If Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mike Posner can walk across the country, you can at least dance in your living room, and his latest single is your inspiring you to do just that.
The musician, producer and poet grew up in Detroit and started his journey in music by producing records for his friend and fellow Detroit man Big Sean. While releasing his own music, Posner began producing and writing music for other artists including Nick Jonas, Pharrell Williams, 2Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, and more. He even co-wrote “Sugar” by Maroon 5 and “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber.
Posner’s music took on a life of its own with hit singles “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” “Cooler Than Me,” and “Please Don’t Go,” all of which reached high marks on the Billboard charts. To date, Posner has four albums, a collaborative LP with blackbear, four mixtapes, and two poetry albums under his belt.
Outside of music, Posner walked across the United States in 2019, clocking in more than 3,000 miles by foot alone. In June 2021, Posner climbed and reached the top of Mount Everest. Now, he's teaming with Clif Bar & Company to inspire musical movement in others.
In a collaboration with Clif, Posner released a song titled “Amor Fati,” but you've got to listen to it on your mobile device by scanning the QR Code found at clifremixinmotion.com. There, you can listen to “Amor Fati,” but in order for it to play, you have to move your body. The more you move, the more the song changes, speeding up, slowing down, adding and removing insturments. You truly make the song.
"Clif Remix in Motion uses your smartphone’s accelerometer to detect motion," Clif Senior Brand Manager Blaire Woloz says. "As you move, you will unlock segments of 'Amor Fati' and two exclusive remixes. If you stop, the accelerometer will detect that you aren’t moving, and the song will wind down and remove instrument layers. As your movement picks back up, the song will build again. The Clif Remix in Motion experience will be the same for different types of movement, but you must keep moving—in whatever way brings you joy—to unlock the remixes and complete the experience."
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Posner to talk about this collaboration with Clif, his accomplishments, his music and more.
Does movement play a role in your creative process when making music?
For sure, I wouldn’t say explicitly, like not while I’m writing, but it’s a part of my daily life. Essentially, my job is to quiet the voice that’s always talking in my head and let wherever the ideas come from come through. Movement is a big part of that for me. I move pretty much everyday, whether it’s running or biking or yoga. Those seem to be my flavors of choice lately. That pipeline to wherever the ideas come from, it’s just cleaner when you’re healthy. It’s clearer and de-minded, and the thinking mind is more easily quieted when movement is a part of my life. Indirectly, it’s a part of my creative process. Sometimes, I get a lot of ideas while I’m riding or something, with the endorphins.
What was the journey like walking across the country in 2019? How did the idea come about?
The idea came about five years before I did the walk. I was visiting my friend Teeny in her jewelry shop in Los Angeles, and I just heard her say to someone that her friend walked across America. I was pulled into her conversation and said “What?” She said “Yeah, my friend just walked across America." I said “You can do that?” She said “I guess, he just did it.” I didn’t quite know it at the time, but my life was sort of already, in that moment, caught in a gravitational pull of the walk ... I started it myself five years after that moment.
The walk itself—it’s hard to put into a soundbite, in such a long journey, so much happening in six months and three days. Everything from beautiful, deep moments of ceremony on the Navajo Nation, to almost losing my life to a snake bite. It changed my life, on every plane: external plane like what I thought I was capable of doing and accomplishing, it blew that apart; and the internal plane, like who I thought I was. It changed everything.
I read that you climbed Mount Everest to raise money for the Detroit Justice Center earlier this year. Can you describe that experience, and why was raising money so important to you?
The inspiration [for] that idea was the walk. When I was just talking about [how] it blew apart what I thought I was capable of. I read Into Thin Air about Mount Everest, but I never thought it was something I could do until I did the walk. I was in the Rocky Mountains and I thought “I could really do that. I don’t know anything about climbing, and I have no misconceptions that it is going to be easy. In fact, it’s probably going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s going to be horrible, and I have to suffer a lot to go from someone who knows nothing about climbing to someone who’s going to climb the tallest mountain in the world.”
The walk itself was a suffer-fest, so I learned that I was capable of that. I could do it. So that was the inspiration. I started to dream about it, and then when I finished the walk, it started to mutate from a dream into a plan.
The reason I wanted to raise money for the Detroit Justice Center is my father, who passed away about four years ago. He was a criminal defense attorney in Detroit. The Detroit Justice Center does great work for criminal justice reform, and the work they do is something I care about deeply. It’s a way for me to honor my father simultaneously.
Everest was cool. That’s why doing this partnership with Clif is so cool, because the higher you go on Mount Everest, your appetite really disappears. It’s really hard to get food down, but getting calories in and energy is important because you’re burning maybe 10,000 calories a day. I relied a lot on the Clif shots, the gels that had caffeine. That’s really the only thing I ate. It got me through going to the summit and back down. When the opportunity came to work with them on something movement based, that was a really cool opportunity for me.
Can you tell us more about “Amor Fati” and your collaboration with Clif? How did this collaboration come about?
The gist of it is Clif created the in-motion app and incorporated a new, exclusive song of mine into it so the more the user moves—whether they’re dancing or running, whatever their movement is—the more elements of my new song “Amor Fati” are unlocked. Eventually, some remixes are unlocked. It was just a really cool way for me to share my music in a new way that I’ve never done before and encourage people to be healthier. It’s a win-win-win-win-win.
What are you currently working on? Are there any new projects in the works?
I make music everyday, I’m writing a lot with other artists, helping them with their projects, helping them realize the sound that they hear in their heads. I’m up to that a lot. I’m also just starting to do some speaking where I just share my stories from the walk and the climb, before and after, and some other things as well.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me means presence. Presence to me means being without thinking. Most of our lives, we sort of slice up reality with thinking, categorizing, analyzing, planning, dwelling in the past and worrying about the future. That’s sort of like putting on really, really dark sunglasses that dull reality. Presence, or no thinking, is like taking those sunglasses off and seeing reality, being with reality in all of its glory. Success to me is the more I can be without being someplace else in my head.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make music?
There’s really no advice to give. If music calls to you and is in your heart, [then] it grabs you, it uses you. If you’re trying to manufacture some love for it or to use music to make yourself popular or something, I have no advice for you. It grabs you or it doesn’t.
Let the music grab you and explore Posner's "Amor Fati" now via clifremixinmotion.com.
Photography by: Courtesy Clif Bar