Mike Posner Graduates From Duke University, Shifts Focus To Music Career

By Allen Starbury  |  04/12/2010

Mike PosnerWe featured him as a rising artist in May 2009, and then three months later, he inked a deal with J Records, thanks to the response from one mixtape, titled A Matter of Time (get it now over at MikePosner.com).

Today, Mike Posner is one of the most promising music acts to emerge in 2010. However, it was a grind. All through 2009, while creating a buzz in the music biz, he was enrolled at Duke University, trying to juggle both education and his musical ambitions.

The singer finally graduated this December, earning a degree in Sociology and Business. We caught up with Mike recently to speak about his time in college while gaining ground as a musician, where he explained why he chose to finish his studies, even though he had landed a major recording contract months earlier.

It was Mike's family that motivated him, because they made sacrifices before just to get him into the prestigious school, so he wanted to make sure he took full advantage.

"I went back to school to get my degree after getting my deal, because I just wanted to make my mom proud, and honestly, I would've probably been like kicked outta my family if I didn't," Mike told BallerStatus.com last week with a laugh. "A lot of people in my family sacrificed a lot for me to be able to go to a school like Duke. A lot of people don't get that privilege. I was really close to finishing, so I decided to finish."

Duke was Mike's launching pad. If you search Youtube for the singer's performances at the school, it's clear how much the kids on campus supported him. The singer says his music circulated around Duke strictly through word of mouth, a feat he's very proud of.

But despite his on-campus success, his peers didn't treat him like a celebrity he admits. In fact, some didn't even know what he looked like. It was the music that they gravitated toward more than looks or any kind of gimmick.

"Duke is kinda like home base. I was there three years before my stuff started picking up. They were the first people to support my music," Mike explained. "People really didn't look at me like 'Oh here's a celebrity on campus.' They just looked at me as Mike. They took ownership of my success, as they should.

"One of the most beautiful things about my whole project was that for three or four months after putting out the mixtape (A Matter of Time), I would do shows and people wouldn't know what I looked like," he added. "Like I could walk right up to the stage and nobody would know who the f*** I am until I started singing. The reason for that is that they liked me for my music, not how I looked or any kind of gimmick or anything. I couldn't be more proud that."

While Mike obviously loved his college experience, he admits that there were some downsides to being a full-time student and buzzing musician at the same time. One problem, in particular, was the busy schedule. As a student with a full load of classes on his hands, he was unable to take full advantage of shows he could've booked around the country.

He did pull it off though ... on the weekends.

"Once I finished, now I can really do tours. This summer I'm doing the Warped Tour. In the fall, I could only do stuff on the weekends," Mike said.

That's all over now though. As he revealed, he'll be dedicating his time to touring now, and is already on the bill for the 2010 Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off on June 25th in California. For full list of dates and/or for pre-sale tickets, visit VansWarpedTour.com.

Mike is hard at work on his debut album, which he says is expected to drop this summer. Until then, download both of his mixtapes, A Matter of Time and One Foot out the Door, on his official website, MikePosner.com.