Jean-Philip Grobler breaks down the music that shaped his new album, "When The Night."
The first time Jean-Philip Grobler started playing people the music he'd made as part of his project St. Lucia, many were taken aback by the "unabashed, joyful quality to it, which was uncool at the time," he says. But to an increasingly large following of pop music fans, songs like "Closer Than This," "All Eyes On You" and "September" started to find an audience -- thanks to their sonic homage to the spirit of early Whitney Houston, 80s soft rock and synth-based Afro-pop, among other influences. The band's new full-length, "When The Night" (Neon Gold/Columbia) was released Oct. 8, and debuts on this week's Heatseekers Albums chart with sales of 2,000 copies. The band is currently on the road with Two Door Cinema Club playing some of its biggest gigs to date, including a sold-out hometown show at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.
Grobler, who was raised in South Africa, got his start as a jingle writer for music production company The Lodge before pursuing his own music. And much like how he's embraced indie fans' appreciation of St. Lucia's open-hearted pop, he's been happy to come clean about his commercial past - much in the same way that Foster The People's Mark Foster and Fitz & The Tantrums' Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick have. "It was at this point about six years ago where bands were trying to do something weird or crazy, and I just started to get tired of that in my own music," he says. "I started listening to a lot of the African music that I grew up with and Lionel Richie and Phil Collins that had really buried itself into my subs-conscious. Eventually, I learned it can take you a little longer if you're serious with your craft, even if you're not dealing with [the] deepest, darkest emotions of the human psyche."