It’s just sort of what I’m listening to right now. When I was writing, I was just focusing on what I like as a music lover. When I was doing dance music, I’d give my take on dance music or when I was doing hip-hop I’d give my take on that. I’m not interested in having just one sound over and over again.  I like exploring things and doing the kind of music that I want to hear.  And obviously, that changes for me, as I change and grow up. That’s how it should be; it shouldn’t sound the same as when I was 21 because that would mean that I have not changed since.

“Cooler than me” received a lot of attention when it got released and everything escalated for you, career wise, from that point onwards. Did you feel a lot of pressure to keep that level up?

There was a lot of pressure, especially since I was so young. I thought that people would only love me if I was the 21 version of myself, but then I realized that most of my fans just wanted to support me. They wanted me to grow and to do more music, so that kind of shifted everything. Over time, I learned how to dissociate who I am from where I’m at in the charts, from how many people love me and so on. So yeah, to answer your question, I did put a lot of pressure on myself at first, but it didn’t serve my happiness or me. I like to think that I’ve learned to see what really matters and what makes me happy. That’s more important.

Many people believe that topping the charts is all you need nowadays in the music industry while others feel that success is the enemy of growth. What is your personal take on that? 

I think that’s actually my quote haha. Well, I think that success can be the enemy of growth, but my success has helped me grow, in some way. But in another way, you usually get trapped up in things that don’t really matter. So I would say that I’m somewhere in the middle.

Let’s talk a bit about your new EP, “The Truth”. It’s by far one of the most honest pieces I’ve listened to lately. Was it hard for you to open up like that?

People ask me that a lot. I actually found it easier to hide nothing than to have secrets. I used to only wanna show the public the parts of myself that I thought would be interesting. And that’s fucking exhausting because every social interaction, every interview, every performance had to be acted out in my head. It’s so much easier to just show everything. Ironically, I feel much stronger because there’s nothing to hide.

What can we expect from the album? Is there something in particular you want people to take from your new music? 

I don’t know if there’s any prescribed goal that you should take away from the album.  I’ve just written the music that I want to hear.  That’s sort of not my job, to tell people what to take from the album. It’s my job to make the music and I’m sure there are going to be many different things that people take from it, I don’t want to limit that. But I will say that the album needs to be enjoyed the same way it was written, at night and alone, from the first listen.

What’s your FAULT? 

One that pops into my head is being selfish.  After living in my own sort of little world, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of empathy, along with the ability to see from other’s point of view.



Words: Adina Ilie