St. Lucia

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The project of Jean-Philip Grobler and Patti Beranek, St. Lucia make shimmery, ’80s-influenced, synth-driven pop. With 2013’s When the Night, the Brooklyn duo channeled the inspirations of Grobler’s youth with contemporary influences that included tropical pop. St. Lucia’s music only grew more uplifting and anthemic with releases such as 2018′s Hyperion, which incorporated elements as far-flung as gospel choirs and ’90s pop. The duo added further musical dimensions with 2019’s Acoustic, Vol.1 and remixed likeminded acts at the dawn of the 2020s. Following a move to Beranek’s native Germany, they released 2022′s Utopia.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, a ten-year-old Grobler began singing with the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, a prestigious mixed-race choir that performed for Nelson Mandela and concertized around the world. He started making his own music when he was 12, taking inspiration from Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, and Sting.
Grobler left the choir and South Africa a few years later, moving to England at age 19 to study music at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts for three years. It was there that he met the German-born Patti Beranek, who became his collaborator and eventually his wife. Following Grobler’s graduation, the pair moved to New York City, where he became a jingle writer, and he and Beranek formed St. Lucia as an outlet for their own music. Influenced by ’80s and ’90s pop as well as the artists the duo discovered at school — among them Radiohead and Mew — St. Lucia signed to Neon Gold and released a self-titled EP in 2012.
Their first full-length, When the Night, appeared in 2013; featuring the single “Elevate,” the album entered the Billboard 200 and hit number six on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Albums chart. For their live shows, Grobler and Beranek expanded St. Lucia’s live band to include Ross Clark, Nick Paul, and Dustin Kaufman.
While on the road for nearly two years supporting When the Night, the duo wrote the bulk of what would become St. Lucia’s second album, Matter. Featuring production work by Chris Zane and a songwriting collaboration with Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, Matter arrived in 2016. The following year, Grobler and Beranek gave birth to their first child.
For 2018′s Hyperion, they worked with producer Rob Kirwan on an anthemic set of songs that included the gospel-tinged “Paradise Is Waiting.” The following year, the collection Remixed and the EP Acoustic, Vol.1 appeared.
In 2020, Grobler and Beranek welcomed their second child. The following year, they decided to move from their longtime home in Brooklyn to Konstanz, Germany. They signed with Nettwerk and released a remixed BEGINNERS’ single “Broke.” In October 2022, they delivered their fourth album, Utopia. ~ Heather Phares