Mike Posner's hit song "Cooler Than Me" is about a snobby girl who thinks she's better than him, but with the smash success of his album 31 Minutes To Takeoff, chances are she's changed her mind. As the video for his second single, "Please Don't Go," premieres exclusively on the iTunes store, the 22-year-old Duke University graduate talked to In Touch about having his song sung badly on X Factor, how Jay-Z personally brought down his GPA and why he doesn't mind the Justin Timberlake comparisons.
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In Touch: You recently had a pop culture rite of passage when contestant Cher Lloyd, who was sick, messed up on your song on X Factor.
Mike: (laughs) I feel bad — I just want to give her a hug! Everybody has had bad performances.
IT: Your album cut about a cheating ex, "Cheated" — which contains the lyrics "I should've cheated on you/I was everything you wanted and more/Nobody told me I was dating a whore" — is already generating controversy. You even dedicate it to Caroline Stevens. What was the catalyst for that song?
M: You know what the catalyst was for that one! I have no words about that girl. The song speaks for itself. She deserved it!
IT: You've had some famous fans among your early endorsers. Were you particularly bugged out to find out someone you were a fan of who was also a fan of yours?
M: The first one was when I was still a junior at Duke University. I was in finals week and my manager called me and said, "You've got to get back to New York." And I was like "Why?" I was just in New York, I'd taken a bunch of meetings — my mix-tape had been out for a couple months and it was doing well. My manager said, "You've gotta go back because Jay-Z wants to take a meeting with you." I was like, "I don't believe you man, Shut up! Jay-Z doesn't know who I am.” He said, "Just get on this plane and you'll find out." So I flew back to New York and went into the room with him and tried not to do too much talking, just put on my music as fast as I could. He just started nodding his head so hard. The next day, I was back at Duke, working on my last paper of the year in the library and I checked my email and there was an offer for a record deal. That was probably the craziest one — after that, I got a little bit jaded! Needless to say, I didn't finish that paper as strongly as I should have. I got the only "C" of my academic career because of Jay-Z!
IT: You've been compared a lot to Justin Timberlake. What do you make of that?
M: Here's the thing: About three or four years ago, I grew a beard when I wasn't really doing anything with my music — and girls at Duke started saying I looked like Justin Timberlake. And I was like, "I'll take that!" Obviously he's one of the heavyweights in music. He makes amazing music. He’s accomplished a lot, so it's a comparison that I don't feel like I deserve yet. At the same time, if anyone listens to my album, within 30 seconds, they'll realize that they're hearing something they haven't heard before — my music doesn't sound like anybody else's.