Chances are that if you went out to dance in 2016, you would have heard the iconic EDM track, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.” While “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” was originally a folk-pop song, its subsequent tropical house “SeeB Remix” turned out to become one of the most famous songs of the 2010s, staying within the top 10 charts of over 27 countries.

Listen to the song below:

Despite the iconic, upbeat synths that made the song famous, the reality of Posner’s lyrics and backstory is surprisingly sombre, and as Posner puts it, “All I know are sad songs.” The musician revisited the memories behind the song’s conception this Wednesday on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast, giving us a throwback to EDM’s golden era in the mid-2010s, and how it all fell apart for Posner.

 

‘One-Hit Wonder’

Mike Posner in the acoustic music video for I Took a Pill in Ibiza.
Credit: UMG Recordings, Inc

Posner’s original claim to fame was his hit debut single, “Cooler Than Me”. Released in 2010 on the 31 Minutes to Takeoff album, the song was recorded by the young musicians in his colleg dorm room on a cheap microphone; it was about a girl in his class that he had a crush on.

Soon, his makeshift recording achieved worldwide fame, reaching top numbers on global dance music charts, and featuring in everything from reality shows to videogames. Uncomfortable with being in the spotlight, unable to release bigger hits to match his first, and subsequently falling into depression, 2011-2014 was a dark phase in Posner’s life.

“People called me a one-hit wonder,” said the artist on the podcast. “I went from being this young, cool guy to just being home in LA… I made a little bit of money, but my calendar was empty and there was nothing to do. That’s when I took a pill in Ibiza.”

“I’m just this singer, who already blew his shot. My name was just a reminder of a pop song people forgot.”

 

Mike Posner on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast.
Credit: IMPAULSIVE

Posner then explained his early relationship with Avicii, who died by suicide in 2018. “He never cared if I was number one or number million. During this time when my calendar was empty, he asked me to come over [to Sweden] and work on an album. I decided to make a trip out of it – I knew he had some shows in Ibiza.”

“I got to Ibiza, and I was alone. I was staying in this hotel, and it was the saddest thing ever. I was just alone, watching people have fun. I get to the show, drinking – I don’t drink anymore – and I started just… getting fucked up.”

I saw [Avicii] on stage, and I thought, ‘I fucked up. That used to be me… I wish it was still me.’ Imagine the sadness! I was just in the GA (General Admissions), fucked up all by myself… I was actually hoping that someone would recognize me. To validate me, and make me feel like I’m not a failure.”

As the night continued at Ibiza’s famous Pacha nightclub, a group of partygoers eventually did recognize Posner. They offered him the now-famous pill, which Posner accepted. “I didn’t even know what it was,” he admits, although we now know that the drug was MDMA. “Nothing happened. I was up all night grinding my teeth… I woke up the next day, and I felt like hell.”

“That song is about that darkness and that low in my life.”

Ultimately, Posner did see the bright side, making a massive comeback with the song and even snagging a Grammy nomination. “The ultimate irony is that these guys remixed this heartbreaking song, and made it into a club banger! On the other hand, I can kinda zoom out and put rose-coloured glasses on and see people are having a good time to my sadness.”

“As artists we try and take our suffering, our pain, our negativity, and make something beautiful out of it,” said Posner.

 

(Featured Image Credit: UMG Recordings, Inc., IMPAULSIVE)