Adult Contemporary

Why it took years for A Great Big World to release ‘Particles’ into the universe

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Andrew Zaeh

A Great Big World has finally released their third album, Particles — and it only took four years and three different record labels for the music to see the light of day.

The album was actually supposed to come out in 2018, but when A Great Big World left their record label, the process was stalled. Time passed and they got another record deal, but then their pal Christina Aguilera — their duet partner on the Grammy-winning hit “Say Something” — came back into the picture. They signed to yet another label in order to release a second duet with her: 2019’s “Fall On Me.”

Then, COVID-19 happened.

“During the pandemic, Chad and I kept writing and kind of redid our record a little bit, and now we’re fully independent,” the duo’s Ian Axel tells ABC Audio. “And here’s the record, finally!”

Particles‘ title comes from that Christina duet. As Ian explains, “‘Fall on Me’ was such a foundation piece of this record. And my favorite lyric from the song is, ‘Millions of particles passing through me/And I know there’s a meaning’…so I think it was like a light bulb went off in that in that moment.”

The duo’s Chad King says he’s been happy to see that their fans, who’ve been waiting for years, are really enjoying the record, which came out August 27.

“The response has been overwhelming,” he tells ABC Audio. “It’s less than a week and people are saying how obsessed they are with it, how they’re crying nonstop at the record and how emotional it’s making them feel.”

“We write songs as, like, a therapeutic process for ourselves,” Chad notes. “And we can only wish that, once we release it, fans can have that same experience. And it’s so amazing that that’s happened.” 

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