The story of A Great Big World began at NYU. Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino were both studying music business while dreaming of making it big in show business. Ian first approached Chad to be his music partner. "I kept blowing him off for awhile, and then one day I heard him singing nervously at the piano. I was like, 'your voice is amazing. Let's work on these songs. Let's be friends,' " Chad said.
Ian jokingly added, "I kind of forced my friendship on him. I stalked him and made him listen to my song ideas. He told me I needed to be singing. This realization changed my life. Our friendship is super special. I feel like we've known each other forever."
At first, Ian was the artist and Chad only shared writing credits with him in their partnership. He even dropped an indie solo album with all the songs co-written by Chad. As their popularity grew, the duo went on a national tour and served as an opener for the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Matthew Morrison, and Five For Fighting.
In 2012, they re-branded themselves and took the name A Great Big World. They eventually dropped a six-song EP through a Kickstarter funding and performed "This Is the New Year" on "Glee". "It's optimistic, hopeful pop music," Chad said. "There are fewer songs about heartbreak and more about the meaning of life. But even the most painful of our songs are hopeful."
Many doors were opened for them as their piano-driven ballad "Say Something" became increasingly popular and spawned a revamped version that has Christina Aguilera as a featured guest. It was featured on "So You Think You Can Dance" finale and went on to climb the top 5 on Billboard Hot 100.
The group performed the song at Victoria's Secret Show, and along with Aguilera, sang it on "The Voice" and the American Music Awards 2013. Their debut full length album "Is There Anybody Out There?" will be released in January 2014 through Epic Records.