What's New & Different In 'A Great Big World' Such As This
Chad King and Ian Axel, also known as A Great Big World, comprise the most exciting music duo since Simon and Garfunkel, in my opinion, and it isn’t their Grammy Award-winning status, multiplatinum sales or growing following that convinces me of this. It is their “approach.”
Whether it be their relationship, their work or even this interview, Chad and Ian approach things differently. They meld to ‘circumstance’ - honestly, openly, and courageously - transforming a seed into an unforgettable experience. Their originality and 'lack of ego' feed from their unending gratitude for every day and every song. They give credit to the process more than themselves and fail to become tainted in an industry whereby that is easily done.
They are humble and unique, remaining close to their origins, which is the reason, I believe, the concept behind their upcoming NORTH AMERICAN SPRING HEADLINE TOUR (March 17 through March 28) is so brilliant. It is exactly them...as is the interview below.
Share your "mantra" as a vocal group.
Chad - “Love is the answer.”
Ian - “We are all in this crazy, beautiful thing together.”
Each of you contributes something to your music that is unique. Explain what each of you brings to the table and how that impacts the creation and delivery of your music.
Ian - I play the piano more comfortably than I talk, which is the reason why a lot of our music is piano-driven. Also, Chad and I are like brothers. It is this kind of relationship that allows us to follow our individual goals while coming together in A Great Big World, including learning from each other and balancing each other out.
What will make this tour memorable in the eyes of your audience?
This tour is an acoustic, stripped-down version of us. It is going to be intimate and involve a lot of storytelling. The audience will feel as if they have been invited into our living room where we write our songs.
Compare this tour to a previous one?
This tour is more in-line with how we started out, when we couldn’t afford to bring our band on the road.
How has time most shaped you as musicians? Explain the good and bad of it.
Ian - I am very nostalgic and always believe that “these days are the best days of our lives.” Our songwriting sessions are like therapy sessions for me because they remind me (as well as encapsulate) how precious time is and how fast it moves.
Chad - I’d agree. With every year that passes, your perspective on life shifts which impacts our music.
What song are you most proud of so far? Why?
Ian - This Is The New Year. It is the first song we wrote together and sang together. It was really the song that launched A Great Big World.
Chad - Say Something. There is such a simplicity to that song that we were able to capture. I am so proud of that element of it. The fact that it connected with so many people makes it even more incredible to me -- like we had created a magnificent piece of art.
Ian - I remember feeling 'lonely' when we created “Say Something”. It felt like we were giving birth. It was excruciating and emotional.
What keeps each of you up at night as artists? As people?
Ian - Chad goes to bed early so I don’t know how he can answer this question. I’m up all night because I have anxiety. I’m not proud of that fact but I’m working on it.
Chad - I go in waves of getting lots of sleep and getting no sleep at all.
Who is it that you would most like to sing for? Explain why.
Chad - It has been a dream of mine to play in Times Square for New Year’s Eve.
Share a social cause close to your heart.
Chad - I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007 and have been taking a holistic approach to treatment ever since. I’ve been spreading the word about my diet and lifestyle shift as much as possible, which I learned from Dr. Terry Wahls of the Wahls Foundation. She had been polarized with MS and began walking again after three months of changing her life and diet. I truly believe in her work.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
Ian - I want to be remembered as people who were really honest with their songs and made some sort of positive difference in this world; who spread love and light.
Chad - I don’t know. I don’t know that answer. It’s a hard one. I don’t want to die.
In this great big world, it is nice to know that A Great Big World’s music and impact have only just begun. They are the right pop duo and musical genius for the right time.
Many thanks to A Great Big World and Epic Records for making this interview possible