LOS ANGELES — The smash hit "Bad Day" should have been a good thing for Daniel Powter: The upbeat tune put Powter on the musical map.
It not only became the biggest hit of his career, but it was also the No. 1 song of 2006. With assists from countless spins on the radio and use as the farewell song on "American Idol," it went on to sell more than three million copies in the United States alone.
But lightning didn't strike twice for the Powter. In fact, lightning didn't even come close again. Powter never returned to the pop charts and Billboard even named Powter the decade's top one-hit wonder.
Powter eventually became sick of performing his claim to fame.
"When the spotlight hit me, I was like, `I don't want to be in the spotlight,'" he said in a recent interview. "I hated it. I hated being on TV."
Depressed, he turned to drugs and alcohol, his personal life fell apart and his next album flopped.
"I just didn't want to do it anymore," he explained.
But Powter, now 41, has returned to music. A new album, "Turn on the Lights," is set for an August release, and he said he's been clean and sober for two years. He's also engaged to his personal trainer and the pair are parents to a four-month-old daughter (he also has a 10-year-old daughter from another relationship).
Powter credits his baby with helping to inspire his latest hook-laden piece of power pop, the new single "Cupid." While taking her on a walk through the park, he spied an elderly couple, semi-formally dressed, simply dancing and laughing under a tree.
"I just was mesmerized by them," Powter recalled. "I literally just locked on and I couldn't believe it. And I just felt all this stuff starting to churn in me, like, `This is what it's all about.'"
Whether "Cupid" makes Powter more than a one-hit wonder remains to be seen. The song is slowly moving up the adult contemporary chart, but while it's a small sign of hope, it's still a far cry from the success of "Bad Day."
But at least Powter has made peace with his most famous song. He actually sort of enjoys performing it now.
"The audience is different every night," he said. "And I really don't sing it much. ... (the audience members) sing it. I make them do all the parts, three-part harmony. I mean, when I'm in Japan and they sing it differently and when I'm in Italy, they sing it different. So, it keeps it interesting."
But it's still not his favorite.
"It's hard to play it every night. I don't go home after this interview and bang it out on the piano or anything like that," he said.