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.