Preview: A Great Big World at Rumba

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Despite its name, A Great Big World’s music is not rampant or too superfluous. The band name, pulled from the lyrics of its song “Cheer Up!,” represents the expansive aspirations of the band’s music and of band members Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino.

“We wanted something that was bigger than our individual names, bigger than ourselves” Vaccarino said.

The New York City-based duo plans to deliver a set of positive songs with pure pop sensibility when it performs Thursday at Rumba Cafe.

The origin of the band can be pinpointed to when the duo were attending New York University together. Axel, looking for a collaborator for some songs he had written, sought out Vaccarino. Axel said that he “forced” his friendship upon Vaccarino in a sense; Vaccarino blew off Axel until he saw his talent on the piano.

Citing musicals and Disney films as influences, writing and performing pop music came naturally.

“It just happened,” Axel said. “A combination of what we are and we were brought up listening to.”

It was a big moment, then, when the band’s new single, “This is a New Year,” was covered by the cast for Fox’s musical-inspired TV show Glee.

“It just felt really great,” Axel said. “We are totally into what that show’s about.”

The band originally planned to release an EP of new music on May 21, however it decided to abandon an EP release in order to produce a full-length album instead, to be released later this year. The single “This is a New Year” will still be released May 21.

That said, Axel said the band will play about “90 percent of the songs on the new album” at the Rumba show.

“It’s our first time bringing a full band to Columbus, and we’re really excited to play,” Vaccarino said. “We’re definitely going to bring it.”

Rumba Cafe

9 p.m. Thursday, May 23

2507 Summit St., Campus