Last updated: December 18. 2013 2:09AM - 1324 Views
By Ralphie Aversa Weekender Correspondent



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Aloe Blacc recorded the acoustic version of “Wake Me Up!” inside Mike Einziger’s home studio with Avicii. The Incubus guitarist and superstar DJ, née Tim Bergling, mixed it in to one of 2013’s biggest hits.


“I think Avicii is an incredible producer, and he knew at least a little bit of what he wanted to do,” Blacc told “The Ralphie Show” recently. “I went in to record a song written by Mac Davis for Avicii, and that’s when we first met. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park suggested to Avicii, ‘You should get Aloe to sing this song.’”


Blacc admitted that he and Shinoda were far from great friends; the two know each other through a mutual friend.


The “I Need a Dollar” singer characterized the song he recorded as country-esque. Given the context that Davis was involved, it makes even more sense. But Avicii is mixing both genres and beats with his releases. The second single from the DJ’s album “True” could be considered even more country: “Hey Brother.”


“To see what Avicii is doing makes perfect sense to me,” Blacc, who cited his indie, multi-genre days as the reason why he understands the producer’s approach. “He’s melding worlds of really good songwriting and really popular production. He’s going to hit a homerun every time.”


Blacc released a “Wake Me Up!” EP this past year. He is currently preparing his full-length album, “Lift Your Spirit.” The LP will include production contributions from Pharrell Williams and Rock Mafia.


A GREAT BIG WORLD SET TO RELEASE NEW LP


Ian Axel is from Fair Lawn, N.J. 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 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, on Jan. 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.


-Listen to “The Ralphie Show” weeknights from 7 p.m.-midnight on 97 BHT.

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