A few years ago, Mike Posner worked as an unpaid intern at a radio station. Back then, he would go home and tell his mom, "I'm going to the basement to work" on songwriting.
His mom would say: "That's not work. You need to get a real job."
Then one day, Posner signed a deal with a record label. And he went home and told his mom once again, "I'm going to the basement to work."
But this time, she said, "OK."
"I was like: Rite of passage! Ding-ding-ding!" Posner says happily.
Now Posner, 22, has a hit pop and dance song, "Cooler Than Me." He'll play it at his all-ages show Saturday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay (6 p.m., $26). (His opening act, Far East Movement, will perform its hit dance remix, "Like a G6.")
Posner didn't even want to be a singer at first. He just wanted to be a songwriter and producer.
Just two years ago, he was earning a sociology degree at Duke University (he graduated in December), and he was trying to sell songs and beats to record companies. They said, "No thanks."
"So it was my failure as a producer and songwriter that forced me to start singing," Posner says.
"I realized no one would ever hear my songs if I didn't take ownership of them and start singing."
One of the first songs he wrote in his dorm was "Cooler Than Me."
"People never believe that was made on a shaky microphone with my textbooks looking back at me, but it was," he says.
Now here he is in Vegas for his House of Blues headlining gig. Later Saturday night, he performs a few songs at club Blush's three-year anniversary.
He has never partied in Vegas, he says.
"I'm gonna have to make up for it with one trip and have one epic night!"
Pre-sightings: Self-described "midget wrestlers" from Spike TV's "Half Pint Brawlers" wrestle at the Silverton tonight (8 p.m., $20-$30). Mexican soccer legend Claudio Suarez does a meet-and-greet with fans 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Tequila Bar and Grill at Bally's.
Quote out: "I found out not only was he a murderer, he left his wife's body in the attic for a month until she mummified!" -- Margaret Cho on a guy she once loved (in my interview in today's Neon). She performs tonight at the Palms ($35-$55).
Doug Elfman's column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.