Mike Posner's story behind Maroon 5's 'Sugar'

Mike Posner in 2015.
Singer-songwriter Mike Posner reveals details behind "Sugar"

For those who are unfamiliar with the very talented and wise Mike Posner, the Detroit bred musician and record producer is a singer who first achieved commercial success with his debut radio single "Cooler Than Me", which was arguably the catchiest song on the radio in 2010. Posner then went on to release his full-length debut 31 Minutes to Takeoff, a brilliant and vibrant collection of R&B-inspired hip hop and pop songs, later that year, in which features heavy hitting named such as Lil Wayne, Boyz II Men, and Travis Barker. After the album's success, Posner found struggle with his then-label J/RCA Records, subsequently leaving the label overall, further struggling to put out a sophomore album. Ever since, he has dropped mixtapes and catered his amazing songwriting and production abilities to other famous names such as Justin Bieber, Pharrell Williams, Labyrinth, Big Sean, Snoop Dogg, Nick Jonas, and yes, Maroon 5.

In a tell-all interview with entertainment media brand Billboard, Mike Posner spoke about his trouble with former labels, attempting to put out a new album, and writing Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" and Maroon 5's "Sugar."

I asked RCA to let me off the label and they very graciously did, and after that I sort of stumbled on this new material, this new style. I could probably put out Sky High and Pages, but that music is no longer current to me. It's no longer true to me. It's true to who I was then, but the music I'm writing now is true to who I am now, and I wanted to make a new, third album. And hopefully this one comes out.

"Sugar" is Maroon 5 biggest hit of the last couple of years, branching off of the band's fifth studio effort V (2014), and becoming the second best-selling single of the last year. Since Maroon 5's turn to pop and dance music with their fourth effort Overexposed (2012), the L.A. group has reached out to over a dozen other producers and songwriters to help cater to their material. Posner, who happens to be a good friend of frontman Adam Levine and James Valentine's, previewed the early works of "Sugar" to them.

Adam wanted the song. He called and asked for it months before and I said no. But when [Pages, Posner's unreleased second album] wasn't going to come out and I sort of had the seedlings of this new record, I thought, "Well, this is just gonna sit on my laptop" so I gave it to [Maroon 5] and when they recorded the song Adam added his flavor to it and he wrote on it as well, lyrically and some melodic things, and he really sang it well. I'm a big fan, so I'm glad they did it.

Originally, "Sugar" began with Posner writing music for his cancelled sophomore album Pages. The song started off on the acoustic guitar between him and his friend Adam Friedman, to which later was crafted into a full studio recording with the help of Joshua Coleman (also known as Ammo) and Henry Walter (also known as Cirkut), with production, and songwriting help from Dr. Luke.

Upon giving "Sugar" up to Levine and Valentine, the two took it to the rest of the band to craft the version that we all know so well today. The biggest adjustment was made in the pre-chorus, where Posner originally wrote "Cause I need you like the sky needs blue, 1 and 3 need 2, for sure", and the bridge of the song, which remained the same for the most part except it was sung as a rap verse.

Live versions of the song began surfacing on the Internet as early as 2013, about a year and a few months before Maroon 5's version was released, and give the latest version justice before it was handed down to Levine and Co. Check out the performance below.

Now, Mike Posner is regaining radio attention with his latest hit single, "I Took A Pill In Ibiza", which is from his upcoming second studio album At Night, Alone. The new album drops May 6 on Island Records.

What do you think of Mike Posner's version of "Sugar"? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

Watch Maroon 5's music video for "Sugar" below:


  1. Love Love Sugar. Mike Posner's version is great but love love Maroon 5 and "The Sexiest Married Man Alive" version more. But will definitely check out other Mike Posner songs.

  2. thx for article , btw If someone here is interested in making electronic music , can share this sample pack https://www.lucidsamples.com/hands-up-samples-packs/295-complete-hands-up-2.html


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