Salem Ilese and Mike Posner
Photo Credit: Austin Cieszko

EXCLUSIVE: Salem Ilese Chats About “Howling at the Moon”

Salem Ilese is one of the fasting growing artists in the music industry right now on both social media and streaming platforms. She continues to capture the attention of new listeners around the world with her remarkably unique songwriting and intricate production. Her latest single, “Howling at the Moon,” in collaboration with Mike Posner, instantly became a fan-favorite after its release earlier this year. Now, fans are eagerly waiting for new music as the “PS5” singer continues to tease her debut album aimed for release later this year. In an exclusive interview with CelebMix, Salem Ilese opens up about collaborating with Mike Posner, the music video for “Howling at the Moon,” and more.

What can you tell us about your new collaboration, “Howling at the Moon” with Mike Posner, and how that all came together? 

“Howling at the Moon” is very special to me. We actually wrote the song a year ago. It was my first session with Mike Posner and I was pretty nervous because he’s iconic and so talented. He made it such a lovely experience and is the sweetest person. We wrote the song in two hours and immediately decided it was special. This led to us sharing it with the world. 

What was it like to work with Mike? How did this collaboration process differ from other collaborations you previously worked on? 

First off, his studio is deep in the hills of LA – more by the ocean area. It felt like a little getaway for the day. Mike is a very positive human. I feel like everyone who meets him is blown away by how much of a positive light he is. Session wise it worked out really well. It was easy to share ideas, especially in a collaborative environment. This was definitely one of my favorite sessions with someone I never worked with before. 

There’s an amazing music video out for the track! Did you help come up with the concept for that visual?

That was Mike’s brain child. He was really excited about the idea…like we’re gonna be in wolf suits? Sign me up! That was a wild day – a 14-hour shoot. I’ve never done prosthetic makeup before and was in the makeup chair for 5 hours. I was completely transformed! I put eye contacts in for the first time and it took me a whole hour. I just could not will myself to stick my finger in my eye. Definitely the hardest part for me.

You recently performed “Howling at the Moon” with Mike Posner on The Late Late Show with James Corden! How crazy was that experience? 

Oh my goodness, it was a full “pinch me” moment. This was a huge bucket list for me. I’m grateful to share this experience with Mike. He’s been on late night tv before. I was pretty nervous beforehand and he talked me down [and said] “everything’s going to be alright.” We even got to do a full soundcheck. The set they made was absolutely gorgeous. Everyone who worked there was super sweet. I will look back on that as a fond memory. 

If you could perform the track at any music festival in the world with Mike Posner, which festival would you choose and why? 

Outside Lands! I grew up in San Francisco and it’s my favorite festival. I’ve been going since I was 14. I even got to my play last year and that was a dream come true. All my friends from high school and my family were there. It was so fun! It’s also covered by nature. It’s at the Golden Gate park. I feel that would be a very good setting for “Howling at the Moon.” 

Speaking of performances, do you have any shows or appearances planned for this year?

Not at the moment, but I do have an album coming out. Just finishing that up! 

What else can fans look forward to seeing from you in the near or distant future? 

Roll out for the album is starting soon – definitely coming out by the end of the year. Hopefully I can meet some of my fans in person!


Follow Salem Ilese on Spotify and Instagram.

Stream “Howling at the Moon” here.

Written by Alessandra

Alessandra is a music journalist from New York who loves to speak and write about music of all different genres. She has interviewed artists such as Alesso, Surf Mesa, and Neon Trees.