Like so many other hopeful artists circa 2013, A Great Big World’s Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino raised the money they needed to record a six-song EP the only way they could think of: On Kickstarter.
And while fans of Axel’s solo work came out in droves to support the newly formed duo, easily exceeding their original $15,000 goal, the pair had no idea of the exponential leap they were about to make, thanks to two songs: the first pulled from relative YouTube obscurity to be featured on an episode of Glee and another one on So You Think You Can Dance – which led to L.A. Reid signing them to Epic Records, and no less a star than Christina Aguilera asking to collaborate with them.
Now, just over a year later, they find themselves with a certified hit, “Say Something,” released last September and still hovering at the #5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. But the two friends, who first met at NYU nine years ago, have a lot more to say in their debut album, Is There Anybody Out There?, due Jan. 21.
EW caught up with AGBW to find out more about their big break(s), what they learned from Christina Aguilera, and what to expect from their new album (hint: more Chad, more cheer):
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: “This Is The New Year” was featured on Glee and then “Say Something” was showcased on So You Think You Can Dance — were you surprised to get so much recognition so early on in your forming as a band?
IAN: It kind of fell into our laps, and it was just luck and timing. But we always thought that “This Is The New Year” would be the huge breakout song for us and we did not think “Say Something” could ever be a single. Most of our music is upbeat and positive. Also, A Great Big World is mostly about our voices together, so we wanted the song that would break us to feature both of our voices. After So You Think You Can Dance happened and the song started getting some buzz, our label [Epic] said they were pushing it to radio and at first we were like, “No, no that’s not part of our plan!” But we went for it and, people are connecting to it more than we could have ever dreamed. We felt so alone writing that song. READ FULL STORY