What We Discuss with Mike Posner:
- Can two grown men who went to rival high schools as teenagers make nice on a podcast?
- How experiencing fame and fortune forced Mike Posner to reexamine his values — and why he’s glad it happened to him early in life.
- How Mike’s lifestyle changed from a focus on fame, money, and materialism to one centered around self-care, creativity, and motivation.
- Why Mike looks at success and failure as waves that tend to follow one another — not states of guaranteed permanence.
- Is Mike walking from sea to shining sea on his own two feet in an effort to prove that this Groves Falcon is way better than any Seaholm Maple could ever be?
- And much more…
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I’ve always wondered what it’s like to hit widespread fame and fortune early on in life, and today’s guest, Mike Posner, has done just that. He’s written hits such as I Took a Pill in Ibiza, which has billions of plays on various platforms. He’s also written for other artists from Maroon 5 to Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg to Avicii.
But fame has had an interesting effect on Mike. Once he got it, he realized he didn’t need it, and ended up in a bit of a funk that motivated him to change his entire life from how he lived to what he valued — and, perhaps more important, what he didn’t value any longer. Now he’s taking a break from the limelight for a 3,000-mile walk across the United States. Why? Listen to, learn from, and enjoy this episode to find out!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
In spite of going to a rival high school in my home town, there’s no denying that Mike Posner is a nice guy. Which is why I feel bad that he’s had to delay his planned walk across the United States until his broken pinkie toe can heal. He explains this coast-to-coast trek has been on his bucket list forever, and recent deaths among family and friends have reminded him that it’s easy to let such lists go unfinished without applying some sense of urgency to their completion.
“It’ll take eight, nine months-ish,” says Mike, “but there’s no real way to tell…from Asbury Park, New Jersey — the Atlantic Ocean — to Venice Beach, California — the Pacific Ocean.”
This undertaking was blessed by none other than Tom “Run, Forrest! Run!” Hanks, himself — who by some serendipitous turn of events happened to be attending a party where Mike wound up one night.
“He said: ‘That’s just great!’ It’s destined for success now.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Mike feels about writing music for other artists versus writing for himself, the upside of not being as famous as many of his friends, why Mike chose not to pursue a career in hip hop in spite of dominating many a rap battle in his day, how Mike arrived at finding his own unique musical style, what Mike did to gain publicity traction when he was just starting out, how honest criticism from Kanye West-inspired rather than discouraged Mike to make more music, how Jay Z ruined Mike’s academic aspirations, further details of Mike’s casual 3,000-mile stroll across the United States, and much more.
THANKS, MIKE POSNER!
If you enjoyed this session with Mike Posner, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Mike Posner’s Website
- Mike Posner at Spotify
- Mike Posner at YouTube
- Mike Posner at Facebook
- Mike Posner at Instagram
- Mike Posner at Twitter
- Run Across America, Forrest Gump
- Wylie E. Groves High School
- Ernest W. Seaholm High School
- I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix) by Mike Posner
- How to Have More Engaging Conversations — with Jordan Harbinger, Noah Kagan Presents
- Mike Posner on Spending the Summer with Biebs and Writing Rhymes for Big Sean by Casey Lewis, Teen Vogue
- Bow Wow (That’s My Name) ft. Snoop Dogg by Lil’ Bow Wow
- Vanilla Ice: Amish Farmer? by Andy Wright, Modern Farmer
- Hot 107.5, Detroit
- Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner
- Flight Club: Sneakers. Here.
- DatPiff: The Authority in Free Mixtapes
- What is iTunes U? Free College Courses from Top Universities by Matt Breed, Money Crashers
- Inside a Kanye West Tour: “Glow in the Dark” Photos, Backstage Tales by Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone
- Mike Posner Talks About The Time He Met Jay Z In College by Anna Oseran, Genius
- David Goggins: How to Become the Toughest Man Alive by Louis Chew, Constant Renewal
- Who Knows feat. Big Sean by Mike Posner
- Mike Posner and Blackbear Are Turning Heads With Their New Duo, Mansionz by Sarah Purkrabek, L.A. Weekly
- Move On by Mike Posner
Transcript for Mike Posner | 31 Minutes to the Other Side of Fame (Episode 168)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFilippo. I've always wondered what it's like to hit widespread fame and fortune early on in life and today's guest, Mike Posner has done just that. He's written hits such as I Took a Pill in Ibiza, which has billions of plays on various platforms. He's also written for a lot of other artists like Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Avicii, but fame has had an interesting effect on Mike. Once he got it, he realized he didn't need it and he ended up in a little bit of a funk that motivated him to change his entire life from how he lived to what he valued and perhaps most importantly, what he didn't value any longer. This is an episode that spans from fame, money, and materialism to self-care or creativity and motivation, with a few crazy stories thrown in for good measure.
[00:00:51] I really enjoyed meeting Mike. He's from my hometown, so we grew up in the exact same area and getting to know him better was really a pleasure and I think you'll enjoy this inside look at an industry and insight into a human as well. If you're wondering how I managed to book all of these amazing, great guests, manage my circle of friends, manage my circle of business contacts, I've got systems, I've got tiny habits, I've got consistency and I've hacked this system. I want to teach you how to do it for free. Check out our Six Minute Networking Course. It replaces LevelOne by the way. That's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Now enjoy this conversation with Mike Posner. So I was going to ask you about how your walk is going, but you're here with a freaking boot on.
Mike Posner: [00:01:34] Yeah, I’ve got the boot on. So my walk is supposed to start today is February 14th Valentine’s day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:40] Happy Valentine's Day.
Mike Posner: [00:01:41] Thank you. And my walk was supposed to start March 1st, but I did two things. I broke my pinky toe and I have a what's called a stress reaction. It's like the precursor to a stress fracture was called my second metatarsal.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:55] Oh man! Okay. Is that a fancy word for toe?
Mike Posner: [00:02:00] No, it's like in the middle of the foot.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:03]Oh, that sounds worse.
Mike Posner: [00:02:04] You know, there’s the bones that go back to foot through each one? The second one.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:08] Oh, yikes like in the instep.
Mike Posner: [00:02:10] Yeah. Basically it's not like a huge deal back. A great foot doctor, he said, you can do the walk and I'm going to do the walk, but I'm going to let this heal first.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:20] I think that's a good move.
Mike Posner: [00:02:21] It's not a sprint. So I look at it as my first opportunity to give up and there will be many more. Like this would be a great excuse like “Hey, it just wasn't meant to be. My foot is hurt.” But I just have to move my start date back a little bit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:37] I think that's, I mean, “Look, I've walked 10 or 20 miles in a day a couple of times. You're going to do that what? Every day for how long is it going to take?
Mike Posner: [00:02:45] It'll take eight, nine months-ish. But there's no real way to tell.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:49] Because he's walking and you're walking across the whole United States.
Mike Posner: [00:02:52] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:52] From?
Mike Posner: [00:02:53] Asbury Park, New Jersey, the Atlantic Ocean to Venice Beach, California. The Pacific Ocean.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:59] Are you going to like splash ocean water on your face in the beginning and splash ocean water in your face at the end?
Mike Posner: [00:03:03] Definitely at the end I will be doing a full submersion.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:07] Submersion.
Mike Posner: [00:03:07] Yeah, the beginning was, we’ll see how cool it is, but definitely at least my feet.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:12] Yeah, good call. Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:03:14] That's actually one of the big the reasons we picked that exact place because you can actually get in the water.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:20] Oh, good idea. Yeah. You don't want to just be like, “Oh, there's water down there, but I'm on the railing.”
Mike Posner: [00:03:25] Yeah. I almost did the whole US.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:27] Wow. That's going to be, yeah, that would be like, “Oh, except for this like three foot stretch.” It's like, “Ah, sorry. You're disqualified.”
Mike Posner: [00:03:36] You didn’t quite make it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:36] Yeah, that's inspiring. And it reminds me of along with your beard and facial hair, Forrest Gump, right?
Mike Posner: [00:03:41] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:41] Is that a coincidence? The facial hair in the walk?
Mike Posner: [00:03:45] I don't know. Obviously we had this hair facial hair before. I think you decided to do the walk. You know it's funny, like eight out of 10 people that I talk about the walk with go, “Oh, like Forrest Gump,” like you said. It’s the first thing comes to mind because the movie's so great and it's such an iconic scene from an iconic movie. The other day I was at a party, like a New Years-ish party with some friends like in nice people were passing guitar around singing, everyone's listening, no one's drunk, and you meet so and so. This is Mike Posner. He have to walk across America, he put my hand out and I look up. It's Tom Hanks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:28] No kidding.
Mike Posner: [00:04:29] Tom Hanks, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:31] Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:04:31] So he goes, “Are you ready to do the walk?” And he says, “Where are you going to start?” I say “I’m starting Asbury Park, New Jersey.” He goes, “That’s just great. That's great.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:38] Wow, that's a great Tom Hanks thing to do.
Mike Posner: [00:04:40] I felt like a Forrest Gump has blessed my walk.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:44] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:04:45] It's destined for success now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:48] I think that's probably true. That's a pretty incredible story. Tom Hanks seems like one of those guys where you want him -- it actually must be a lot of pressure for him because if he's ever in a bad mood, like you can't leave the house. You're Tom Hanks, man. You got to be on your game at all times.
Mike Posner: [00:05:04] Yeah. He seems really nice as expected.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:07] That's what I mean--
Mike Posner: [00:05:08] He has to be, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:10] What if he's just like, “Don't tell me about your walk, I’m not interested.” Oh man, that's not something--
Mike Posner: [00:05:14] Your contention is that part of the time he's out there being nice. He really feels mean inside.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:19] No. My contention is that he probably feels pressure to always be that way, which may be is really easy for him, but if he ever wakes up and goes, “Oh man, I just stubbed my toe on this table, I better get over it before I try to go to Starbucks,” because I don't want to walk in there and be like.
Mike Posner: [00:05:35] That's a good pressure to have though.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:37] It is. Yeah. Does it feel inauthentic though? Something I'll never know until I interviewed Tom Hanks. By the way, Happy Birthday!
Mike Posner: [00:05:42] Thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:44] You're welcome.
Mike Posner: [00:05:44] Thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:45] My birthday is next week.
Mike Posner: [00:05:46] Congratulations.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:49] We grew up in the same town, adjacent high school, adjacent birthday weeks. Something going on here and I haven't put my finger on it. It’s been fun.
Mike Posner: [00:05:57] Rival high schools.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:58] That's right rival high school.
Mike Posner: [00:05:59] Not just adjacent.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:00] That’s right. Rival high school. Did you play sports?
Mike Posner: [00:06:03] I vehemently, “Hey, you're high school.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:06] Still.
Mike Posner: [00:06:07] That's not true.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:08] No.
Mike Posner: [00:06:08] There is a little part of me that hates it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:10] I understand that. I mean I understand, there was a big rival.
Mike Posner: [00:06:13] See it’s quite hateable huh?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:14] It is, man. The parking lot looks like a Mercedes dealership. All the kids I went to school with are like very, not all. Many were very like wealthy. They clearly don't have to work right now. They went to school for something and they're just living in their parents' other house in Chicago.
Mike Posner: [00:06:30] I hate Seaholm!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:32] Oh, man.
Mike Posner: [00:06:33] It has love, shout out, make believe.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:34] That's right.
Mike Posner: [00:06:35] Love you guys.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:36] Shout out in the Maples.
Mike Posner: [00:06:36] I hate Seaholms!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:38] What's your mascot from Groves?
Mike Posner: [00:06:39] Falcons.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:40] That's cooler than the maple leaf. I will give you that. It's been cool watching your career for a long time.
Mike Posner: [00:06:45] Thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:46] Yeah, because you're one of the -- not a lot of famous people come out of Birmingham, Michigan. Although --
Mike Posner: [00:06:50] I didn't come out of Birmingham, Michigan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:53] You didn't?
Mike Posner: [00:06:54] I came at Southfield, Michigan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:55] Oh, okay. So different.
Mike Posner: [00:06:57] You came, it's pretty diff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:58] I came out of Troy.
Mike Posner: [00:07:00] You came out of Troy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:00] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:07:00] Gotcha.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:01] Like insane clown posse.
Mike Posner: [00:07:02] My school, I was in Birmingham schools.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:03] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:07:04] That actually why we moved to where we moved because there's a little pocket of Southfield, which demographically is much closer to Detroit. It's a middle class or city. It’s a, I think 78 percent African-American.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:23] Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:07:24] And there's a little pocket of it that is in Birmingham School District and my mom like wrote the state and found this place. So the properties are a little cheaper there, but they still got these great schools that we were in the district of like she kind of find a little--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:40] My parents, the same thing with Troy. Having hits in getting successes is one thing. You've had this I'll say a more complete experience in some ways I feel like because you had a roller coaster. I mean you didn't call it a roller coaster in one of your songs. You've had a roller coaster, which I think most people who've had success do have, but you actually seem to have learned from this where I think a lot of people would not have tried or would have just been depressed about it. I was really struck by one of your most recent hits, which many people have heard of. I Took a Pill in Ibiza because this dance remix of it is so hype and happy, but then you listen to the lyrics and you're like, “Wait a second, this is not a super hype and happy song.” So ironically, and what I really like about it was a lot of Instagramy stuff, a lot of entrepreneurs stuff, a lot of business stuff or even just song stuff is like, I'm killing it. I'm winner. It's all positivity. It's all optimism, and the lyrics stick out for that reason.
[00:08:36] Of course, I Took a Pill in Ibiza to show Avicii I was cool. It seems like we do a lot to look cool, like we do a lot to show other people that were really great and the whole culture seems to be like this now with Instagram and social media and we put ourselves at risk, like our images, everything. And I think that might come from fear because I have this at some level where like, “Oh, if people know who you really are, they wouldn't want you to be at this party. Or like maybe they wouldn't want you to hang out with Tom Hanks and play the guitar.” I do have that fear in the back of your head? Is that where these lyrics kind of come from?
Mike Posner: [00:09:13] This sort of imposter’s syndrome.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:15] Imposter syndrome.
Mike Posner: [00:09:16] Not so much anymore.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:17] Not so much. Anymore. Gotcha.
Mike Posner: [00:09:19] Yeah, when I was younger, definitely. I guess we have your first in the music industry. Yeah. Your first like big hit. Wow. And for me it was, my first single was a big hit, so I was in one for one. It's like, Oh, this is --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:35] This isn't that hard.
Mike Posner: [00:09:37] This is what happens. I've put out singles whenever my mom goes, “You know, most people have the.” I was like “Yeah, but that was them, looking at me. I'm batting a thousand. You don't get it.” And of course, so then you have your first wave crash. Anything is all over. And everyone called me at one hit wonder which I was at the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:57] Sure.
Mike Posner: [00:09:57] I got one hit. So now I just sort of wrote about, I thought that was interesting. Like you mentioned this sort of rise. Our successes are all very well documented. Our story is one of the document that downfall. I thought that was interesting to me. So I wrote about it and then in an impossibly ironic situation, the writing of this cause my next way and that's when I realized, “Oh, that's what my job is, to write these ways and this sort of what life is too. Goes up and down, and yeah, you just sort of realize when you're having a huge success, you know that a failure is bound to follow this at some point. And when in the middle of a failure, a success is bound to follow it at some point, they're like they're tied to one another and actually two different things.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:54] I think it takes people at least one crash to realize that. Because I assume when did your first hit drop? Like when you were like 20?
Mike Posner: [00:11:02] 2010, I think I was 22.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:08] Oh man.
Mike Posner: [00:11:10] That amount of time. Oh man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:14] Because I'm thinking you worked hard. I mean I'm trying to cheapen that but like this most people or usually have like more of a struggle on the uphill so that when that comes, although I'm not sure if that's even better, right? But I do know one thing for sure, the amount of fame at that age is not a drug that most of us can handle I think. And I say that we're drug very deliberately because it seems like any kid because at that point you were still definitely a kid. I mean you're one year and it'll being able to legally go to the bars where you were probably in the clubs where you're playing this stuff. That just must go straight to your head.
Mike Posner: [00:11:55] Yeah. I thought I was the man for sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:00] I mean you were.
Mike Posner: [00:12:00] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:01] But like you probably didn't think, “Oh, there's a cliffs somewhere.” You just thought it's all up from here.
Mike Posner: [00:12:05] My self-identity got very much wrapped up in being popular, being the man, being somewhat famous, and what happened was as I put out more music, none of my subsequent songs replicate the success of my first hit. And so what happened was these words that I self-identified with started to not be true. I was becoming less famous. I was becoming less than man each month. You know, I was gay recognized less and less and less. And I had to figure out, well, those things aren't actually meet those words. I mean, look, reality is like hit me in the face that, so who am I, what am I? And it was at the time one of the best things that ever happened to me because I had got to go a lot deeper with myself.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:13] 20/20 hindsight, I assume in that moment it's sucked. Right?
Mike Posner: [00:13:15] It was tough to yeah, it felt like I didn't know what was going on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:20] It was confusing.
Mike Posner: [00:13:21] Very much so.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:23] How do you measure, you said you were getting less and less popular and people were recognizing you less and less. Is that kind of the measurement that you had in your head? Like Oh, the more people that are like, “Oh dude, that’s Mike Posner!” Is that like your, it's up and then when that happens, like?
Mike Posner: [00:13:35] Yeah, and you know at the time we looking at charts success and sales and music and all the obvious pitfalls like followers on social media, that kind of thing is being deepen it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:54] All external stuff you can't control. When I was freaking out earlier last year because I had a bunch of business stuff go down and our mutual friend Noah Kagan goes, “Hey man, focus on the stuff that you can control because that external stuff you can't control that. It's just going to control you.” And I was like “I know that.” And then I went home and I was like that was amazing. That is so wise.
Mike Posner: [00:14:16] Yeah, because it's dude’s knowing it and doing it. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:18] Yeah, of course. Well yeah that story of my entire life of course. Like everyone write a self-help book. Got it. No problem. I applied a self-help book, well not really, but like you when you have charts that show, “Hey, you're here,” and like your agent answers your phone really quickly in the beginning, and then like, I don't know, less quickly later on or like they call you and they're like, “Hey man, we got to put something else out there.” And you're like, “Oh why do I have to do that?” “Well you know, we want to stay relevant.” “Oh crap. Am I becoming irrelevant?” Like I just couldn't handle that at age 22, and I don't think anybody can.
Mike Posner: [00:14:53] Well, if you found yourself any, you'd handle it. In hindsight, I feel really blessed to had that experience at that age, and I'll tell you why. Before that, I thought success, popularity, attention from the opposite sex, I thought these things were going to make my experience of life better. And so I set about acquiring them and I was pretty good at acquiring them. And what happened was I am 22 and I get all that stuff and I realize, I'm zero percent happier. I'm zero percent more comfortable in my own skin. I’m zero percent more secure. So if it's not that stuff, then what? And so I feel like my audience has gifted me the opportunity to explore what life's about when you stop chasing shiny stuff. And that's what I feel my job is, go ask that question. Go to the monastery and spend some time in solitude, come back and report back so I feel my job is.
Jason DeFilippo: [00:16:06] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back after this.
[00:16:11] Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Mike Posner. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:16:21] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit Jordan harbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Now back to our show with Mike Posner.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:38] Speaking of trappings of success though, you did achieve all these goals of like fame, cash, and they didn't make you feel the same way and I thought it was funny. I can't remember where I heard this, but I guess you asked your uncle who's like a big finance guy, like, “Hey--
Mike Posner: [00:16:50] How did you hear this?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:52] I don't remember where I heard this. Maybe Alex Banayan possibly. He says he’s like, “Yeah, I talked to his uncle, and you're like, “Hey, I made all this money. I'm famous now. Anyone who can help me. And your uncle was like, I don't know anyone who deals in this small of amount of money.
Mike Posner: [00:17:05] He's a hedge fund manager.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:07] So he's like, “Get out of here with your--
Mike Posner: [00:17:09] Not even that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:09] Seven figures.
Mike Posner: [00:19:57] He's one of my mentors and amazing person that I really look up to. But yeah, I mean I got like my first few checks. I'd made whatever it was. I called him up. He has a lot of money for a senior in college and I knew my Uncle is very successful and is very successful investor. So I say, “Can you help me like invest this or manage this stuff?” And he goes, he wasn't being mean. He's like, “I honestly don't know anyone that deals in that low of amounts.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:33] That's so funny. It's so like accidentally insulting, right?
Mike Posner: [00:17:50] But it was accidentally humbling. It was a good thing for 22 year old me to hear.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:59] I can imagine.
Mike Posner: [00:17:58] Relax dude.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:01] Yeah. Calm down.
Mike Posner: [00:18:02] You're not the first guy to get a significant change ever in the world.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:08] Yeah. That is humbling. But I think on that same phenomenon, that same phenomenon of achieving all these goals and finding out they don't make you happier. A lot of Olympic medalists and athletes that I have on the show, they have this same problem. I don't know if there's a name for this phenomenon, but it's basically like you go up and you reach this apex, you win a gold medal in, I don’t know, lose whatever, and you're like, “I'm the best at this in the world.” Hey, look, I tell you I picked something random, right? So you're the best in the whole world. And then you're like, Oh wait--
Mike Posner: [00:18:38] Looses a sport, they offer at C home.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:41] It is. Yeah. It's very fancy. We lose down the Hill into the footballs.
Mike Posner: [00:18:46] I'm sorry I interrupted you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:48] It's okay.
Mike Posner: [00:18:49] Mediocre Joe.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:50] For your mediocre Joe. You know what? It's fine. It'll be a clip then you'll be at in 20 years. You'd be like, “Why did I do that?” Everything was on--
Mike Posner: [00:18:57] Probably, yeah. So glad, I could steal--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:59] So glad you landed. That one landed. These athletes, they haven't thought past this point, right? Like you get to that point, it's like a big exam. Remember having huge exams in college. You get done with that exam and you're like, “Oh, what do I do right now?” Like my world calendar ended at this test, and now I guess I'll have a beer with my friends. Oh wait, I have the flu. How long have I had the flu? I'm going to go to sleep. That ever happened to you? That happened to me like every finals period.
Mike Posner: [00:19:27] You realize you were sick after?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:28] Yeah. I realized I was sick after and I was like, “Oh crap, I don't want to go drinking. I want to go to sleep.” Like I'm making myself sick. And so the mystique of fame and fortune, it seems like it wears off. Like you got it and you were just like, “Oh crap, the value I thought these things had doesn't exist.”
Mike Posner: [00:19:46] Yeah. And then a party goes, well maybe you just didn't get enough. Maybe two hits off. The thing it just takes a little awareness to step off of that hamster wheel.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:59] It's tough though, because I think people, and I'm sure this happened to you, tell me if I'm wrong. “Well, Mike, money won't buy you happiness,” and you're like, “You know what though? It probably will if I just make some more of it.” Like I'll make more than you did and it'll work for me.
Mike Posner: [00:20:12] Yeah. I thought that my whole life, my parents always told me that and I would nod and smile. In my head I'd say, “You just didn't make enough watch me go.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:21] Right.
Mike Posner: [00:20:22] So that's what I meant when I said early, like earlier than my fans, my audience, my listeners, wherever you want to call it, have gifted me this opportunity because collectively they gave me all this money and that's when I learned that lesson. I hadn't learned it myself by actually going and making money and then finding out, “Oh Whoa. That cliché is actually a cliché for a reason because it's true.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:50] Because it's tough to say it when you don't have money. Like all money doesn't buy you happiness. It just sounds like sour grapes.
Mike Posner: [00:20:55] Well, what happens, I believe is, is easy to group all of our woes and attribute them their source to being, “Hey, I don't have enough money.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:04] Sure.
Mike Posner: [00:21:05] So in reality, it's some percentage of our woes, right? That resolve from not having enough money. But then when we make the money, we realize, “Oh, there's another percentage of these things that weren't related to that at all.” And for me that was a lesson that I hadn't been learned on my own.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:27] Right. It's like your boat sinking and you're like, “Well the problem is there's too much water in the boat.” So you start bailing the water out and this is the earning of money and you're just like, “Man, I still have the same problem.” And someone's like, “Hey, you should probably plug that hole in the boat.” You're like, “Yeah, it stop.” I'm bailing the water out of the boat here. Don't interrupt me. And then you finally get it as much of it out as you can and you see it's rushing into the hole and then you go, “Oh shoot, this is going to keep happening no matter how much I do this, unless I fix this other thing.” And that other thing is almost always uglier, right? It's like your outlook on life, untreated mental illness or depression, or some other thing that you neglected in the pursuit of money that you've made worse over time. Now I see you're trying to make up for the money thing with facial hair, which is let me know how that strategy goes.
Mike Posner: [00:22:18] It feels pretty promising.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:20] So far so good. Right?
Mike Posner: [00:22:21] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:21] Yeah. But like this, what about the fame? Like that must have gone well, look, the money thing maybe not, but this sort of stardom that's even more rare than money. It's more valuable. I'm going to use that instead. That’s got to feel good temporarily as well.
Mike Posner: [00:22:37] It does. Still does.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:38] It still does.
Mike Posner: [00:22:39] Yeah, of course.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:40] That's good. That's honest. I like that.
Mike Posner: [00:22:41] Look, there's a part of me that loves being liked, loves being loved by other people and you tell me I'm great. It feels good. Let's be honest.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:49] That's very human though. I think.
Mike Posner: [00:22:51] I think.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:52] I mean in my very unqualified opinion as a human.
Mike Posner: [00:22:55] I think probably too, like you said earlier, you have to separate, it’s external, and that can come and go. You're not in control of that so you want to get too attached to that kind of thing because it ebbs and flows. Fame and disrepute.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:13] You can enjoy that stuff, right? But I think it's the attachment to that stuff that causes a problem. Like it's not the fame that causes people to feel depressed about something. It's the attachment to the fame and then when that dwindles, that caused the pride in that. I just feel like I'm talking now like as some sort of Zen monk in a monastery. It's the attachment to the thing, not the thing itself. But it seems like possibly you found that out in some way because I read that you began to feel uncomfortable with like being in the spotlight and you felt some depression come on. But was it that you felt uncomfortable being in the spotlight or was it that you felt uncomfortable with the spotlight dwindling slowly?
Mike Posner: [00:23:51] Probably a little both. Shit happened for me, I remember I spent a week with Justin Bieber. I was writing--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:03] Oh wow.
Mike Posner: [00:24:03] Writing with him at the time. I wrote a song cram and then we were messing around in the studio. And before that I used to be jealous of the people that were more famous than me. It used to bothering me. Friends of Big Sean came out Detroit. And we walk in a room and people will always recognize him. My music was as popular as some of these other guys, but I wasn't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:30] Right. So you felt a little cheated by that?
Mike Posner: [00:24:32] I felt insecure about it. Like something's wrong with me, why? And so I spent this week with Justin and when I got to see what that was actually really like.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:44] What was that like?
Mike Posner: [00:24:45] Insane. You know, like we're at a hotel and there's 500 to a 1,000 young girls out outside of the hotel, 24 hours a day. There's pop variety falling everywhere. There's fake cars that we'd send out, you know, like we'd send a may back out this way and then he'd get into like a normal car to go out the back door. It was just crazy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:10] That’s nuts.
Mike Posner: [00:25:11] It's just nuts. And I thought, “Do I really want that? Is that what I'm chasing after?” It's sort of like, no actually, I kind of have it perfect right now, which is my music's pretty darn popular. Most people know my most popular songs, but when I walk in the room, most people don't know me or my face.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:23] Yeah. The upside to the fame seems pretty lame or not lame, seems pretty tough to compare to the downside, right? Like it's sure getting into like a cool restaurant and not having to wait is probably really great. Getting an upgrade on a flight. I don’t know, I don’t know what happens with super famous people being able to date a bunch, but then you find one person, then you're like, “Okay, now it's just a pain that all these people are chasing you to try to hook up with you.” And then other times you just want to go to Starbucks and sit down and like check your phone because you're waiting for a friend. And people are like, “Dude, hey!” You can't do that.
Mike Posner: [00:26:09] Hey.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:10] Right?
Mike Posner: [00:26:10] Dude!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:11] You can't do that anymore. It's like Bieber, we have a couple of mutual friends, including in fact you probably know some of these people too actually, and they'll go and hang out with them and stuff like that and they very rarely tell me how great it is. They usually tell me how annoying the little things are. Like, “Oh yeah, we were stuck in the hotel for an extra 90 minutes. We couldn't leave.” Like it's cool once, second, third, 300 time probably more less cool than the first. Like it's validating and that it's just really irritating. I can see writing music for other artists and being adjacent to that being kind of a cool thing because you can kind of like peak your head through the curtain whenever you want and then he can go, “Yeah, that's still there. Cool. I'm going to be over here hanging out with my friends and not getting trampled by preteen fans.”
Mike Posner: [00:27:02] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:04] Did you take a break from writing music at any point? Like, or did you just shift immediately to writing for other people?
Mike Posner: [00:27:11] I never took a break and never stopped writing for myself either. What happened was my popularity dwindled and two of my albums were shelved. This what we call the music industry when you're signed to a record label and they can't really justify spending the marketing dollars to put your album out. So they hold on to you just in case some crazy happens like you put some on and it blows up randomly, but they have no plans of releasing your album.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:42] So do they own it? And you can't even use it?
Mike Posner: [00:27:45] Correct.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:45] Oh, that's the worst.
Mike Posner: [00:27:46] I made two albums like that. So sort of a gap in my career. I haven't put it out on 2010 and the next one is 2016, I made two albums in there, that never came out. I never stopped making music.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:01] You can't even play those songs for, or can you?
Mike Posner: [00:28:04] Yeah, I can play it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:05] Oh, that's good.
Mike Posner: [00:28:05] I can play it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:06] But you just can't sell the CD or the single?
Mike Posner: [00:28:08] They own the actual master recording.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:11] At least you can play him. I'd feel so violated somehow if I couldn't do what I want. It was something that I created.
Mike Posner: [00:28:17] Yeah. Well, I signed the contract.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:20] Of course. It's not unfair, it's just, it's kind of just a bump.
Mike Posner: [00:28:23] Yeah. So we work hung in the rights to them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:27] Yeah. I'm sure.
Mike Posner: [00:28:28] It'll work out.
Jason DeFilippo: [0:28:31] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guests, Mike Posner. We'll be right back after this.
[00:28:37] Thanks for listening in supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers really does keep us on the air and that's no joke. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals, and don't forget the worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast and if you're listening to us on the Overcast player on iOS, please click that little star button next to the episode. It really helps us out. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Mike Posner.
Jordan Harbinger: [0:29:06] Did you find it in some ways more maybe artistically pure to write for other musicians instead of being the center of the performance spotlight? Because then you can kind of do whatever you want.
Mike Posner: [00:29:17] No, I've have thought the opposite.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:19] Really?
Mike Posner: [00:29:19] Yeah. Because I'm a writer, when people see me, I'm always interacting with someone else in some capacity. Even if I'm doing a post, I'm speaking out to my followers. But where I think they don't realize about me and 90 percent of artists is 90 percent of our time is alone. I spend a heck of a lot of time alone in solitude writing. That's what I do. I write, and what happens is when you're exclusively writing for other artists, in order for your work to come out, another person, the artists has to connect with what you wrote in almost like magical deep way that it feels to them like they wrote it in some way like it's their song. For me that's like 1 percent of what I write. So now I'm seeing you with 99 songs out of a 100 that aren't going to come out.
[00:30:22] So artistically, there's nothing more pure than me being the artists and me being like, “Hey, this is what I want to create. This is it. I'm doing this all right. Oh hey, I want to say this word here, not that one. I want this reverb to be at three dB right here.” That's the most pure expression for me. When I write for other people is beautiful too, because even with my own stuff, if I write 50 songs for an album, only 10 go on the album. So it's not bad, it's just different. Often they changed some words to personalize it to them, so it gets filtered through them basically.
Jordan Harbinger: [0:30:59] I know that you originally wanted to be a rapper from like age what? Eight to 18. Tell me about that. I'm imagining like white Lil' Bow Wow at that point in your life.
Mike Posner: [00:31:11] I actually had a fantasy, because it was so interesting you say that name. At that time there was this mini movement, or mini wave I want to say movement, mini wave of kid rappers that were really successful at the time. So I think I was around the same age as Lil' Bow Wow, maybe it was a few years older than me. He was this famous rapper and I thought, I'm as good as him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:40] At rapping.
Mike Posner: [00:31:40] At rapping and there's is hip hop. So you always think you're the best.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:44] Right.
Mike Posner: [00:31:45] And there was no white one of these kid rappers.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:49] Right. And you didn’t think like?
Mike Posner: [00:31:51] I thought it was going to be me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:52] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:31:52] I thought it was going to be me. I thought I was going to be 13, 14, and blow up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:56] Do you ever like a rap name?
Mike Posner: [00:31:58] Yeah. I think our first, first rap name, I don't even think I released this song with this. It was more just like I'm wanting to be called. It was Acrimony.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:09] Oh, that's pretty good. Did it end like it have an I though in some fancy? No?
Mike Posner: [00:32:13] No, Y. Standard spelling.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:16] Standard spell.
Mike Posner: [00:32:17] And then I went by Mike P. for a little while.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:20] Very creative.
Mike Posner: [00:32:21] And then in high school I just made a decision that I think it was wise beyond my years, which was that I don't want to make music that is a character making music.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:35] I wondered about that.
Mike Posner: [00:32:37] At that time I knew that I want there to be this separation between who I am as artists and who I am as a human to meet me they’re the same thing. And I'm always trying to keep them as close as possible, and I still stand by that decision. 15 year old Mike. So yes, good call there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:00] I think that is wise because I always wonder about that. You know when you meet somebody that -- an actor's one thing, I get it. That's is the art, right? To become somebody else for a short period of time. But I do wonder about music and writing. It's like, how do you then -- because to be like white rapper from Southfield, you almost have to talk a little different than you would have normally that you were raised. You don't talk like the people around you. You maybe don't think the same way. You're talking about things with me that maybe I've experienced with and people do criticize rappers a lot of the time because a lot you'll find out, remember, when, maybe you don't Vanilla Ice. We found out he was like from a farm and everyone was like, “This guy is a fake.” He’s fake, forget it.
Mike Posner: [00:33:46] Yeah. I heard about--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:48] Yeah, it’s a little before your time.
Mike Posner: [00:33:50] Heard of it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:50] I just totally dated myself here.
Mike Posner: [00:33:51] Backtracked but yeah, know of it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:53] Yeah. And it seems inauthentic and there's something about being inauthentic in that way that people find distasteful.
Mike Posner: [00:33:58] Well in authenticity matters in hip-hop. If you say something in a song, it turns out not to be true. And most of my song, some of my songs that are like blatantly fictional and they're like story songs, but for the most part that authenticity, even though some of my music is not in the genre of hip-hop, I've tried to bring that authenticity with me wherever I go musically.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:28] Yeah. Okay, so you're still rapping at 15, 16 whatever. Are you doing, like I'm imagining you with like Eminem era, going to these like rap battles. Did you do it? Does that really exist? Is that a thing that's real?
Mike Posner: [00:34:42] Yeah, I battle all the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:44] Really?
Mike Posner: [00:34:45] In high school. They're probably like, I don't know, five to 10 kids that thought they were good rappers, so I had to battle all of them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:56] Are these kids like at Groves in Birmingham or they?
Mike Posner: [00:34:59] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:59] Okay.
Mike Posner: [00:35:00] But Groves is different than Seaholm though. There's a lot of kids that go to Groves that don't live in Birmingham or Southfield.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:09] That's true.
Mike Posner: [00:35:09] A lot of them live in Detroit because it's a good school. A lot of them have a--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:14] It’s all right.
Mike Posner: [00:35:14] A lot of them have like a cousin or that lives in Southfield and they use their address or--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:21] Oh, interesting.
Mike Posner: [00:35:22] When I went to Groves, we had a trailer park in our district. We also had really wealthy neighborhoods. That's why Groves was so amazing to me. I'm very proud that I went there because we have really wealthy kids there. We had trailer park kids, kids from Detroit that were faking their address to go there. So yeah, it was a good mix of kids. Some of them were from Southfield, some of them live in the trailer park, some of them I'm talking about the rappers now. Some of them live in Detroit and I was the best one. I beat everyone. Now someone else may have a different version of that, but they're wrong. So yeah, we'd wrap on there. A lot of times during the football games, actually.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:04] Oh okay.
Mike Posner: [00:36:05] During the football games, they always have a battle under the bleachers.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:09] That seems an appropriate place to have a rap battle.
Mike Posner: [00:36:12] Maybe be about, I don’t know, 30, 40 people in a circle around me and another person, and I'm trashing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:21] Nice. And his freestyle, you didn't write it beforehand?
Mike Posner: [00:36:23] Correct.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:23] Oh wow.
Mike Posner: [00:36:24] Yeah. I fell in love with freestyling. So you practice at home. We had naps around the computer at home.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:33] Of course.
Mike Posner: [00:36:33] So I could type in, whoever my favorite hip-hop songs were at the time. I could type in instrumental, you could download just the beats. I just sit there, practice rapping, freestyle all the time. I got really good at it. I don’t practice anymore, so I’m not as good at it now, but yeah, I was like a big thing. Big deal for me at the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:55] Then how did you sort of break out of wrapping in your high school under the bleachers literally to looking at the music industry and going, okay, this is a real thing that I'm going to do?
Mike Posner: [00:37:05. Well, that summer, after my senior year, I got a job at a radio station downtown. It's called Hot 1027.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:13] Of course. Yeah. It used to be a metal station.
Mike Posner: [00:37:16] Is that right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:17] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:37:19] They had thing on that station called Freestyle Friday, which was every Friday rappers from Detroit could go on the air and freestyle and you had to either know someone or you had to battle your way in. So there'd be battles in the lobby and the winner get to go on the radio. Now I worked there and the host had heard me freestyle and they let me go right in the booth, and I went there and I killed it. And there was another guy in there named Pat Piff who was my buddy and there was a third guy who was his buddy named Sean, and he became Big Sean. And so I met Big Sean at the radio station and we became buddies. I started doing beats for him, doing the hooks for him, writing songs. Then he got signed by Kanye West and here was this guy that I freestyled with regularly. We rapped together and I always thought, like I always thought I was better than him. I will say that if he’s here too. I thought I was better than everybody. I'm sure he thought the opposite.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:26] Yeah. He's probably like, and that's why.
Mike Posner: [00:38:30] And so here's my buddy who I think I'm better than, who got a record deal. So suddenly this thing that felt really far away, felt very probable for me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:43] So it was inspiring. You weren't pissed off that he got it. You were like, encourage by this.
Mike Posner: [00:38:47] I go, I'm next.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:49] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:38:50] Whoa. Of course, watch me go, and he helped me too. He helped me, I kept developing my sound and that's when I started to sing. I started to sing my raps.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:02] Oh, okay.
Mike Posner: [00:39:04] I thought was--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:04] Why? Were you just kind of like screwing around thinking like what if I sing a rap.
Mike Posner: [00:39:10] I finished high school. I went to college in North Carolina, went to Duke University. Weather was a little different. I started playing around with different sounds and I just thought it would be cool. I like hip-hop music so much. Like is not the right word, I was in love with hip-hop music so much. I'm such a student of MCs and I thought, I never heard someone seeing with a complex rhyme style that I like hearing it. MC rap with, let me sing the way I want to hear a singer sing as a rap fan, as a hip-hop fan. So my first hit song, we talked about earlier, Cooler Than Me has a complex rhyme scheme. It goes “You got designers shades just to hide your face.” So not just shades and face rhyme, but hide and designer rhyme as well. There's multisyllabic rhyme. And that to me it was just cool at the time. I'd never heard a singer do that. So that was like my whole style was playing around with and that was the first time. By that time, I'm 20, and I've been making music 12 years and that sound I stumbled upon was without a doubt influenced by a myriad of artists that came before me. But it was unmistakably my own and I knew it and everyone around me knew it right away. It's like, it just, it all changed when I started doing that because it was my own thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:42] So you kind of went, “Wait a minute. I've got my own style. I've got to lean into this.”
Mike Posner: [00:40:46] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:46] Yeah. That's cool.
Mike Posner: [00:40:48] Yeah. I re-recorded that song in my dorm room on software that I stole off the Internet on a $200 microphone.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:57] Do you still have your first microphone?
Mike Posner: [00:40:58] I don't think so. No. Actually I think I gave it away to someone and I sat in Myspace, put it out and I didn't--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:08] Myspace. God!
Mike Posner: [00:41:08] I didn't go to parties because I lived in the dorm and his loud. All days, loud kids going out, and so the only time I could record was from 11:30 to 2:30 when everyone else went out to the bar.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:26] Oh right.
Mike Posner: [00:41:28] So I was to party, whatever. So I stay there and my friends would come back and they go, “Man, we were at the party and that song came on.” And everyone knew the words.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:38] Your song.
Mike Posner: [00:41:39] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:39] Hell yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:41:40] I go, “What?” And then my mom calls, someone sent it to her. She goes, “I like that song Cooler Than Me.” Mind you, my mom always supportive.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:52] Sure.
Mike Posner: [00:41:53] But real, never told me she liked one of my songs before.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:56] Never?
Mike Posner: [00:41:57] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:57] So no like, “Oh honey, this is really good.”
Mike Posner: [00:41:59] None of that. None of that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:01] Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:42:02] But support like paying for lessons.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:03] Yeah. Okay.
Mike Posner: [00:42:05] You know, but she's just honest. She’ll never tell me she likes something. She doesn’t. She said that. And then Sean called me, he goes, by this time he's hanging out with like Pharrell and Kanye and Jay Z and he calls, he goes, “That’s Cooler Than Me song sounds like a hit song to me.” I go, “What does that even mean?” I’m at my dorm room.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:28] That’s so crazy. You're in your dorm room waiting for people to leave so you can record because you don't have a studio. Meanwhile, your friends are all out at parties listening to your music that's playing on the radio. And you're like, “Why won't people just be quiet?” I'm trying to write music. And then your buddy calls him. He was like, “I'm with Kanye West, Jay-Z and Pharrell, we like your music too. And you're just like, people keep calling me. I’ll turn my phone off. Surreal.
Mike Posner: [00:42:55] It was, yeah, yeah. It was.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:59] Speaking of rhyming? I know in I Took a Pill on Ibiza. It’s you rhyme girls and shoes. I spent spend my money on girls and shoes, and I thought, why didn't he say girls in booze? That seems like an easier rhyme. And then I thought, “Wait a minute. Maybe it's true. Maybe you did actually spend a lot of money on shoes.” Did you have like a six -- you don't seem like the type to have a lot of shoes.
Mike Posner: [00:43:20] Not anymore.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:21] Okay.
Mike Posner: [00:43:23] But I had a crazy, crazy you know that was my thing. Anytime I went to, if I made money on the road. I had a deal that I could go to flight club when I got home.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:32] What is that? I never heard of it.
Mike Posner: [00:43:34] It’s like a sneaker boutique. Really high end Jordans and rare shoes, and yeah, I just had this gargantuan shoe collection. I had shoes I forgot I had and I just had one day I was like, I can't justify this. There's people not that far from here, don't have any shoes. I have like hundreds of pairs, so.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:56] Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:43:57] Yeah. So I was going through, it was sort of in that period after my first wave, they crashed and I go, okay, I got this house in the Hollywood Hills. I got this nice car. I got all these shoes. Can I be happy without this stuff or do I need this stuff? I started to feel like it's weighed down by it. So I bought a van, a conversion van that's still have today, and it has like a book or bench seats in the back. They fall down to a bed.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:27] Baller.
Mike Posner: [00:44:28] And it’s like a 93 Dodge and I just put the clothes I actually wear in there and everything else I donated. I just drove away. I just drove away, and I went to Utah, some friends out there, hung out in the mountains and brought my guitar and when I realized, yeah, I can be happy without all of that stuff for sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:52] That's great. Wow. So what'd you do with the shoes?
Mike Posner: [00:44:56] You don't need to know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:58] So others, somebody who didn't have shoes is wearing like 1994 Michael Jordan pumps or whatever. Do those exist? I don't know if those exist.
Mike Posner: [00:45:06] Pumps are Reebok.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:08] Yeah, my bad.
Mike Posner: [00:45:09] This boot is a pump.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:11] I saw that. I saw you’re wearing pumps right now.
Mike Posner: [00:45:13] it’s so cool, dude. You know that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:15] I do. Wow. That's official. You've got to put a little Michael Jordan logo on there. Too materialists.
Mike Posner: [00:45:21] He'd probably pay me not to put a logo.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:22] I think that might be true. Yeah. Good rev stream. Getting Michael Jordan to subsidize not using his logo.
Mike Posner: [00:45:30] Listen, Mike, I have a great idea. I'm getting ready to walk across America. We have a really dingy RV as a support vehicle. I'm thinking you could pay me three, four mil for us to not to put the Jordan logo on there. What do you think?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:44] He's like, “Hold on, let me hit my lawyer. Get in touch about this real quick.”
Mike Posner: [00:45:47] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:48] Yeah. You literally, you had hundreds of pairs of shoes. Now you have one shoe.
Mike Posner: [00:45:53] The other one's in here.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:54] In the backpack. Yeah. Waiting for its day in the sun literally.
Mike Posner: [00:45:58] I actually have a small battalion of shoes I'm bringing on the walk.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:03] What kind of shoes are you going to? How many miles is it that you got to walk?
Mike Posner: [00:46:06] 3,000.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:07] 3,000 is that just as the crow flies or is that the actual route?
Mike Posner: [00:46:11] No, that's actual route.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:12] Oh, that's a lot of miles.
Mike Posner: [00:46:13] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:14] So you're going to go through--
Mike Posner: [00:46:16] [indiscernible] is shorter, but I'm going up to Detroit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:20] Oh, you are? Oh, that's awesome.
Mike Posner: [00:46:22] Which is a little out of the way, but worth it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:24] Yeah, worth it. Worth it to walk past Groves, put some gum under a desk and keep walking.
Mike Posner: [00:46:31] I think it might be summertime on there, but I want to go to a lot of schools, play and stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:37] Sure. That will be awesome. Middle Seaholm would gladly have you.
Mike Posner: [00:46:41] I'm going to Seaholm, man. I feel like they need me to come to.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:44] They do. They need a reality check.
Mike Posner: [00:46:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:46] Last I was there anyway, but you're going to go through like 20 pairs. No more pairs of shoes, right? Have you calculated?
Mike Posner: [00:46:53] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:53] But aide-de-camp is going to be like, “Hey man, you got to change these shoes. These things are ratty or discussing or holes in them or whatever.”
Mike Posner: [00:47:00] Why do you canvas a soldier, man? He ran a hundred miles just for fun.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:04] That’s--
Mike Posner: [00:47:04] More than a race.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:07] Dang.
Mike Posner: [00:47:07] He just did it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:09] Just to see it if he could.
Mike Posner: [00:47:10] So if he could. Isn't that crazy?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:12] That is literally crazy. That's like those Death Valley ultra-marathon type things. Geez. That's a whole different show.
Mike Posner: [00:47:20] Well, he always, man. I'm wearing a ultras right now, which are cool because there's zero drop, which means that the heel is a the same pitch as the toe. There's not a high heel,
many running shoes have a high heel, and there's sort of a theory that that may not be the best thing for one's Achilles and calves and overall health.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:42] I want to get back to the walk because I have a lot of questions about it. I think it is exciting, but I am curious, how did you end up getting your first offer for like a record deal? Like how did that happen? Because you sort of skipped like, “Oh, I was doing music in my dorm room,” and then the song came on the radio. I was like, “Well, wait a minute.”
Mike Posner: [00:47:58] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:59] Somebody picked it up.
Mike Posner: [00:48:00] Well--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:00] I'm playing this.
Mike Posner: [00:48:02] So I put this stuff out on Myspace and what I did was I made a mixtape, which what is a mix tape? A mix tape is like a free album. It often will include in this, a medium in hip-hop culture. There's albums and there’s mixed tapes. Mix tapes are free, first of all. And they often include remixes of other people's songs or using another artist instrumental like I was doing when I was a kid and wrapping your own stuff on top of that. So I made a mixtape and I had the King of mixtapes. One of the Kings of mixtapes, Don Cannon post my mixtape. And at the time when you made a mixtape, fewer MC, you would put on this website called datpiff.com.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:50] Oh, I feel like I've heard of that.
Mike Posner: [00:48:52] Yeah. And you know, it'd be on certain blogs and there'd always be a Z-share link, which was like a file hosting company. You click it and Z-share was sort of like riddled with ads. It was very hard to navigate. There'd be a thing that said like download here and you'd click in as actually add, a pop up would come up, you have to like find and right-click the right thing and like save target at, you know?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:18] Yeah, yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:49:19] Kind of a nightmare. Like people who are really in the hip-hop could easily navigate that and they did it on a daily basis. But I realize, hey, my friends are telling me all these like kind of girls at Duke who are in more of the Seaholm Democrat are loving this song too. So these people like my music. They're not going to datpiff.com and they didn’t click in the Z-shared link. So I found this loophole with iTunes U. iTunes U set up for professors to put their life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:01] Educational platforms essentially.
Mike Posner: [00:50:03] Correct. So if you go to another school and you want to hear a lecture from this professor at Duke, you can go on there and you can hear the lecture and it's free. So I call up the guy who runs the iTunes U for Duke and he's from Southfield, Michigan, [Ty Daily] [00:50:19] So I wasn't the first person to do this, but I was one of the first, and I asked Ty, he said, “Yeah man, your student here, We can put it on iTunes U, your mix tape. So I get my mix tape on iTunes U. So it's on iTunes, it’s safe.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:38] Technically. Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:50:40] But it's free.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:40] And it's easy to get from like an iPhone or whatever.
Mike Posner: [00:50:44] iPhones were just coming out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:48] Okay, but people can pick it up.
Mike Posner: [00:50:49] But people weren't streaming. They get on their computer and it was freed. I was the main thing because this was right in the years where pirating was really big, before iTunes I think. Really caught on. I was pirating music. I remember I was pirating Kanye West music, so I knew if I'm stealing Kanye stuff, ain't nobody paying for my stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:11] No.
Mike Posner: [00:51:10] Because one knows who I am. So iTunes, I start Facebook event in group. And I asked all my friends I went to high school with who are going to different colleges and all my friends who I went to college with at Duke to invite all their friends. And before I knew it people at all these different colleges were listening to my stuff, the thing just caught on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:36] Wow.
Mike Posner: [00:51:38] And a--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:39] A viral success.
Mike Posner: [00:51:40] Before long record labels were contacting me, asking for meetings. So I went and I met with a bunch of different labels at the time and eventually, I met with Jay-Z also.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:54] Oh, wow! Tell me about that. That must've been like take a deep breath before you walk in the door.
Mike Posner: [00:52:01] So this story actually goes back before I met with Jay-Z, the summer before Kanye West is doing the Glow in the Dark Tour, which was an arena tour. And it was amazing, changed in my opinion, changed the way hip-hop music is performed forever after that. It was groundbreaking and he played Detroit in the summer and Sean got like 25 tickets. And so he invited a bunch, all of us, we went.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:30] Nice.
Mike Posner: [00:52:31] So we got to see this show and then I was doing an internship in New York for record label and I was just like hustling. I was taking meetings, all these different labels. I tried to sell beats to rappers because I make beats too, and nothing really worked out. And then the summer ended, I went back to Michigan, my lease ended on my apartment in New York. Actually my lease in and I don’t thinking about, but I just went back to Michigan. I was getting ready, pack up, go back to Duke. And Sean called me. He goes, “Hey, I got tickets Glow in The Dark at Madison Square Garden tomorrow. Jay-Z is probably going to be there. I can introduce you. And I go, “Man, this sounds amazing, but I'm not there anymore. I mean, I'm in Michigan now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:17] [indiscernible][
Mike Posner: [00:53:17] So phone's just kind of quiet for a little bit and I'm in college, I don't have a lot--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:27] Oh, true.
Mike Posner: [00:53:29] And I was like, “Man, I should fly back there.” And he's like, “Yeah, you should.” So I booked the flight, like you said, I made the obvious decision. I fly there. I go to the Will Call, only, hey, I have tickets here from Mike Posner. They checked the list or like no tickets here for you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:46] Oh no.
Mike Posner: [00:53:46] I'm like, “Shoot man.” So I'm like, maybe it's on this other list today. No tickets here for you. So I called Sean, “Hey man, at Will Call.” I said, “There's no tickets.” He's like, “All right, just meet me at the studio with Kanye. I'm like--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:03] Oh, even better.
Mike Posner: [00:54:05] Yeah, upgrade. I get in the car, go there. I'm with my friend George. Sean meets us downstairs, all these major studios. There's a lounge next to the studio as basically there for manager, his friends to hang out while artists are working. And so Sean goes, “Just wait in the lounge,” and he goes in the studio. Studio is the next room over. I could hear what they're listening to, they’re listening to real loud. And Kanye is there, making his next album, 808s and Heartbreak. Sean, there's other people that are signed to Kanye playing a music and then all of a sudden I hear a song that Sean and I did together. It’s called Who Knows? And I produced it and I sing the hook on it, and I'm going, “Man, Kanye West is listening to me right now.” And he was the biggest rapper in the world right at that moment. And I go, if he likes this, this change my life. This would change my life. If he likes the song. The song ends, I'll see everyone walked by the lounge to leave. I'm like, “Okay, I guess we're leaving.” I follow them. Sean's like, “Yo Kanye! This is Mike Posner. And he made the song I just played you. Kanye gives me pound. And he’s just quiet again. I built up all this courage and I go, “So man, did you like it?”
He looks at me and goes, “No.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:38] Oh!
Mike Posner: [00:55:39] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:42] Oh man!
Mike Posner: [00:55:42] I go to say is too, because I love Kanye until this day. He wasn't rude, it was just honest. I appreciate that. And then he said the coolest like metaphor I ever heard. He said, “Sorry man.” Sean bumped it. You said it. I had to spike it. Meaning Sean play me a song. You asked me if I liked it. I had to tell you the truth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:05] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [00:56:06] I'm sitting there like, “How do you think of that so quick?” And we get in the elevator. All I wanted to do is make more music. That's all I wanted to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:13] So you weren't discouraged by that? I feel like a lot of people might be like, “Oh, I don't have it.” But you got that far.
Mike Posner: [00:56:20] And he said he qualified after he say, you know that that song could maybe work for Lupe Fiasco, but it's not right for Sean, you know? No, I just felt so inspired. Yeah, I felt so inspired. I was like, man, I was in the elevator with them and I just couldn't wait to get out of it and go work more. I don't know why. I didn't have to like gear myself up or like listen to David Goggins to like change more, I just wanted to go work more.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:52] Sure.
Mike Posner: [00:56:53] Right away. I did, and then that's when I worked. I did more songs. I did my mix tape. This about eight months later, my stuff's starting to catch on and I'm taking all these meetings with different, although like companies I went to that summer when I was hustling where I was like meeting with the lowest A&R, now I'm like in that same building with the CEO or the president, and I do all these meetings. It's finals week. I come back, I'm writing this paper for sociology I’m behind on, and my manager calls. He's like, “Hey man, you got to go back to New York.” I'm like “I can't go back to New York, man.” What I needed to do is finish this paper, I'm behind. He’s like “You got to go back to New York, Jay-Z wants to meet you.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:42] Like Jay-Z, you're ruining my academic career, man.
Mike Posner: [00:57:45] I was like, “Man, don't mess with me. Don't mess with me. I didn't believe it.” He said “No, for real.” So I didn't tell anyone because I didn't think it was going to happen.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:54] Yeah. You thought you were just not going to.
Mike Posner: [00:57:56] I thought would go there and they would say, “Hey man, really sorry, Jay got busy today. We want you to meet with second in command. Here he is.” So I didn’t tell anyone. So I went to the airport, flew to New York, and sure enough, man. They've took me in his office, there was Jay-Z in the chair. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And I took my laptop out and I like fumble with the ox cords pug into his system and I played him, Cooler Than Me, and he just goes, stars nodding his head like he loved it, and we had this crazy meeting. It was like almost two hours long.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:36] Oh wow.
Mike Posner: [00:58:37] And I'm about to leave. I just had this good feeling. I was like, “Can I play you one more song?” He say, “Yeah.” So re-plugging my laptop. I played him Who Knows, the same one Kanye hear. He started nodding his head and he was like, “Man, this song is amazing. Don't ever forget to play this one.” He says “I can't believe you almost left without playing this. So I go back to Duke, I'm in the library writing my paper. I checked my email.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:07] How did you focus after that?
Mike Posner: [00:59:08] Exactly. I'm like, yeah, BSing my way through this paper in the moment of procrastination, check my email. I had an offer from Rock Nation for a record deal.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:20] Where you like, I'm not finishing this -- do you finish the paper?
Mike Posner: [00:59:23] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:25] I don’t think I could do that.
Mike Posner: [00:59:24] It was only C, I ever got in all of my schooling.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:28] I'm not surprised because after that, you’re like halfway through the middle paragraph in the end and you're like, in conclusion, I'm never going to use this. I just got an offer from Jay-Z. I'm leaving the library and I'm never coming back, send. I don't know if I could resist doing that. I don’t know if I can resist doing that.
Mike Posner: [00:59:46] I resisted doing that thankfully, but I did get a C. It’s the only C I ever got.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:52] Understand.
Mike Posner: [00:59:53] Anyways, I ended up not signing to -- I ended up saying a different record deal and that's how I got a record deal.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:59] On the note about remixing in the songs. We were talking about that before. I think if for me and again, I'm not an artist so take it with what you will, but I feel like it'd be a little bitter that I Took a Pill in Ibiza the remix has so many more plays. Like how do you feel about that? Because that has like 2 billion plays and your original song is great. And I really like it, but at some point I don’t know I'd feel a little weird that somebody else who like redid some stuff, tweaked some stuff, added their different beat that resonated with more people. That would be weird to me.
Mike Posner: [01:00:33] It's not weird to me at all. I’ll tell you why. One, we talked about at length, man, I'm a hip-hop guy, so much a hip-hop is about making something new out of something existing, sampling. We talked about mixtapes a little bit, on all my mixtapes, I remix other people's songs. I've remixed Adele, I've remixed Beyoncé, I remixed Electric Light Orchestra. I've remixed Coldplay. I remixed a bunch of different people of songs over the years, even before that, most of it before that remix. So whenever someone wants to remix my song, it's always a yes. I even take it a step further on all my albums. I released the just the vocal tracks alone. So anyone who wants to, can download them and make new music out of it. Remixing is something, sampling is an ethos I believe in. I believe Andy Warhol should be allowed to paint the Campbell Soup can, and that's art. So sometimes I'm Andy Warhol, sometimes I'm the Campbell Soup Can. I'm cool with that.
[01:01:45] I believe in remixing. On another level, when you're making art, especially that song in particular, you're taking your own suffering and trying to make some beautiful out of it. Now you write the remix sound is more upbeat and uplifting and so on. I kind of step back and look at that and go, okay, people are having a good time, having joy on my suffering. My suffering is turning into joy. That's a good thing. That's like, there's nothing more you could really ask for as artists. So I don't feel bitter about it at all. More people have heard the original and because of the remix as well. And yes, this is crazy. Can possibly ironic and I think it's cool, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:41] I think that's a really healthy attitude to have. For me, I think my first reaction would be, “Oh man, I want my version to be more popular.” And then maybe I would process it later and be cool about it.
Mike Posner: [01:02:52] His songs are so rare though, at least in my experience. All right, thousands of songs and I've had, now I've had six hit songs. Six songs.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:03] That's a lot.
Mike Posner: [01:03:04] Six songs that I've sold over a million, if you can quantify a hit.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:09] Do you have a Platinum records in your conversion van or do you keep them at your mom's house?
Mike Posner: [01:03:12] I keep them in the room I grew up in--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:15] That's good.
Mike Posner: [01:03:17] In Michigan, on the wall.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:18] I’d be afraid to have that in my own house.
Mike Posner: [01:03:20] I think is just cool.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:21] It is cool.
Mike Posner: [01:03:22] Well I'll tell you I don't like to keep them in my own house in this because they freak out young artists because they used to freak me out.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:31] Like if someone comes over to [indiscernible]
Mike Posner: [01:03:33] I remember being young artist before I had a plaque, I go into the studio with a certain producer, songwriter, and this plaques everywhere. I just felt really intimidated and I didn't feel comfortable and it didn't help me right to be at my best. So I don't like to keep them around and freak out if I'm working with the young artists.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:50] It like adds pressure.
Mike Posner: [01:03:52] I think so.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:53] This is who you're dealing with right now.
Mike Posner: [01:03:54] And if they have an imposter syndrome, like we talked about earlier, flares that up in a second. That was my own experience. So I've tried to just, this is not where I make music. The plaques are somewhere else. Anyways, it's just such a small percentage of the music I make. That when it happens that something catches on, comes really popular. I'm just grateful for it. I'm not like, “No, I should have happened this way. It should have been this production on it.” I mean this is great. This is cool to me. People know that, that many people know that song.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:30] Yeah, that's a good point. I like that attitude. Very positive. It looks on the bright side of each of these occurrences and now that I think about it, there's more bright than there is anything else. You're right, you can't just insist that these things happen your way. That's ridiculous. To get success and then also have it be like, “No, this is how I want to get my success.” It's a little greedy, right? Energetically.
Mike Posner: [01:04:50] Yeah. I believe energetically you can prevent it from coming by doing that. And I believe I actually--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:58] Sure.
Mike Posner: [01:04:58] I believe I actually was doing that for a year or two when I'm first made I Took a Pill in Ibiza, the original one. I was just very like closed off. It's going to happen this way, whatever. I remember a manager, he like in a moment of premonition, he goes, “I have this vision, man, of going in night club and they're playing a version of that song.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:21] No kidding. Wow.
Mike Posner: [01:05:22] Yeah. I go, “Yeah, whatever, man.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:25] You're acoustic. He's like, “No, no, no. I have to remix it or something.” Right?
Mike Posner: [01:05:29] I'm like, whatever. And then it happened and I'll tell you what I believe, and this could just be coincidence, but I stopped worrying about it and what I did was I started working on my group. I have a group called Mansionz with Blackbear. And so I just forgot about my own music for like eight months. And I went fully over focusing into Mansionz, and when we finished The Mansionz Album, I looked up and I Took a Pill in Ibiza was blowing up, and I think of, part of it was I wasn't there like worrying about with.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:05] To mess with it.
Mike Posner: [01:06:05] To mess with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:05] Yeah. I feel that way too in a lot of sentiments. Like get away from it. Don't screw it up. Don't screw it. Don't try to interfere with what's happening. Let it run its course.
Mike Posner: [01:06:13] Totally.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:15] As a musician, do you ever get tired of playing like the same songs? Is it ever like, ‘Oh hey man, we want you to make sure you get that one track,” and you're like, “Oh, I don't know. I want to play this again.” Do you ever get sick of that?
Mike Posner: [01:06:27] It happened a few times, but for the most part it feels pretty good. I still like most of my music that I decided to put out.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:37] Sure.
Mike Posner: [01:06:37] Most of the mediocre stuff I feel like I've been good about, not putting it out. It's like way more songs that haven't put out then than I have. The only ones that right now I've have a few songs that feel like really a misogynistic to me that I wrote that I won't sing right now. I just feel like--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:05] Interesting. So your mood changed and you sort of pack--
Mike Posner: [01:07:08] It’s like Eric Clapton doesn't sing Cocaine anymore. That's how it feels to me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:13] I could see that. Yeah. Different era of your life, right?
Mike Posner: [01:07:16] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:16] You want to sunset it. Do you ever go up there and like, you're like tired or something and you go, “Oh crap, I forgot the words.” I mean it's your own song, but it's got to happen sometimes.
Mike Posner: [01:07:28] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:29] Yeah? What do you do?
Mike Posner: [01:07:32] And that's the freestyle background, and so I’ll just--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:36] Remix.
Mike Posner: [01:07:36] Yeah, just write new words as I'm going.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:39] That's pretty awesome because I would imagine people are singing along and they're like, “Wait, wait, Whoa.”
Mike Posner: [01:07:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:46] And do you let people know that you forgot that you're like, I'm just trying something else. I'm trying something new.
Mike Posner: [01:07:50] Usually if it's just in the middle of a song, it's not even worth like stop until.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:56] Yeah, of course.
Mike Posner: [01:07:58] Making it a moment.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:00] It's so funny because I'm thinking, yeah, you wrote the song. Yeah, you rehearsed it a thousand times, but some days you get up and you can't remember what city you're in and you’re two hours of sleep and it's late at night and you haven't eaten and you're just like, “Did I already sing that verse already? I can't remember. How long has this track? I got to go. I have half a second to think of what's happening next.” And yeah, you've got to pull out white Lil’ Bow Wow. It's got to make an appearance real quick.
Mike Posner: [01:08:26] Yeah, totally.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:29] I know you're really big on self-care right now too. Like you've been meditating and you're doing all kinds of, you mentioned the conversion van, the getting rid of possessions. Now you're on this walk.
Mike Posner: [01:08:37] I'm not yet.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:38] Or you're about to be out to be on the water.
Mike Posner: [01:08:40] I have to be out on the water. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:41] Why are you doing this? I know that's the obvious question, but why?
Mike Posner: [01:08:46] We all have a list of things that we want to do when we're done doing what we have to do. And for me, man, I'd just been around at a dose of death in the last few years to remind me, “Hey, you think you have forever to get to that list. You don't.” So my dad die then Avicii die and then a Mac Miller die recently, and this is on my list. I'm going to do it. Reminded me, “Hey, I'm going to die one day too.” But until then I want to live, man. I want to live my life and this is something I want to do. It's on my list, so I'm doing it. I was like, what's on your list? Go do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:32] Yeah. I think a big lesson for me this year has been learning how to say no is a skill. I would imagine you had to learn that skill as well.
Mike Posner: [01:09:42] Yeah. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:43] Because a lot of people want you to do a lot of things. “Hey, can we get another hit? Hey man, can you do a tour? Hey, do you have another album in you?” And you're like, “Hey, I'm going to go for a long ass walk.”
Mike Posner: [01:09:52] Very long.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:53] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [01:09:53] Yeah, yeah, and there's a motto that sort of laid out for me, which is “Record, tour. Record, tour.” And the way that motto came to be was that a yields the most profits. And so I just had to take a step back and realize, “Hey, does my lifestyle match who I am as a human?” Not really. It's kind of the lifestyle that matched what my goals were when I was 21.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:25] Yeah.
Mike Posner: [01:10:25] So let me readjust, and let me make it match, and let me, like when I was 15 have, who I am as an artist and who I am as a human be the same thing, and so that's what I'm doing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:43] Mike, thank you very much for coming by with your limping busted foot.
Mike Posner: [01:10:48] Thanks, man. Have you heard my? I have a song called Move On. Have you heard it?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:51] No.
Mike Posner: [01:10:52] I have a song goes, “If I want to boot on.” And have a remix to it. It goes. “Now I've got my boot on, boot on, boot on, boot on. So I told the doctor we're just adding to the legend now, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:06] That's right. We're going to have to add that to your discography on Wikipedia.
Mike Posner: [01:11:09] Kill this thing up! Start the walk and I'll see you in 10 months right here.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:15] That's right. Or maybe in Seaholm for your concert.
Mike Posner: [01:11:18] Negative, wait maybe. Yeah. Maybe I would just stop by. Thank you, Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:23] Thank you, man.
Mike Posner: [01:11:24] Good to meet you, bro.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:26] Jason , Mike was super cool, right? He looks a little bit like Tom Hanks from Castaway now if you've seen that.
Jason DeFilippo: [01:11:32] Yeah, he does. He totally does. And walking across the country is something I've always wanted to do. It's been on my bucket list forever and I'm glad he's doing it, but I just can't anymore because I broke my leg and can't walk. But I'm jealous. I'm supremely jealous. Maybe I'll like get in the car and run out for like a bit and do a little walk with him, I think because that'd be fun.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:54] Yeah, for everyone. In fact, if you follow him on social media, you can join his walk or segments of his walk. They're toying with the idea of being able to do that. They haven't quite figured out the logistics of this, but if you follow him, especially I think on Instagram, they're going to try to do a map that updates and show people where they can meet and join them for part of the walk. I'm thinking about doing the same thing as well. We actually really clicked. We've been texting a little bit, and by the way, there really was a pill in Ibiza. The story behind that, the short version is he was hanging out with Avicii because they had just done a collaboration and Avicii who sadly has since passed away from stuffs that they're not really talking about, but probably having to do with a lot of the substance stuff that he was talking about, a lot at the time. He decided, screw it, I'm not busy right now. You know, I just did a collab. I'm in Ibiza because of Avicii’s working there. I don't have anything to do. So he was drinking and then some guy in the crowd, if it was like, “Hey, are you Mike Poser?” He's like, “Yeah.” And he goes, “You want a pill?” And the guy, he was like, “Screw it.” So he takes this pill and he just trips balls and then when--
Jason DeFilippo: [01:13:02] I thought you’re going to say tripping balls.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:03] Yeah, on the comedown he was like, “This sucks. I feel terrible.” And so that was part of the inspiration for this song, which the original mix for this was not this hype dance mix. It was like this sad acoustic song about how life is empty. And ironic that it's now this Anthem that's one of the top dance hits, party hits of the entire year, last year.
Jason DeFilippo: [01:13:26] That’s crazy.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:26] Yeah. And a one thing we talked about post show, pre-show, I can't even remember now when this was off Mike, I should say. One, Tom Hanks has said, “You should definitely do this walk across the country.” How cool was that? Forrest Gump himself and said--
Jason DeFilippo: [01:13:41] Forrest Gump. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:41] “Hey, you should go and do this,” which is probably what was in -- he did that in the movie. And the other thing is, Mike says that he often would get jealous of his friends back in the day when he heard good news about them. I really related to this because a lot of us struggle with this and it's been something that I've worked on for a long time. And then my practical advice on fighting this is when you feel that pang of jealousy or envy, I should say, think of positives about your friend and give them props in public and in private. So if you're like, “Oh man, they got this deal, I should be getting this deal. Why aren't I getting this deal? I'm a little jealous.” Remember that, that's normal. Then think, well, this person's a great person. I'm glad that it happened to them, and then write them a little note like, “Hey, I heard about your book deal. Congratulations. You're awesome. You've worked really hard. You deserve this.” That will make you feel a lot better because it strengthens your relationship with them, which puts you sort of closer to their success if you look at it that way. But also you feel great passing along that positivity so you're not just thinking positive, you're passing along the positive energy and trust me, they'll appreciate it because they're probably getting that. They're feeling that envy from other people and it sucks actually, right? Because a lot of their good friends are probably like, “Nah, whatever. I don't care.” And they're not sharing in that. So to having someone to share in that with that, that basket, that glory, it helps you and it helps them. So if you feel that and you're something you're dealing with, go ahead and try that. Trust me, it will help you. It helped me a lot.
[01:15:13] Great big thank you to Mike Posner for coming on the show today. If you want to know how I managed to get all these great guests and manage all these great relationships with people, it's about the systems. It's about tiny habits. Check out our Six Minute Networking Course. It does replace LevelOne and it's also free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course, and don't say you'll do it later. It takes six minutes a day and five minute networking was taken. So go and do it. It's just going to be compounded interest on all of these relationships. You will thank me later. I wish I knew all this stuff a long time ago, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:15:48] Speaking to building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Mike Posner. I'm @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram and there's a video of the interview on our YouTube channel at JordanHarbinger.com/youtube.
[01:16:01] The show is produced in association with PodcastOne, and this episode was co-produced by Jason “I Took a Pill in the Valley,” DeFilippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. The feed for the show is the share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So share the show with those you love and share the show with those you don't. We've got a lot more in the pipeline. Very excited for what's to come. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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