After watching the show it was clear that Mike Posner is in the midst of a personal transformation both internally and musically — One that you can date back from before he even started making music.
He openly talked about struggling with depression throughout his life, and revealed that “Save Your Goodbye” off the first album was about depression, and not a girl like most thought. He explains that even after making it as an artist, having his songs on the radio, and making lots of money — there were still feelings of un-fulfillment left lurking within him. Therefore save your goodbye to depression, because something from the unconscious keeps bringing it back.
Mike Posner “Save Your Goodbye”
Mike’s early career had a strong focus on making it as an artist, and his early songs channeled a more dorm room college party vibe. There was a clear vision of ‘I can make my dreams a reality’, especially after his Detroit homie Big Sean got signed to G.O.O.D. Music.
Before he started singing as late as age 20, there were plenty of obstacles Mike had to overcome until solidifying the conviction within himself that he can achieve his dreams. In this interview Mike talks about how no one believed in him, no one wanted to buy his beats, and all doors he actively sought to open were closed in his face. This kind of external rejection can stop you dead in your tracks, unless your inner vision is strong enough to keep the dream alive.
Mike Posner “Started From The Bottom” (Remix) ft. Asher Roth, T Mills, Chuck Inglish, King Chip
So with no one to depend on but himself, he started from the bottom and overcame the challenges that took him to the top — by creating out of love. He was in a creative G Spot while making that music in college, because he was doing it out of the love of self expression. There was no where to go but up, and there was no pressure to make a certain kind of music. He was making music that sounded good to him, over his own beats that no one wanted. He had nothing to lose, no one to help him, and a clear creative focus on achieving his dreams a.k.a. turning the pages from his notebook into real life.
But after achieving all his dreams, and now living them — it seemed that the depression he saved his goodbye for had come back. ’31 Minutes To Takeoff’ definitely had that vibe where Mike was working through new inhibitions that his unconscious was ready to confront him with. Now that there were no more burning accomplishments left to drive him, it was much easier to see what was left to be transformed within. Mike is already such a positive ray of sunshine that it may not seem like he has any demons, but if your happiness is dependent on your goals, your accomplishments, and your material possessions — then what are you going to do if all that is taken away or forgotten? Where will your happiness and stability come from?
These are the new types of challenges Mike seemed to be facing in order to reinvent himself as the more authentic Self he was discovering himself to be. He was no longer college Mike trying to make it big, and at the same time not totally sure what he was becoming nor where to take it. His debut album seemed to express some of these feelings, and was part of the process of his reinvention into the artist I believe we will see on his upcoming sophomore album ‘Pages’ – due this Fall of 2014.
After watching the Unplugged Tour at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, and hearing a few of the potential new records from ‘Pages’, I feel that Mike has begun to answer that question of where his inner stability and happiness comes from, with the record “My Light”.
Mike Posner “My Light”
“My Light” talks about happiness coming from within yourself, and not anything outside of you. I believe that we give meaning to our circumstances, and it’s through the meaning we give that’ll determine the outcome we’ll get back. Stability comes from knowing that the power is always in your hands — even if the circumstances look very negative, you always have the power to give them a positive meaning. That way you can always be at peace inside yourself regardless of what is happening in your outer world. That is the power of you, your light, and my light!
‘Pages’ is exciting to me because it will echo many of Mike’s newly discovered truths from his life’s notebook, and share them with the world in an unfiltered and poetic kind of way expressing his reinvented self.
Some themes that I’ve noticed at the show of this newly defined self I speak of is: a stronger desire to help others, gratitude for all of life’s experiences, an honest look at his own fears, and most importantly his inspirational motto of Love, Relate, and Inspire.
To further elaborate, Mike has teamed up with the Food Bank for New York City, and vowed to donate a meal to a child in need for every album sold. He wants his music to help people not only feed their souls, but their stomachs as well.
Throughout the tour he talks about how grateful he is to each individual city and his fans there, even writing a personal letter expressing that gratitude on twitter. During the unplugged set, he also talked about gratitude for his family, his friends, and even his challenging disbelievers.
There was even an elegant 3-verse spoken word poem called “Gratitude” that he performed dedicated to his teacher Mr. Z for telling him he ain’t shit, to his Uncle Fred who believed in him, and to his Dad who inspired him. He said he was grateful for every experience that shaped him to be the person he is today.
Mike Posner “Gratitude Poem for Mom”
And while being grateful, he also performed songs that revealed some of his own fears that he’s still working on overcoming and letting go like in the records “Sad Songs” and “It’s Not That Simple” below.
Mike Posner “Sad Songs”
Mike Posner “It’s Not That Simple”
But throughout the whole performance he most highlighted his new motto, and most likely the motto for this new album and reinvented self: Love, Relate, Inspire. That was the general theme of the night, which was emphasized by his incredible talent to perform with dynamic vocal ranges, comedic commentary with the audience, real ass moments of truth, and a hype party sendoff to close the night.
So in the end Mike may not have everything all figured out, but being a longtime fan since the beginning of his music career, I know I’m excited to see how he’ll end up expressing and reinventing himself next on the upcoming album ‘Pages’ and beyond!
Mike himself said it best that night though “I still haven’t found where I belong, but I can write one hell of a song!”
True that Mike. True.