Archives For A Great Big World

First album, first chart-topping single, first national TV performance… Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino have experienced a slew of firsts since performing “Say Something” on “So You Think You Can Dance?” But the duo known collectively as A Great Big World will experienced a new first on a different level Tuesday: first concert benefit.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Vaccarino said via telephone on “Ralphie Tonight” regarding the band’s involvement in “Pinoy Relief.” The star-studded concert aimed to “provide relief to victims of natural disasters in the Philippines – with the current focus being victims of Typhoon Haiyan.” “We do music, and to be able to make such a positive impact and give back, in any way, that can help is what it’s all about.”

“We feel so helpless watching the news, seeing images and video footage,” Axel added, speaking about the typhoon that left 11 million people homeless. “We feel like we can’t do anything, so being able to just play our music and make a difference here in New York… I mean, it’s the best feeling.”

Concert organizers approached A Great Big World about performing, and the duo happily obliged. The New York University alumni performed inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Other bill notables included The Plain White T’s, Pentatonix, and headliner Jennifer Hudson. There was also special appearances from Dr. Oz and Apl De Ap, a native Filipino and Black Eyed Peas emcee.

Ian Axel is from Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He met Chad Vaccarino eight years ago at New York University. The rest cannot be categorized as simply, “history,” although now it is. The duo struggled like most pop acts, figuring out different incarnations and ways in which they could make it big, or at least make a living.

Settling on the name, A Great Big World, the duo wrote “Say Something” – a ballad with a cold piano and lyrics that have moments where they can almost be spoken and almost be shouted. The track received a placement on “So You Think You Can Dance” and began selling well on iTunes.

But perhaps the breakout moment for the group came on NBC’s “The Voice.” With a weekly audience of 14 million, the guys enlisted the help of TV coach and Epic Records label-mate Christina Aguilera to perform the song live.

From there, the rest really is history.

“It feels like every day, we’re having the experience of a lifetime,” gushed Axel recently to “The Ralphie Show.” “It’s a bit shocking to our systems.”

When you look at the TV performances, from the aforementioned “Voice” to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to the American Music Awards, you really can’t blame them.

It won’t be slowing down for Axel and Vaccarino any time soon. The band will wrap a month’s worth of radio tours by supporting Maroon 5 on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. Just a few weeks later, January 14, the band will drop Is Anybody Out There, a full length album.

Not too shabby for a couple of once-struggling musicians at NYU.

“The Ralphie Show” was live all weekend from backstage at the 2013 American Music Awards and spoke with celebrities from music and TV.