Even in the urban wilds of Brooklyn, there may be no one else like Jean-Philip Grobler, aka St. Lucia. Originally from Johannesberg, St. Lucia grew up performing with the Drakensberg Boys Choir School. When the choir wasn’t traveling – they toured Japan, Australia, Europe and more – they stayed in an enclave tucked in the South African mountains, learning everything from Bach to minimalist opera. As a young teenager, he started to feel that he’d had his fill of classical, and it felt like an epiphany when he discovered the direct emotionality of pop. Eventually, he left the creative “small pond” of South Africa for England, where he spent three years studying music in Liverpool.
St. Lucia’s journey ended – as so many journeys do – in New York City, where he started working on the tracks that would ultimately turn into his self titled debut release on Neon Gold. The atmospheric quality of St. Lucia’s electronic pop is powerful, with the musician’s global travels and history of secret hideaways effortlessly passed onto the audience through his dreamy, shimmering synths.
We took the time to ask Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia some questions! Here’s what he had to say:
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you? Or at your show?
“There was a group of girls that came to 4 or 5 of the shows we did with Ellie Goulding, including one where they drove from New York to Salt Lake City and back just for that show. After the show, one of them got a tattoo of the name of one of our new songs ‘Elevate’.”
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist/band so far?
“We’ve had a bunch of moments. One that I can pick out of the air is when we were in Paris and we got in a cab to go back to the hotel after the after-party. We told the cab driver where we were going, he told us a set price of 20 Euros, and we agreed to the price. He literally drove to the end of the block, turned left, and we were at our hotel. We ended up laughing so hard with the cab driver that we just gave him the money.”
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
“Everyone has their own thing, but sometimes we’ll bust out into group jumping jacks at the side of the stage.”
If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
How do you connect with a crowd?
“We love getting the audience to sing along, and I feel like that breaks down the wall between us and them a lot.”
How did you come up with your band name?
“By closing my eyes and sticking a pen on a map of South Africa. The 5th try was St. Lucia.”
Who are your musical inspirations?
“In general, artists who at some point have gone against what is considered the norm in their ‘scene’ or ‘genre’. To name a few, I’d say Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Radiohead, Kanye West, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and the list goes on.”
Don’t miss this killer show tomorrow, March 19th at Vinyl! Get your tickets below!