Mike Posner on the Ups and Downs of His Road to Success

The "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" singer said he's learned a lot about the downfalls of being in the limelight.
5:01 | 08/27/16

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Transcript for Mike Posner on the Ups and Downs of His Road to Success
Being a pop star looks fun on the surface at least. Screaming crowds, large paychecks, et cetera. Tonight meet a pop star who has a fascinating take on what many consider to be the dream life. This is a guy who has earned fame and lost it then earned it back again. ABC's Rebecca Jarvis goes behind the scenes with Mike Posner. ? Reporter: It's a summer night in New York City. ? Mike poser in has got a sold-out crowd of thousands on their feet. You might not know his name. ? Took a pill ? Reporter: Chances are you've been rocking out to his mega-hit song "I took a pill in a pizza." ? Reporter: It's hard to believe but just a few hours earlier, this chart-topping artist took the subway here, flying totally under the radar. Mike poser in is enjoying sweet success right now. But the road here has been anything but smooth. We're here in Brooklyn. We're going to check out this vinyl shop. You've played here before? I have played here before. Did you take a pill anyboin ibiza? Ecstasy, I think. I foolishly took a pill, felt like heaven for three hours, felt like hell for 48 Hou after a that. I do not recommend that, it's a stupid thing to do. ? Reporter: Mike got his first taste of music success at the age of 22 with the breakout record "Cooler than me." ? Probably because you think you're cooler than me ? A lot of people were saying, you were it, destined for stardom. I had an initial wave of popularity that in time crashed. Reporter: Over the next four years Posner recorded two more albums, both which of were never released by his record label rca. I got shelved. The record label at the time couldn't justify spending the marketing dollars promoting it. It was frustrating because I was making music that wasn't coming out. But in hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because I had to learn who I was without being cool, without being popular. Reporter: Ironically enough two of the songs he wrote for himself during that time ended up becoming massive hits for other artists. "Sugar" for maroon 5. ? Reporter: And "Boyfriend" which debuted as Justin Bieber's most successful single. ? If I was your boyfriend I'd never let you go ? How does it feel to watch Justin Bieber sing your song? It's our song now. He adds his thing to it. He gave it to the world. What was it like working with Justin Bieber? I just thought, this is a really good musician. A good singer, a good guitarist, a good pianist, a good drummer. He's good at music. Did you learn anything from him? The biggest lesson I took away from just being with him, we toured together, was the mystique of fame. That's when it really wore off for me. I saw what that actually meant. How limiting that can actually be. For people like that, you know, you can't walk out the door. There's a million people waiting outside. Reporter: So he made a radical decision. I bought this creepy dodge conversion van with a bed in the back. And I thought, what fits in here will be mine, the rest we'll donate. What if we toured but took all the bull Out? ? Take off your makeup ? Reporter: Embarking on what he called the ninja tour. His moment to reset, reflect, and rediscover himself as an artist. We're not selling anything, there's no tickets, there's no march, there's no cds. There's just guys playing songs. Reporter: A stark contrast from the massive stage he's about to own. How would you feel today? You're about to play at the Barclays center. Tomorrow, everything goes away, you get back in your van? I feel awesome. You'd be okay with that? 100%. Reporter: But tonight he's closing out the show with the hit song that's brought him back into the spotlight. It's incredibly ironic. There's a line in the song that says -- ? I'm just a singer who already blew his shot ? writing of that line has seemingly given me another shot. ? Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Rebecca Jarvis in Brooklyn, New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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