You can order Josh Groban's new CD Here!
19-year old Josh Groban has a story as compelling and as real as you are likely to hear in the world of pop or classical music. Discovered by world-renowned producer/writer/arranger David Foster, Josh's journey to his label home, the Foster/Warner Brothers joint venture - 143 Records - reads like the stuff of show business legend.
"I've had an interesting route getting to this place," says the affable teen. That 'place' he speaks of will find him releasing a Foster-helmed debut album sometime in 2001. Not bad for a kid who had only joined the school vocal group because - in Josh's words: "everyone else was doing it."
Born in Los Angeles, Josh put singing on hold two or three years after his seventh grade debut because he had to change schools. It was only when he attended a Los Angeles County arts school did Josh begin to take his talent seriously. "I started taking music lessons on the side," he recalls. "I was very much into musical theater. I had a pretty good baritone voice, so I began acting and singing in school productions."
Citing Mandy Patinkin as one of his early musical theater heroes, Josh realized late in 1998 that his intense vocal discipline was about to pay off. "I was studying with a vocal coach who knew David Foster. One day David called him and said he needed a singer right away for an event he was putting on for the Governor of California's Inauguration."
Josh sent in a tape to Foster, and the next thing he knew he was called to rehearse for the event. The song was "All I Ask Of You," and Josh nailed it. The Inauguration event was a huge success, and much to Josh's surprise the Foster-Groban juggernaut was on a roll. "A month later David calls me and asks me if I know the Celine Dion/Andrea Bocelli song 'The Prayer.' I say 'of course.'" The song, which appeared on both Bocelli's and Dion's own albums, was in fact, written by Foster.
Incredibly, David was enlisting Groban to fill-in at the 1999 Grammy rehearsals for Bocelli, who wasn't able to make the practice session. Josh was in shock. "You have to remember, he was asking me to come down to the Shrine and sing with Celine Dion," he laughs. "At first I said no. I was afraid the song was too high for me, and God knows, I didn't want to embarrass myself." But a persistent Foster prevailed, and the then 17-year-old Josh sped down to the auditorium, where he sang the Oscar nominated song in front of several other Grammy nominated artists, and - much to his disbelief - with Celine herself.
"The whole experience was unreal," remembers Josh. "David invited me back to the dress rehearsal, and there I am sitting in the front row watching Aerosmith and Madonna do their thing." But the story gets even more incredible. The Grammy host for that year, Rosie O' Donnell noticed Josh in the audience of the dress rehearsal and invited him backstage. "You're the opera boy, huh? You were great," she told the young singer, and booked Josh for her TV show on the spot. A few weeks later Groban appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell show, and was even interviewed by the comedian.
Josh continued to perform at events for Foster, but he also began to concentrate on attaining a college education. Soon, Josh received news that Carnegie Mellon's prestigious musical theater department accepted him. When Foster booked Groban for yet another music industry party, "that was the beginning of the conflict," says Josh. "I was thrilled to be singing for David, but also excited about attending classes at Carnegie Mellon. They didn't take well to me leaving school to do these type of events." He kept the commitment, however, and it was at the music industry event where a group of Warner Brothers executives told Foster they were interested in signing Groban to a record deal. David responded quickly, and soon after Josh decided to put school on hold to pursue his singing career.
The two already have a selection of songs recorded for the debut album, including "Alla Luce Del Sole," and "Gira Con Me." Josh also recorded a duet with Barbra Streisand of a Foster-penned song that may be released on a future album. Foster especially admires Josh's versatility. "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."
When asked what style suits the vocalist best, he takes his time to answer. "People will want to classify me as opera I suppose, but I won't even be touching opera songs for a long time. I want my voice to mature. I hope to look back on my career five or ten years from now and see that I continued to grow as a singer. I would never want to be pigeonholed."
Josh has been lending his vocal talent at several benefits in the last few months. They include Muhammad Ali's Fight Night Foundation honoring Michael J. Fox and others; The Family Celebration 2001 co-hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton along with David Kelley and wife, Michelle Pfeiffer; Michael Milken's CapCure event, which raises funds for cancer research.
Josh also appeared on the stellar 2001 season finale of the hit television program, Ally McBeal. He performed the heartfelt song, "You're Still You," (from his forthcoming debut) at his character's high school prom - an event that was central to the finale plot line. A second song, "For Always (Duet)," performed by Josh Groban and Lara Fabian, will also be making an early appearance on the "A.I." soundtrack. "It's been like a dream so far," says Josh. "All I can say is stay tuned."
You can order Josh Groban's new CD Here!