Back in 2009 while running the Mercury label at Island Def Jam Records, I heard a very intriguing early version of the song “Cooler Than Me” and saw some compelling raw videos of the young artist/Duke student Mike Posner performing in front of adoring crowds and revealing a striking originality. He came into our offices, baseball cap, baggy jeans, tons of attitude and very much a star in terms of his confidence and his completely original musical point of view. I badly wanted to sign Mike but lost out to another label.
His new label turned “Cooler Than Me” into a major worldwide hit and Mike’s major debut album 31 Minutes To Takeoff connected also, but then Mike seemed to consciously disappear as an artist.
I knew he was still writing great songs and I always pursued him to at least write for our artists. He had a string of hits that others performed including Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”, Emeli Sandé’s “Beneath Your Beautiful”, and Maroon 5’s Sugar, but I remained a major fan of Mike the artist. Last year at an event we held for Nick Jonas, Mike unexpectedly jumped on the piano in front of us all and spontaneously performed two magical songs: the unforgettable “Buried in Detroit” and “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” It was as if by some mystical energy, everyone ended up singing softly with Mike the refrain of “Ibiza”… “All I know is sad songs, sad songs.
“Sometimes when Mike performs acoustically like this, the world stops. He is naked emotionally to the world, revealing himself with soul, humility, and an exceptional emotional resonance. We were all captivated and I resolved to find away to work with him which came to pass when he signed to Island earlier this year. Since then, the real Mike, the passionately committed songwriter and sometimes autobiographer, has crafted an exceptional album which will, I believe, stand out to music lovers as an outstanding body of work, with perfect lyrics, haunting melodies, the embodiment of his simple truth and his unique voice.
He has come a long way from the hip hop student turned rock star and presents now more closely to a legend like early Elton John and greats such as Neil Young.