Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban (born February 27, 1981) is a American singer-songwriter. He has concentrated his career so far mostly in concert singing and recordings, although he has stated that he wishes to pursue music theatre in the future. As of July 2009, he has sold 19,147,000 albums in the United States alone. Groban received a Grammy for his song Believe and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.
Groban was born in Los Angeles to a schoolteacher mother and a businessman father. His father is of Russian Jewish descent and his Norwegian American mother's grandparents were from the eastern Norwegian district of Toten. Groban was raised an Episcopalian. Chris, his younger brother by four years shares a birthday with him. He stands 5' 9.75" (177 cm).
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. In 1997 and 1998, Groban attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, majoring in music theatre, which is also when he began taking vocal lessons outside of school.
I started taking music lessons on the side. I was very much into musical theatre. I had a pretty good baritone voice, so I began acting and singing in school productions.
In college Groban trained to be an opera singer. In the 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 C?line Dion ? and the January 1999 inauguration of Gray Davis as governor of California.
Groban attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theatre major, graduated in 1999, and then attended Carnegie Mellon University, intending to study drama, but he left after four months into his first semester.
Groban was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros. Records through Foster's 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." Therefore, under Foster's influence, Groban's first album focused more on the classics with songs such as "Gira Con Me" and "Alla 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?01 La Luna World Tour, featured on her "La Luna" Concert DVD. He made his recording debut by singing "For Always" with Lara Fabian on the movie soundtrack to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001). Groban 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 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.
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 with Groban's performance at The Family Celebration event, and based on the audience reaction to Groban's singing, Kelley created a character for Groban in this finale. The character of Malcolm Wyatt was so popular, with 8,000 emails from fans, that Groban was asked to return the next season to reprise his role and perform "To Where You Are."
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.
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 2002, 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 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, also 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 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."
Two months after Closer was released, it rose on the Billboard charts from number 11 to number one. His cover of Brian Kennedy's "You Raise Me Up" became very popular on the adult contemporary charts, even featuring as the debut song for the always-popular Lakehouse 2008. 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".
During the summer of 2004, Groban returned to Interlochen, where he gave a performance to local residents and campers, also speaking about his experiences as a young performer. On November 30, 2004, his second live DVD, Live At The Greek, was released. It also ran 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. Groban 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 have included The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Jay Leno, Larry King Live, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, 20/20, The Today Show, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, and the Rockefeller Tree Lighting.
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. Josh 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 this album Groban also collaborated with British musician and songwriter Imogen Heap, on the single "Now or Never". Two tracks were performed with the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, namely "Lullaby" and "Weeping", both songs having strong African influences. Groban toured with Angelique Kidjo around the U.S. for his Awake tour. The latter also featured a performance by another famous South African artist, Vusi Mahlasela. Groban's "Awake" world tour visited 71 cities between February and August 2007, and travelled further to Australia and the Philippines with Lani Misalucha as his special guest in October 2007. 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 expressed an interest in performing on Broadway one day.
In June 2007, Groban spent some weeks in London recording a Christmas album with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Magdalen College Choir, which he discussed on the DVD from "The Making of No?l". It was released on October 9, 2007 and is titled No?l. 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.
On 10 February 2007, Groban performed at the 2008 Grammy Awards with Andrea Bocelli in a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti.
On 14 April 2007, 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.
Groban was nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for International Album of the Year for No?l. In collaboration with French chanson legend Charles Aznavour, the two of them recorded Aznavour's signature song La Boh?me as a duet in English and French. It is due to be released on Aznavour's next album, titled Duets.
On 1 July 2007, Groban performed with Sarah Brightman for the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium. Around 15 million people from across the UK watched Concert for Diana at home, and it was broadcast to over 500 million homes in 140 countries.
On 23 August 2007, Groban performed "You Raise Me Up" on Episode 14 of the talent show Last Choir Standing.
On 15 July 2008, Groban performed "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at the 79th All-Star Game in New York City at Yankee Stadium.
On 29 August 2008, Groban appeared on the final episode of The Charlotte Church Show for a brief interview. The show ended as Groban performed "The Prayer" with host Charlotte Church.
On 21 September 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.
On Sunday, 18 January 2009, Groban performed as part of the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies, performing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in duet with Heather Headley.
In March 2009, it was announced that Josh Groban is going out with Katy Perry. Subsequently, Groban's publicist Luke Burland denied the rumor, stating that "Josh and Katy are very close friends and hang out, but they are not a couple." On 28 March, 2009, Groban performed a duet of "Bridge over Troubled Water" with Jordin Sparks for the charity event Celebrity Fight Night.
In March 2009, Groban covered the hits of the late Casey Tatum and his brother on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. On September 14, 2009, Groban appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and surprised an audience member. Two days later he made a cameo appearance on Glee.
Classifying Groban's voice
Various music critics have described Groban's voice in different ways, with some referring to him as a tenor and others as a baritone. In performance, Groban's music goes as low as G2 (as in the song "To Where You Are") and extends up to at least B4 flat or the first B flat above middle C (as heard in "You Raise Me Up"). 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. In a 2002 New York Times article, Groban described himself as a "tenor in training".
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 Adopt-A-Annual Minefield concert (2005), 2nd Annual Grammy Jam (2005), Live 8 (2005), The Heart Foundation Gala (2005), and David Foster and Friends Charity Gala (2006). 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 Josh Groban donated $150,000 to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to fund music education. 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".
Influences and personal details
Some of Groban's musical influences have been Radiohead, Steve Perry, Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Freddie Mercury and Bj?rk. He says he is able to look up to anyone, musically, who has pushed the boundaries and stepped outside of the box. His interpretations of "You Raise Me Up" and "O Holy Night," have been particularly well received. As for vocal influences, "anyone who told a story with their songs," including Mandy Patinkin, Klaus Nomi, George Hearn, and Luciano Pavarotti.
Josh Groban dated January Jones from 2003?06. He continues to reside in his hometown of Los Angeles, California.