How Miguel’s ‘Sure Thing’ Became a Hit for a Second Time



Viral revivals are a hallmark of the streaming era, with songs regularly springing back to life years — sometimes decades — after they were first released. Miguel’s “Sure Thing” is an aberration. Rolled out as a single in 2011, the romantic ballad cracked Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and crowned the R&B chart. It then quietly soundtracked weddings, proposals and anniversaries — until the TikTok gods resurrected it last year.

And that’s just the latest twist in the song’s unorthodox journey. To begin, “Sure Thing” was almost given to another superstar. “Miguel’s manager sent it to me, and I wanted it for Usher,” remembers Mark Pitts, RCA president and the song’s original A&R. “But I started to fall in love with it.” He wanted to hear more and got his hands on another Miguel tune, “Quickie.” “I was like, ‘This motherfucker is crazy! Send him in.’”

Miguel obliged and Pitts signed him on the spot. But there was a catch: Usher heard the demo and wanted to record it. Pitts trusted his gut. “I knew it could be a game changer for a new artist.” Just as things were starting to look up for “Sure Thing,” RCA learned Miguel was tied up in another deal — a situation that would take years to sort out.

During that time, the song got its first taste of virality. “It blew up on Myspace before it was ever officially released,” remembers Happy Perez, “Sure Thing” co-writer and producer. The song’s eventual success in 2011 felt like a fairy tale to Perez, given the circumstances. Now, its resurrection and subsequent ascent to No. 1 on pop radio is, in his words, “completely insane.”

“I’m definitely surprised it found a new life, but I’m not surprised that people love the song,” he says. “That shit should have been number one on [pop radio] 10 years ago if you ask me.” Regarding the sped-up version that caught fire on TikTok, Perez tries to be diplomatic. “I honestly don’t know what to make of it,” he says. “If that’s how people want to hear it, you just have to adapt.” Pitts is more blunt: “As a music fan, it’s not my favorite thing.” But the times are changing, and he’s willing to go along for the ride. “I don’t frown on nothing anymore,” he says.

Which perhaps explains his willingness to act when the label noticed a curious TikTok trend. “There was momentum in late 2022, so we flagged it with the frontline team,” remembers Brianna Fennell, associate director of catalog marketing at Legacy Recordings.

The label then shut down for Christmas and, by the time everyone was back in the office, it was go-time. Step one was getting Miguel on board. “I helped figure out how he could engage with his new audience,” Fennell says. The goal was to make him part of the moment and not merely an observer. “I think that was imperative for him,” she continues, “and that’s why the viral moment lasted so long, because he was so into it.”

Once the trend was identified, Legacy worked hand-in-hand with RCA to keep the momentum going. Shani Fuller-Tillman, the label’s vp of marketing, realized that the trend was coming from a younger demographic and sought to nurture streams by releasing multiple versions of the song to DSPs. “I knew we could do more than the typical sped-up and slowed-down versions,” she says. “So, we started digging into the crates.”

Meanwhile, the label doubled down on TikTok. “We were able to go to our TikTok partners and pitch the fact that the song was really having a moment,” Tatiana Vickerie, director of digital marketing at RCA, says. That resulted in an opportunity to participate in a new #AcousticCovers campaign. “We had him do a stripped-down version of ‘Sure Thing,’ which came with additional playlisting, additional boosting of the post, and a prominent banner.” 

According to Pitts, the viral success of “Sure Thing” motivated Miguel to tee up his new project. It also informed its direction to some extent. When the R&B singer’s first couple of new songs failed to connect with fans of “Sure Thing,” Pitts took it as a sign. “I told him, ‘The people are speaking, brother. Stop hiding behind the sound — they want to see you, they want to hear you, dog!’”

While Miguel puts the finishing touches on his fifth album, now with a new audience in mind, his day ones are basking in the belated success of “Sure Thing.” Perez hopes it will encourage people to make timeless music again. “We were never chasing a trend,” he says. “We were just trying to make the best song we possibly could.” It’s a sentiment that Pitts wholeheartedly endorses: “Good music has no expiration date.”

SONGWRITERS: Miguel, Happy Perez & Jiwan Pimentel

PRODUCER: Happy Perez


Happy Perez, Producer, Co-Writer

Mark Pitts, President, RCA Records/CEO, ByStorm Entertainment

Shani Fuller-Tillman, VP, Marketing, RCA Records

Tatiana Vickerie, Director, Digital Marketing, RCA Records

Briana Fennell, Associate Director, Catalog Marketing, Legacy Recordings/RCA Records


PUBLISHERS: Art Dealer Chic/Amaya Sofia Publishing/Universal Music Corp.


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