Joshua Winslow Groban (born February 27, 1981) is an American Grammy nominated singer/songwriter known for his mature and lyrical baritone voice.
Josh Groban was born in Los Angeles, California, to a Jewish American father (a descendant of Polish and Russian immigrants) and a Norwegian American mother. His father converted to Christianity upon marriage, and Groban was raised an Anglican-Episcopalian. His younger brother Christopher shares a birthday with him four years later.1
Groban debuted as a singer in seventh grade, but soon put it on hold for a few years. 'I enjoyed the arts aspects, but my grades were slipping. I didn't feel that I was getting enough creative input. So I went to Bridges Academy to get my grades up to straight A's.' While at Bridges Academy, Groban took normal classes from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM, and then afterwards attended theatre classes.2 He also played the penny whistle in grade school.
In 1997 and 1998, Groban attended the Interlochen Arts Camp, majoring in musical theater, which is also when he began taking voice lessons outside of school. 'I started taking music lessons on the side. I was very much into musical theater. I had a pretty good baritone voice, so I began acting and singing in school productions'.3
In late 1998, the 17-year-old Groban was introduced by his vocal coach to Grammy-winning producer/arranger David Foster. Groban worked for Foster as a rehearsal singer on a series of high-profile events, including the 1999 Grammy Awards -- where, as a stand-in for Andrea Bocelli, he rehearsed Foster's 'The Prayer' with CÚline Dion -- and the January 1999 inauguration of Gray Davis as governor of California. Josh auditioned with 'All I Ask Of You' from Phantom of the Opera for the latter, which occurred only one month previous to the Grammy Awards.
Josh attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theater major and graduated in 1999. After graduation, he expected to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
After only one year in the drama department at Carnegie Mellon University, his choice school, Groban left when he was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros. Records through Foster's own 143 Records imprint. With regard to signing Groban, 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.'4 Therefore, under Foster's influence, Groban's first album focused more on the classics with songs such as 'Gira Con Me' and 'Alle Luce Del Sole,' the first ones decided on by Foster and Groban.
Soon after being picked up by Foster, Groban went on to perform 'There For Me' with Sarah Brightman on her 2000-2001 La Luna Tour, featured on her 'La Luna' Concert DVD, and made his recording debut by singing 'For Always' with Lara Fabian on the movie soundtrack to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001). He also became involved in many benefit shows, including the following: '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 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.
Groban played the role of Malcolm Wyatt in the May 2001 season finale of the television series Ally McBeal, performing 'You're Still You.' The series creator, David E. Kelley, was impressed at Groban's performance at The Family Celebration event, and, based on the audience reaction to Groban's singing, Kelley created a character for Josh in this finale. The character of Malcolm Wyatt was so popular, with 8,000 emails from fans4, that Groban was asked to come back the next season to reprise his role and perform 'To Where You Are.'
The singer's eponymous debut album Josh Groban was released on November 20, 2001. Over the next year, it went from gold to double-platinum.5
On February 24, 2002, Groban performed 'The Prayer' with Charlotte Church at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and by November, he had his own PBS special, Josh Groban In Concert (2002). In December he performed 'To Where You Are' and then sang 'The Prayer' in a duet with Sissel Kyrkjeb° at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. He then 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 created concert for World Children's Day. He performed 'The Prayer' with Celine Dion and the finale song, 'Aren't They All Our Children' with artists like Yolanda Adams, Nick Carter, Enrique Iglesias and Celine Dion.
Groban's second album Closer, also produced by Foster, was released the following year, on November 11. Josh himself 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 him personally 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.' 4
Two months after Closer was released, it rose on the Billboard charts from number 11 to number one.6 His cover of Brian Kennedy's 'You Raise Me Up' became very popular on the adult contemporary charts.
Josh also performed the song 'Remember' (with Tanja Tzarovska) on the Troy soundtrack. He also performed on the soundtrack to the 2004 animated film The Polar Express, featured in the song 'Believe.'
During the summer of 2004, Josh returned to Interlochen, where he gave a performance to local residents, as well as campers ranging from elementary school to high school age. He additionally signed many autographs, and spoke about his experiences as a young performer.
On November 30 of the same year, his second live DVD, Live At The Greek, was released. It also ran as a Great Performances special on PBS. Also in 2004, Josh performed 'Remember When It Rained,' backed by a full orchestra, at the American Music Awards where he was up for Favorite Male Artist in the pop category. Josh and his recordings were nominated for more than a dozen awards in 2004, including the American Music Award, World Music Award, Academy Award, and a Grammy.
Other appearances include The Oprah Winfrey Show, Jay Leno, Larry King Live, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, 20/20, The Today Show, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Super Bowl XXXVIII, and the Rockefeller Tree Lighting.7
During the first week of September 2006, Groban's latest single entitled 'You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)', was exclusively released to AOL's First Listen. It was taken from his third studio album Awake, which was officially released on November 7, 2006. 8 He will be launching a world tour in early 2007.
A very talented multi-instrumentalist, Groban plays piano, drums, washboard, piano accordion, marimbas, saw, triple-necked electric guitar, flugelhorn, dulcimer, and has expressed an interest in learning to play uilleann pipes (similar to bagpipes but Irish).
He did a duet with Barbra Streisand ('All I Know of Love') and also in 2007 a duet with Mireille Mathieu ('Over the Rainbow'). Groban has dreams of returning to his theatrical roots and performing on Broadway one day.
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 Adopt-A-Annual Minefield concert (2005), 2nd Annual Grammy Jam (2005), The Heart Foundation Gala (2005), David Foster and Friends Charity Gala (2006), and Live 8 (2005) . 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. 9 Mandela appointed Groban as an Official Ambassador for Mandela's Project 46664, a campaign to help raise Global awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa. While this appointment has given him access to countless South African children, Groban's thirst for souls can never truly be quenched.
Some of Groban's musical influences have been Radiohead, Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Bj÷rk.7 He says he is able to look up to anyone, musically, who has pushed the boundaries and stepped outside of the box. As for vocal influences, 'anyone who told a story with their songs,' including: Mandy Patinkin, Klaus Nomi, George Hearn, and Luciano Pavarotti.10
- Josh Groban In Concert - 2002
- CHESS: Actors' Benefit Fund Concert - 2003
- Live At The Greek - 2004
- Come Together Now - Hurricane Relief Concert - 2005
- Ally McBeal Season 4 Box Set 2 (DVD) - 2002 - In episode 'The Wedding' Josh plays Malcolm Wyatt and performs 'You're Still You'
- Ally McBeal Season 5 Box Set 1 (DVD) - 2003 - In episode 'Nine One One' Josh plays Malcolm Wyatt and performs 'To Where You Are'
- ^ Groban Archives: Dave 'Til Dawn interview transcript
- ^ Josh Groban in The Simpsons!
- ^ Evening at Pops 2004: Biographies: Josh Groban
- ^ a b c Official Josh Groban site
- ^ New Sets By Industry Vets Post Strong Sales RIAA newsletter December 4, 2002
- ^ VH1 Josh Groban biography
- ^ a b Josh Groban biography
- ^ Josh Groban New CD 'Awake' in Stores on November 7th
- ^ Josh Groban Message Forum
- ^ On the Brink of Stardom: Josh Groban live Internet chat on ABCNEWS.com
External links This biography is published under the GNU Licence