St. Lucia finds balance with synthesizers and traditional instruments to make it Matter
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist St. Lucia is back with his first new music since 2013’s When the Night. New album Matter via Columbia Records features the South African’s latest single, ‘Dancing On Glass,’ which is currently No. 40 on the Mediabase Alternative airplay chart, and No. 32 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart. The song co-produced by St. Lucia (born Jean-Philip Grobler) along with Chris Zane (Passion Pit, The Walkmen, Holy Ghost!) finds the act in top form, according to a label news release. The “razor-sharp synth riff” is further described as propelling Grobler's pop mastery to new heights, while the lyrics venture into “unexplored, darker territory.”
Grobler explains ‘Dancing On Glass’ is about the “inescapable pull” that draws people toward things that are dangerous or otherwise considered not good for you. “The song is more about how delicious that moment can be and less about finger wagging and saying it's wrong,” says Grobler. “I was really inspired by Hall & Oates and Crowded House when writing this song with [songwriter/producer] Tim Pagnotta, and how their songs can so often seem happy and positive on the surface but there's always this undercurrent of something else.”
In the past four years, Grobler’s career has skyrocketed after signing with Columbia, performing at major festivals including Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Firefly, and touring with top stars such as Ellie Goulding and Young The Giant. He’s also collaborated with Passion Pit, Charli XCX, and Foster The People as well as landed licensing deals with major consumer product lines. Matter is yet another exciting step in 30-something’s career development.
The sophomore effort is labeled “more sophisticated and bold” as Grobler grapples with themes of getting older, battling with insecurity and self-doubt, and balancing maturity with ambition. However, the songwriting required Grobler to change up the process he followed on When the Night, which is marked by the versatile artist playing nearly every instrument himself. The non-stop schedule that has since accompanied St. Lucia’s success required Grobler to write on the road using his laptop. He also brought in members of the touring band for recording sessions.
Among the other standout tracks on Matter is ‘Physical,’ which “taps into primal lust.” ‘Help Me Run Away’ is an ode to Grobler’s adopted homeland of America, and the cuts ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Home’ are a return to the artist’s synth-infused progressive side to create an “instantly captivating concoction” of ‘80s pop, R&B, and alternative rock. St. Lucia is touring in support of Matter by kicking off nearly two dozen major city dates with a hometown stand in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Jan. 29), followed by a show in Manhattan at Webster Hall (Jan. 30).
In February, St. Lucia heads to Columbus, Ohio (Feb. 12), Detroit (Feb. 13), Toronto (Feb. 15), Boston (Feb. 17), Philadelphia (Feb. 19), Washington, DC (Feb. 20), Chicago (Feb. 22-23), Minneapolis (Feb. 25), Kansas City, Mo. (Feb. 26), and Englewood/Denver, Colo. (Feb. 27). The trek out West continues in March as Grobler takes St. Lucia into Vancouver, BC (March 1), Seattle (March 2), Portland, Ore. (March 4), San Francisco (March 5-6), San Diego (March 8), Los Angeles (March 10), and Phoenix (March 12). This summer St. Lucia is already confirmed to return to Bonnaroo (June 9-12) and Firefly (June 16-19).
Watch the official music video for ‘Dancing On Glass’ from St. Lucia’s sophomore release, Matter.
As A Matter of Fact…
* St. Lucia was born Jean-Philip Grobler in Johannesburg, South Africa. He grew up singing in the Drakensberg Boys Choir School and toured throughout Europe, Japan, and Australia.
* Grobler was a part of history in 1995 when as a 10-year-old the choir sang the South African national anthem prior to the rugby World Cup. The game was hosted by South Africa and was attended by newly elected president Nelson Mandela in the wake of apartheid. The event is depicted in the film “Invictus” starring Matt Damon.
* After leaving the boys choir, Grobler attended music school in Liverpool, England, where he met his wife. The couple relocated to New York City and Grobler began writing his own pop songs, took a job as a jingle writer, and began recording under the name St. Lucia.
* Grobler’s experience as a jingle writer introduced him to the synth sounds he grew to love. Debut EP St. Lucia appeared in 2012 on the Neon Gold label, and 2013’s full-length debut album, When the Night, features the single ‘Elevate.’
* St. Lucia has toured with Passion Pit, Foster The People, Young The Giant, Ellie Goulding, Charli XCX, and others. Top live appearances include performances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, and Firefly as well as on the late night talk show circuit.