The times’ they are-a-changin’. It used to be based on call-in requests or “call-out” research panels. Lately it’s charts populated by tweets or “Shazams.” And for Starley, it was a zero-percent skip rate on Spotify.
“It went nuts online,” Starley, surname Hope, said of her track “Call On Me.” A remix by producer Ryan Riback made its way to a playlist on the streaming service and what followed was the makings of a hit record, although some stations in the U.S. opt for the original opposed to the dance version. “It broke my career as an artist and it’s really cool.”
And interestingly enough for Starley, the newcomer has zero preference on which version people hear.
“I think it’s really good to have different versions out of something because if certain people like that dance version, that’s great,” she explained. “But if it reaches a certain other type of people with the slower version, I’m cool with that… the more, the merrier.”
Hey, the idea of a popular remix worked out well for Mike Posner, who scored a GRAMMY nomination in part to the popularity of SeeB remixing “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” from its original form. There Starley and I were, talking about this inside Staples Center during GRAMMY weekend as Posner’s track was up for “Song Of The Year.” But first things first – the singer wants to release more music.
“I’m working on an album, working on my next single,” she revealed. “I haven’t got any dates, but it’s definitely coming.”
Hopefully for Starley like “Call On Me,” her fans will be sure not to skip over it.
So great to see a couple of current and possibly future GRAMMY nominees on my second day here in Los Angeles and our first day inside Staples Center for Westwood One’s Backstage at The GRAMMYs. I asked Mike Posner and Daya about the big day plus met Dua Lipa. Also, we chatted about a couple neighborhoods in Manhattan when “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Paige Mobley and singer/songwriter Max stopped by.
This is the story of a song, its GRAMMY nomination and how one small suggestion can have a ripple effect amongst multiple artists.
Yes, this is the story – as unlikely as it may seem – of Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” before the producer SeeB remixed it for pop radio’s indulgence.
The genesis of this track can be traced back to Posner’s actual trip to the Balearic Island where he took a pill in the presence of Avicii. But that experience did not immediately yield a hit record. Matter-of-fact, had it not been for a chat with popular country artist, Posner might have kept the story to himself.
That chat occurred with Jake Owen and it happened on Posner’s 26th birthday.
“Basically I played (Owen) a song, a different song, and he goes, ‘What inspired that tune?’ I said, ‘I just sort of made it up,’” Posner recalled during an interview that took place inside the Staples Center on his birthday last year, which fell on GRAMMY weekend.
“And he looked at me and he goes, ‘Well why don’t you just tell the truth?’”
Sounds easy, but it obviously is not something that any artist can do effectively. Yet that night, Posner tried. The Duke University alumnus hopped on a plane and wrote, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.”
Soon after, Posner found himself on a plane again, but this time he was sitting across from singer/songwriter Nash Overstreet. The Nashville native once shared a record label home with Posner on RCA as a member of the pop-rock group Hot Chelle Rae.
“(Posner) told me he had been hanging with Jake Owen recently,” Overstreet said via telephone from Los Angeles. “And he told me he wanted to write painfully realistic, accurate truth in to music.”
It was almost as if Owen was now speaking through Posner to other artists. The result was similar: Overstreet was inspired to write the title track from his EP, “U Don’t Get 2 Do That.” The truth in that song even resonated with Hot Chelle Rae lead singer Ryan Follese, who after hearing it advised Overstreet to keep the song for himself and release it as a single.
The Gospel of Jake Owen continued to spread. Adam Friedman is another singer and songwriter who co-wrote and/or produced five different songs on Posner’s last LP “At Night, Alone.” While in-studio to promote his forthcoming EP “Green,” I mentioned the story of “Ibiza” to Friedman – a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.
“That theme has definitely shed on to me,” Friedman noted of writing songs with authenticity, specifically when talking about his single “What If?”which he’ll perform on “The Bachelor” February 13.
“I cried… not like balled, but I got tears,” the artist admitted after finding out that Posner’s “Ibiza” snagged the major GRAMMY nod. “I was on the same freeway that I had been on going to his house to work on that album. Just knowing where he was at when I met him three years ago and where I was at and just this three year journey that I’ve taken with him. To see that he got “Song Of The Year” (nomination), which was one of his goals, and to see him reach it… it was really, really cool for me to be a part of something like that.”
In the end, three artists were affected; two charts were topped (“Ibiza” hit number one on both Billboard’s Dance and Pop Airplay tallies) and one GRAMMY nomination was received. Posner will find out Sunday night if the song takes home the Gramophone.
Singer/songwriter Adam Friedman stopped by the show to talk about his new EP ‘Green’ and the single, ‘What If?’ which he’ll be performing on “The Bachelor” February 13. Friedman also talked about his friend and collaborator Mike Posner’s GRAMMY nomination for “Song Of The Year.”
Nash Overstreet called in to the show from Los Angeles to chat about his new solo EP, ‘U Don’t Get 2 Do That.’ The Hot Chelle Rae guitarist also talked about keeping in touch with his bandmates, Mike Posner inspiring him and working with other artists like Britney Spears and Rachel Platten on different projects.
Mike Posner really did take a pill in Ibiza with the intention of showing superstar DJ Avicii that he was cool.
“One-hundred percent autobiographical,” the “Cooler Than Me” singer responded when I asked how true the song was. “(Avicii) didn’t take (a pill), but I took one to be cool.”
SeeB, a Norwegian production duo, remixed Posner’s version of “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” and now it is rocketing up the airplay charts. The remix cracked the top 20 on pop radio last week.
Coincidentally, it was a remix that first launched the Duke University alumnus’ career on to the airwaves. Minneapolis-based producer Gigamesh reworked Posner’s original rendition of “Cooler Than Me” to the version that we came to know and love in the summer of 2010.
Almost six years later, Posner is back on the airwaves. He’s under a new record label (Island) and has not only Avicii, but a country music star to thank for his latest success.
“I was in the studio with my friend Jake Owen,” Posner recalled. “I played him a different song and he goes, ‘What inspired that tune?’”
Posner replied that he “made it up.” Owen paused for a moment and then offered up a serious question.
“(Owen) looked at me and he goes, ‘Why don’t you just tell the truth?’”
That night, Posner hopped aboard a plane and wrote “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.” It makes perfect sense that it all happened in the air; the song will probably serve as the lead single for Posner’s full-length follow-up to his 2010 debut titled, “31 Minutes to Takeoff.”
For my fourth consecutive year, I broadcasted from backstage at music’s biggest night, inside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Day 1 is always the more difficult day because you’ve just arrived on site, you’re setting everything up and you’re trying to work your way in to a flow as artists move in and out of the broadcast area. But the great thing about this year’s first broadcast was the opportunity to chat with Joe Jonas and DNCE, along with GRAMMY-nominees Tori Kelly and James Bay.
While Mike Posner continues to craft his follow up to the debut LP 31 Minutes to Takeoff, the singer/songwriter releases free tracks online. “Toast” is a song that he dedicates “to anyone halfway to their goals.” Download the song for free off of the Soundcloud page.
This week, on WBRE’s “PA Live!” for my weekly segment, “The Ralphie Report,” I reported on Mike Posner co-writing Justin Bieber’s new single, Maino’s new social network, and Katy Perry’s forthcoming movie.