Posner gets personal at SHU concert
For the first time in over three years, Seton Hall hosted a long-awaited on-campus concert on Nov. 6 featuring Detroit singer-songwriter Mike Posner for a crowd more personal than your typical house party. In front of a group so small that it was possible to be at the front and the back of the audience simultaneously, the charismatic Posner commanded the room and interacted with the students as if he was performing at Giants Stadium.
Posner said that recently at Purdue University, in a fraternity house basement, his performance was packed with at least 400 kids-so many dancing bodies that the ceilings were dripping.
“I ended up crowd surfing with my shirt off, singing,” Posner said, adding that on his way out, he passed four stretchers of people who were hurt because of how rowdy the show was.
A musician since the age of 13, and the writer and producer of his own tracks, Posner said that he’s had so many live shows that nerves aren’t a problem because he knows what he is capable of as a performer. And what this 21-year-old Duke senior is capable of is far beyond what the average student would ever attempt to take onto their plate.
Backstage from the Main Lounge in the University Center, Posner settled in for his first meal since waking up from an evening flight into JFK. Posner is used to eating at odd times in strange cities with a schedule he calls a crazy one. His life is consistently packed with class and schoolwork deadlines on the weekdays, and traveling and performing at sometimes two or three different colleges on the weekends.
“It’s getting to the point where my professors are getting fed up,” Posner said jokingly, while trying earnestly to log onto the SHU Web server to send in some homework for his Hip-Hop Appreciation class. Deadlines aren’t the only thing this young pop singer is missing back at Duke; his friends and housemates are the most difficult thing for him to leave behind.
“They give me a hard time in general,” Posner said about his friend’s feelings toward his underground fame. “Even if I ask them to change the channel, they’ll be like ‘Ok, Hollywood.'”
Despite his friend’s jabs, the grounded Posner doesn’t feel like a celebrity, or that he is in some way better than those who help him get to where he is.
“Just because my job is cool doesn’t make me better than you,” Posner said. “I owe a lot to a lot of people.”
Ever since growing up in the Detroit suburbs, while playing the drums and making music in his basement with all of his neighborhood friends, Posner had always known that music would be in his future, stating emphatically that it gets him through life.
The soft spoken Posner smiled and his eyes lit up when asked where he is going next, saying without pause “to the top of the world.”
“I’m going to carve out my own path fighting for my legacy,” Posner said, adding that his goal is to have his legacy outlast him. And with two free number-one mix-tapes on iTunes within 10 months of each other, weekends packed with college campus tours around the country, and music moguls like Jay-Z fighting to get Posner signed on their record labels, it may be only a matter of time before that legacy starts.
Posner wound up signing with J Records though, and anticipates his first full-length album release in 2010, with another fresh dose of what Posner calls “pop music without the guilt.” Between his first mix-tape release “A Matter of Time” last January, and his latest release “One Foot out the Door,” the growth in his lyricism and vocals is dramatic.
“If you can’t hear the difference on my new CD I don’t know what you’re smoking,” Posner said with a laugh.
While his first release featured songs about drug dealers and smoking while driving, there are no drug references in this latest release.
“I don’t need drugs to be creative,” Posner said, instead drawing on other personal experiences for inspiration. In fact, Posner has a brand new source of inspiration in most of his songs: women. Posner’s lyrics about women are never derogatory or objectifying, which Posner credits to the fact that he was “raised right.”
“I’m a sucker for love,” Posner said, calling himself a “relationship guy” and revealing another aspect of college life that he is missing out on.
“I want a girlfriend and I really can’t have a relationship, so that sucks.” Considering he had a flight the next day to perform another show at Claremont McKenna College in California, don’t feel too bad for him.
Sebastian Zar of the Jewish Student Union organized the Seton Hall concert himself and considered the show a success regardless of the lack of ticket sales.
“I looked at it in a way that the people that were there, even though it might have been a lower number, were all singing along and having the time of their lives,” Zar said. “Mike is the type of artist that can get any crowd going and he will dominate a show regardless of the size.”
Zar found it hard to believe that Posner even performed at Seton Hall.
“In a few months, people are going to realize how big of a deal it was because not a lot of people do now,” he said.
Time will only prove this prediction right if Posner keeps creating the infectious pop music that has touched so many of his fans already.
Hailey Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.