Mike Posner Talks Spoken-Word Album, Born From 'Transcendent' Moments On Tour

Meredith Truax
Mike Posner

"It was a vain attempt to impress my bandmates and keep up with their musicianship," he says of his writing exercise.

After taking six years between his first two albums, Mike Posner has turned into something of a nonstop creative factor.

His new album -- the spoken-word I was born in detroit on a very, very, very, very, very, very, very cold day -- comes out Friday following 2016's At Night, Alone and last year's debut album by Mansionz, his collaboration with blackbear, and the poetry book Tear Drops and Balloons. And Posner is already back in the studio working on his next album -- "And very excited about that too," he tells Billboard.

"I've got a lot of great songs and I'm working on getting the recordings as good as I think the songs are, 'cause those things last forever," says Posner, who's enlisted Ricky Reed to help "polish up" the new tracks. "I have the songs written and some of them are close to all the way [finished], and some are demos or things I'm playing on my guitar." Once he has some finished recordings, Posner says he and Reed "will decide if any of them warrant features."

Posner may preview some of the new material during an upcoming residency at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile he's excited to let fans hear I was born in detroit..., a collection of poems he created on the road during 2016. Each of the 13 introspective pieces was created especially for a specific show -- some on the spot onstage -- and were selected from the 66 that Posner crafted during the tour. "It was a vain attempt to impress my bandmates and keep up with their musicianship," says Posner, who called the process "terrifying." "The things they'd do in rehearsal would just routinely blow me away, whether it was the way they soloed or different grooves they would play. I felt like I had to start writing things each day to impress them and to keep up. It was kind of like writing push-ups for me to do that. In the past, I often won't write on the road as much, so it was a good way for me to keep exercising and also a way to make each show special. The audiences each night were hearing a piece for that night only and probably would never be done again live."

Posner adds that the spoken-word performances were "at moments transcendent. At times it would address and cut through the script that runs through a concert. If we were really doing a good job, we would cut all the way through that and experience a real moment with each other and with the audience when everyone was really just present and actually there, together, connecting."

Posner is considering releasing the rest of the pieces via YouTube. He also predicts he'll publish another poetry book in the future but won't hazard a guess as to when.

"People ask me, 'Which one do you enjoy more: the music or the poetry?' But it's not much of a distinction for me," Posner says. "It's all just water and it's coming out of different faucets. I'm just being creative and expressing myself, and it shows up in different ways on different days."