In October, A Great Big World was in a place plenty of emerging music acts find themselves: working toward releasing a debut album and not knowing if it would even find an audience.
Then in the space of three months since, the duo of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino has rocketed to fame, topping multiple iTunes and “Billboard” magazine singles charts, sharing stages with pop superstars on the network broadcasts of the American Music Awards and Victoria Secret Fashion Show and releasing a first full-length album.
“Is Anybody Out There?” is being called one of the most anticipated debut releases of 2014.
The stunning reversal of fortune began when a spare ballad, “Say Something,” became a surprise choice to be featured in the Sept. 10 season finale of the hit television series, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
It was a coup for these newcomers, but it turned out to be a mere prelude. The real liftoff began with a phone call from the duo’s management with word that Christina Aguilera wanted to add her vocals to a new version of “Say Something.”
“That totally came out of left field when we got that phone call about Christina,” Vaccarino said in a recent phone interview. “The song was featured on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and it started getting some buzz that week. Then getting that phone call from our manager was so crazy because that was never in like the realm of possibilities of what could be on horizon for us.”
In fact, Axel said that efforts to introduce the band were proceeding along an entirely different path when “So You Think You Can Dance” selected “Say Something.”
“I mean, our label and us were pushing another song, another single,” he said, referring to “This Is The New Year,” which was performed by the cast of the television series, “Glee,” last spring. “And we were presented with this opportunity to have the song (“Say Something”) on ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ And we were just so excited to have it released, and we were just so thrilled for it to be in the show and happy. We threw a party.”