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Mike Posner brings high energy to Iowa City


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At the age of 22, Mike Posner has released two well-received mix tapes, traveled across the United States playing soldout shows, and signed a major contract with RCA/Sony Records.

On top of that, the pop singer/songwriter somehow found the time to attend Duke University and graduate last December with a degree in sociology and a self-proclaimed minor in “traveling around the world rocking shows” — which, he said, involved doing a lot of homework on planes.

“Financially, I was OK. I had a job and was making more than my professors at that point … more than my parents,” he said. “But my parents and a lot of people in my family sacrificed a lot for me to have the opportunity to go to a school such as Duke … So for me, to complete three years and then not finish would be kind of a slap in the face to them.”

The musician, known for his wild one-man performances, will be at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave., at 7 p.m. today with Minneapolis beat-boxer Heatbox.

“At my shows, I’ve created an environment where if you’re not going crazy, then you’re the odd man out,” Posner said. “It’s like the craziest house party you’ve ever been to, but bigger.”

He became famous shortly after releasing his mix tapes (A Matter of Time and One Foot Out the Door) for free through a loophole on iTunes U (iTunes does not usually allow signed artists to release music for free on its service), on which he sang pop-music vocal hooks over samples of beats from artists such as Kid Cudi, Big Sean, and Beyoncé.

These mix tapes got him the attention of several label reps, including Jay-Z of Roc Nation and Marty Bandier of RCA/Sony. For most college students, these meetings might have been overwhelming, but not for Posner, who had experience promoting his music.

“I know how to rock a meeting, you know what I’m saying?” the artist said. “When I walk into a meeting, it’s the same thing when I walk into the classroom, it’s the same thing when I walk into the studio, it’s the same thing when I walk onto the stage. I expect to succeed. Every time.”

Posner’s music grew in popularity across college campuses, including the UI, where the independent promotional company Live Weekend, LLC, approached Blue Moose manager Josh Ivey to make the sold out concert happen.

UI senior Destiny Dodge said she first heard Posner’s song “Drug Dealer Girl,” while driving to San Diego with a friend.

“After hearing the song, I wanted to hear what else [Posner] had put out,” she said. “His music seems to be infectious and everyone who hears it needs to know who he is and why they are just now finding out about him. I love all of his tracks and can’t wait for an actual CD.”

Posner is putting the finishing touches on his big-budget début album, with all original beats. It has a late-summer release date.

“I want it to be perfect … and it’s almost there,” the artist said. “If you like my mix tapes, my album is 500 times better.”

Despite Posner’s upcoming stops on the Vans Warped Tour, the songwriter still plans on returning to Duke to attend the graduation ceremony in May.

“My parents are coming down, and I’ll do the whole thing with the cap and gown,” he said. “I’m proud of what I did now.”

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