Meet Mike Posner: College Student By Day, Major-Label Artist By Night

Young singer will get his degree from Duke and release his debut LP next year.

As an up-and-coming recording artist, Mike Posner has to be a student of the music game. But what separates him from most others is that he remains a college student too — even though he's already been signed to a major label. A senior at Duke, Mike spends weekdays in the classroom and weekends touring the country as a singer. It's a double life many would love to have but few could probably handle. (He even found time to face off against OJ Da Juiceman on the "Big Buck Safari" video game in MTV News' offices.)

It all started at age 13 when Mike first began making beats, and soon after that he turned his talents to producing tracks for other artists. Around 18 months ago, he found himself writing material he "couldn't see anyone else singing," and not long after that he released his first mixtape. Not long after that, labels started taking notice. He even took a meeting with Jay-Z during the week of his spring-semester finals but ended up signing a deal with J Records.

Mike could have easily decided to drop out of school and concentrate on music, but he "wanted to be an example for people out there, that you finish things that you start," he told MTV News. He also admitted that "a lot of it came from my mother — I was scared to tell her 'I'm done.' "

So as he continues to work on his debut album, Mike looks forward to graduating with a degree in sociology and business next June. How will he accomplish all this?

"There's a lot of homework that gets done on planes, a lot of sleepless nights," he said, adding that Duke University has played a big part in his being able to handle it all. "These people have all been on the journey with me and helped me to get to where I'm at, from the professors to the students and to the administration — they all know my story and they're supportive."

His college experience is also reflected in his music and will feature prominently on his album, which he said is about "50 percent" finished. As for the flavor of the album, he calls it "pop without the guilt: It's the CD you can listen to with your homies and then, when you drop them off and you pick up your girl, you can leave my CD in."

Mike Posner has a lot to look forward to in 2010. If all goes according to plan, he'll earn his degree from Duke and release his first album. And who knows? Maybe he'll earn a master's degree while working on his second album. ...