Josh Groban

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Josh Groban
Josh Groban (Cropped).jpg
Groban, February 2009
Background information
Birth name Joshua Winslow Groban
Born (1981-02-27) February 27, 1981 (age 33)[1]
Los Angeles, California
Genres Easy listening, vocal, operatic pop, pop rock
Occupations Singer, songwriter, musician, actor, record producer
Instruments Vocals, piano, drums, percussion
Years active 1997–present
Labels 143, Reprise
Website joshgroban.com

Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban (born February 27, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and record producer. His first four solo albums have been certified multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was charted as the number-one best selling artist in the United States with over 21 million records in the nation.[2][3] To date, he has sold over 25 million records worldwide.[4]

Groban originally studied acting, but moved to singing as his voice developed. Groban attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, a free public school on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, where students receive a conservatory-style education. His life changed when his vocal coach, Seth Riggs, submitted a tape of Josh singing, "All I Ask of You," from The Phantom of the Opera, to Riggs' friend, producer, composer and arranger David Foster.[5][6] Foster called him to stand in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli to rehearse a duet, "The Prayer," with Celine Dion at the rehearsal for the Grammy Awards in 1998.[7] Rosie O'Donnell immediately invited him to appear on her talk show.[8] Foster asked him to sing at the California Governor's Gray Davis' 1999 inauguration.[5][9] He was cast on Ally McBeal by the show's creator, David E. Kelley, performing "You're Still You" for the 2001 season finale.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Groban was born in Los Angeles, to Lindy (née Johnston), a school teacher, and Jack Groban, a businessman.[11][12] He has a younger brother, Chris, who shares the same birthday, four years later.[13] Groban's father was born Jewish, and is a descendant of Russian and Polish immigrants;[14] he converted from Judaism to Christianity when marrying Groban's mother.[13] Groban's mother's ancestry includes Norwegian (from Toten), German, and English; one of her own grandfathers had been Jewish.[15][16][17] Groban's parents are Episcopalians.[8]

Groban debuted as a singer in the seventh grade. His music teacher chose him to sing a solo of "S'wonderful" at the school's Cabaret Night, where he sang alone on stage for the first time.[18] At this time, he was more focused on theatrical arts.[8] In the summers of 1997 and 1998, he also attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts Camp in Michigan,[14] majoring in music theatre, and began taking vocal lessons. Groban went on to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theatre major and graduated in 1999.[14] He was admitted to Carnegie Mellon University, intending to study drama, but he left four months into his first semester. Offered a recording contract, he decided to pursue his singing career.[14]

Music career[edit]

1998–2001: debut[edit]

In late 1998, the 17-year-old Groban was introduced by his vocal coach to Grammy-winning producer/arranger David Foster and future manager Brian Avnet.[19] At the time Groban had no recording experience and was preparing to begin studying at Carnegie Mellon University.[19] Groban worked for David Foster as a rehearsal singer on a series of high-profile events, including the January 1999 inauguration of Gray Davis as Governor of California and the 1999 Grammy Awards where—as a stand-in for Andrea Bocelli—he rehearsed Foster's "The Prayer" with Céline Dion. According to manager Avnet, Groban was very nervous about standing in for Bocelli and had to be talked into it, but his performance prompted the show hostess, Rosie O'Donnell, to ask him to appear on her show the following week, which then led to an appearance on Ally McBeal.[19] Creator David E. Kelley, created character Malcolm Wyatt for Groban in the season finale aired in May 2001. The character of Malcolm Wyatt was so popular, prompting 8,000 emails from viewers,[20] that Groban was asked to return the next season to reprise his role and perform "To Where You Are." Avnet claims this sequence of events effectively got Groban's career off the ground.[19]

Groban was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros. Records through Foster's 143 Records imprint. Avnet told HitQuarters that Warner initially proved resistant to the deal because "They were afraid they wouldn’t be able to get a voice like that on radio."[19] Explaining his reasons for signing the artist, Foster said: "I love his natural ability in the pop and rock arena, but I love his sense of classics even more. He's a true musical force to be reckoned with."[20] Under Foster's influence, Groban's first album focused more on classics such as "Gira Con Me Questa Notte" and "Alla Luce Del Sole."

Groban performed "There For Me" with Sarah Brightman on her 2000–01 La Luna World Tour, and was featured on her "La Luna" concert DVD. He recorded "For Always" with Lara Fabian on the movie soundtrack to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001). Groban performed in many benefit shows, including: "The Andre Agassi Grand Slam Event For Children," singing alongside Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Don Henley, and Robin Williams; "Muhammad Ali's Fight Night Foundation" which honored Michael J. Fox and others; "The Family Celebration" (2001), which was co-hosted by President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and David E. Kelley and his wife, Michelle Pfeiffer; and Michael Milken's CapCure event, which raises funds for cancer research.

The singer's self-titled debut album Josh Groban was released on November 20, 2001. Over the next year, it went from gold to double-platinum.[21]

2002–05: Closer[edit]

On February 24, 2002, Groban performed "The Prayer" with Charlotte Church at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and by November, he had his own PBS special, "Josh Groban In Concert" (2002). In December 2002, he performed "To Where You Are" and sang "The Prayer" in a duet with Sissel Kyrkjebø at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. He joined The Corrs, Ronan Keating, Sting, Lionel Richie, and others for a Christmas performance at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. In 2003, Groban performed at the David Foster concert for World Children's Day, singing "The Prayer" with Celine Dion and the finale song, "Aren't They All Our Children?" with artists including Yolanda Adams, Nick Carter, Enrique Iglesias, and Celine Dion.

Groban in concert at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH

Groban's second album Closer, produced and written by Foster, was released on November 11, 2003. Groban said that he believed that this second album was a better reflection of him, and that his audience would be able to get a better idea of his personality from listening to it.

"What most people know about me, they know through my music. This time, I've tried to open that door as wide as possible. These songs are a giant step closer to who I really am and what my music is all about. Hence the title."[20]

Two months after Closer was released, it rose on the Billboard charts from number 11 to number one.[6] His cover of "You Raise Me Up" became very popular on the adult contemporary charts. Groban also performed the song "Remember" (with Tanja Tzarovska) on the Troy soundtrack, "Believe" on the soundtrack to the 2004 animated film The Polar Express, and a cover of Linkin Park's "My December".

In the summer of 2004, Groban returned to Interlochen, performing and discussing his earlier experiences with local residents and campers. On November 30, 2004, his second live DVD, Live At The Greek, was released; it was also shown as a Great Performances special on PBS. Also in 2004, Groban performed "Remember When It Rained," backed by a full orchestra, at the American Music Awards, where he was nominated for Favorite Male Artist in the pop category; he was also nominated for a People's Choice Award in that year. His recording of "Believe" secured a 2005 Academy Award nomination for the song's two writers, Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri,[22] and earned them a Grammy in the category Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media at the ceremony held in February 2006.[23]

2005–10: Awake[edit]

Groban earned his first Grammy nomination in 2005 for his single "You Raise Me Up" in the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance category. During the first week of September 2006, Groban's single entitled "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" was released exclusively on AOL's First Listen. His third studio album Awake was officially released on November 7, 2006. Groban performed "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" as well as two other tracks from Awake at his recording session for Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios on 26 October 2006. On that album, Groban also collaborated on the single "Now or Never" with British musician and songwriter Imogen Heap. He performed two tracks with the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "Lullaby" and "Weeping." Groban's "Awake" world tour visited 71 cities between February and August 2007, and toured Australia and the Philippines with Lani Misalucha as his special guest in October 2007. He performed a duet with Barbra Streisand ("All I Know of Love") and with Mireille Mathieu ("Over the Rainbow"). As to his future, Groban is open to a plethora of possibilities. He said, "I am fortunate enough to have had many really big moments in my career. I think the mistake a lot of people in my position make is to always search for the next big thing. I am looking forward to playing some small theaters. I'm looking forward to writing more. I want to delve further into my acting career and explore some of the film and TV opportunities that I haven't had time for. My outlook is to expect the unexpected. And when the next step comes, I'm prepared to take it."[10] Groban has also expressed an interest in performing on Broadway.[24]

2010–present: Illuminations and All That Echoes[edit]

Groban finished his fifth studio album, entitled Illuminations, and the album was released on November 15, 2010.[25] Most of the songs on the album are about "specific situations that I've had where love has existed and ultimately failed," Groban told The New York Times, adding: "And other songs are about the quest, and it just not working out." Groban wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the album.[26] The first single from the album, "Hidden Away," was made available for free download via Facebook on September 8.[27] “For me to sit in a room with a piano in one take with some of Johnny Cash’s musicians — that was totally new for me.” Josh added. “and I think that excitement is on the record.”[26] On October 12, a second single from the upcoming album, "Você Existe Em Mim", was made available on iTunes.[28] This song is sung in Brazilian Portuguese and was written by Brazilian artist Carlinhos Brown. The Washington Post said: "Illuminations" is not a revelation, but it offers a perfectly fine, and often quite lovely, glimpse at a pop-classical crossover artist in the middle of crossing over."[29] Groban plans on making one more record with Rick Rubin.[30] Beginning May 12, 2011 and continuing through December of that year, Groban undertook the 81-city Straight to You Tour to promote Illuminations, encompassing appearances in North America, Europe, and South Africa.[31]

Groban's sixth studio album, All That Echoes was released on February 5, 2013. It debuted at number one by selling 141,000 copies.[32][33] Groban promoted the album with the All That Echoes World Tour in 2013.

Notable performances[edit]

Groban at the ET Post-Emmys Party, Walt Disney Concert Hall, September 21, 2008

In June 2007, Groban recorded a Christmas album in London with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Magdalen College Choir, which he discussed on the DVD from "The Making of Noël". It was released on October 9, 2007, and is titled Noël.[34] The album has been highly successful in the U.S., breaking numerous records for a Christmas album, as well as becoming the best selling album of 2007 in only its tenth week of release, at sales of 3.6 million.[35]

On July 1, 2007, Groban performed with Sarah Brightman at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium; it was broadcast to over 500 million homes in 140 countries. On February 10, 2008, Groban performed at the 2008 Grammy Awards with Andrea Bocelli in a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti.

On April 14, 2008, Groban joined Idina Menzel for a PBS Soundstage taping. The next day, he held his own taping for the same PBS TV series at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall at Jazz in New York City.

On May 12 and 13, 2008 At Royal Albert Hall, London, Groban performed as "The Russian" Anatoly Sergievsky; joining with Broadway stars Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal in "Chess in Concert" a live concert version of the musical Chess composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame. This performance has since been made into a DVD and CD recording.[36] On September 21, 2008, Groban performed a comical medley of well-known TV theme songs at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. In December 2008, Groban appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He performed a duet with Only Men Aloud! at the Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.[37]

On January 18, 2009, Groban performed as part of the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies, performing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in duet with Heather Headley.[38] On January, 19. 2009, Groban performed with Herbie Hancock as part of Feeding America's Rally Against Hunger in Washington DC. The event was also attended by Martin Luther King III and actor Ben Affleck. At the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, he performed the Star Spangled Banner on Jan. 7, 2010, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

Film and television appearances[edit]

Groban has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show six times,[10] as well as on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Larry King Live, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 20/20, Today, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Super Bowl XXXVIII, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has also been a guest co-host on Live with Regis and Kelly many times from 2006 to 2012.

Groban plays Malcolm Wyatt, one of Reverend Harris' choirboys, on Ally McBeal, episodes "The Wedding" and "Nine One One" (2001). He has made two guest appearances on the series Glee as himself.[39]

Groban appeared on BBC Two's hit British music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks. His first appearance was as a guest on Omid Djalili's team. On December 21, 2010, he returned to Never Mind the Buzzcocks, this time as guest host/quiz master and ending the show duetting with Michael Ball in a version of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. He appears in The Office as Andy Bernard's brother in the episodes "Garden Party" (2011) and "The Boat" (2012).[40]

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, Groban appeared as a mystery guest star on the season 12 finale of Dancing With the Stars to surprise Petra Nemcova by singing "You Raise Me Up" to her dance. When she saw that it was he who was actually singing the song and not one of the usual performers, she momentarily was too stunned to continue dancing. In the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love., a film starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, released on July 29, 2011, Groban played a character named Richard, a caddish and nerdy attorney.[41][42]

In 2012, he appeared in episode 5 of series 12 of the revived British comedy panel show Room 101.

In February 2013, Groban appeared in CSI: NY's "Blood Actually" (episode 16 of season 9), performing his new song "Happy In My Heartache",[43] and guest anchored on Canada AM.[44] Also in 2013, he played one of the lead characters, Sam, in Coffee Town produced by CollegeHumor.

Groban appears in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Saves the Day," the 100th of the series. He shows up in Dee's fantasy sequence. On November 7, 2013, he made the first of several appearances in the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones alongside Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar.[45][46]

Groban appeared in the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted as an unnamed prisoner in a maximum security prison in Siberia. Groban's character is first only heard, as he is in a large metal box with a small slot at around eye level. The actor is revealed in a musical number later in the film.[47]

Voice[edit]

Various music critics have described Groban's voice in different ways, with some referring to him as a tenor[48] and others as a baritone.[49][50] In performance, Groban's music goes as low as G2 (as in the songs "To Where You Are" and "Higher Window") and extends up to at least B4[51] (as heard in "You Raise Me Up" or in "February Song").[52] This places his voice lower than the tenor range on the low end, and just short of Tenor C, and therefore above the baritone range, on the high end.[53][54] There is currently no authoritative system of voice classification in non-classical music. The problem lies in the fact that classical terms are used to describe not merely various vocal ranges, but specific vocal timbres each unique to those respective ranges, and produced by the classical training techniques with which most popular singers are not intimately familiar and which are not universally employed by the few that are. In a 2002 New York Times article, Groban described himself as a "tenor in training".[55] He has admitted via Twitter in March 2012 that he is a baritone with some high notes up my sleeve.[56]

Charity[edit]

Josh Groban in concert at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall

Under the guidance of his mentor David Foster, Groban performed for many charity events that included VH1 Save the Music (2005), Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope (2005), Fifth Annual Adopt-A-Minefield concert (2005), 2nd Annual Grammy Jam (2005), Live 8 (2005), The Heart Foundation Gala (2005), and David Foster and Friends Charity Gala (2006).[57] He also sang a solo on the recording of We Are The World 25 for Haiti (2010). Inspired by a visit with Nelson Mandela during a 2004 trip to South Africa, he established the Josh Groban Foundation to help children in need through education, healthcare and the arts. Mandela appointed Groban as an Official Ambassador for Mandela's Project 46664, a campaign to help raise Global awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa. On April 25, 2007, Josh Groban performed with the African Children's Choir on American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" episode. Also on September 2, 2007, Groban donated $150,000 to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to fund music education.[58]

On February 28, 2008, he appeared in One Night Live at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada with Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden and RyanDan in aid of the Sunnybrook Hospital Women and Babies Program. In honor of his 27th birthday, his fans set out to raise $27,000 in a project called "Raise 27". They ended up raising a total of $44,227 for the Josh Groban Foundation, to benefit the Noah's Ark children's orphanage called Siyawela in South Africa. Groban has since referred to this donation as "the best birthday present ever".[59] Groban performed at The Angel Ball on October 21, 2010 to benefit the Gabrielles Angel Foundation for cancer research.[60] In April 2013 and the previous year, Groban took part in Global Poverty Project's "Live Below the Line" campaign, which consists in living on $1.50 a day to raise awareness of extreme poverty around the world. He also wrote a song inspired by the campaign.[61]

On October 30, 2013, Groban met with Little Kids Rock students in Newark, NJ before his concert at the Prudential Center. His Find Your Light Foundation also made a donation to Little Kids Rock to support their mission of keeping music education in our public schools.[62]

Impact[edit]

Some of Groban's musical influences have been Radiohead, Steve Perry, Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Freddie Mercury[63] and Björk. He cites as vocal influences "anyone who told a story with their songs," including Mandy Patinkin, Klaus Nomi, George Hearn, and Luciano Pavarotti.[64]

He was named the #1 Best Selling Artist of All Time on Barnes & Noble in 2007. Groban has sold more than 20 million albums in less than ten years. In 2002, Groban was listed as "100 Sexiest Newcomer" and in 2008, he became one of People's "100 Most Beautiful People".[65]

Personal life[edit]

Groban dated actress January Jones from 2003 to 2006.[66] After that relationship ended, he moved his primary residence to New York City, where he indicates that "dating can be very easy or very tough."[67][68]

Discography[edit]

Concert tours[edit]

References[edit]

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  23. ^ The Polar Express Grammy Awards AllMusic.com. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
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  32. ^ http://www.hitsdailydouble.com/news/newsPage.cgi?news09285
  33. ^ "Album Cover, Title, & Release Date! | Official Josh Groban". Joshgroban.com. 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
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  35. ^ Mayfield, Geoff (December 18, 2007). "Groban's 'Noel' Makes Chart History". Billboard.biz. 
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  38. ^ Daunt, Tina (2009-01-17). "Inauguration revelers have plenty of events to choose from". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
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  41. ^ "Crazy, Stupid, Love Cast and Actor Biographies | Movie Cast and Credits". Tribute.ca. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
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  46. ^ Schmitt, Brad (1 April 2014). "Josh Groban Hates Brad Paisley on New Episode of 'The Crazy Ones'". Country Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  47. ^ http://www.joshgroban.com/news/2014-03-12/josh-makes-cameo-muppets-most-wanted
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  53. ^ Suverkrop, Bard IPA Source, www.ipasource.com. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  54. ^ McKinney, James (1994). The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults. Genovex Music Group. ISBN 978-1-56593-940-0. 
  55. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew "MUSIC; The New Boy Wonder of the Voice", The New York Times, July 9, 2008.
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  57. ^ "Josh Groban Charity Work, Events and Causes", Look to the Stars. Retrieved January 26, 2013
  58. ^ Singer Josh Groban donates $150,000 to CMS
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  60. ^ josh-groban-in-national/josh-groban-announces-tour-and-upcoming-appearances
  61. ^ Mwanza, Nyaka (April 12, 2013). "Josh Groban, Sophia Bush, Hunter Biden and Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos Commit to Live Below the Line". World Food Program USA. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  62. ^ http://www.littlekidsrock.org/friends/our-big-fans/josh-groban/ Retrieved January 13, 2014
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  68. ^ Chinen, Nate (November 11, 2010). "Josh Groban's Album ‘Illuminations'". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]