BIOGRAPHYLet me preface this by saying that I don't think it's ever possible to encapsulate a person's life in print, especially one that has been as remarkable as Josh Groban's. If you really want to get to know more about the person Josh is, I'd advise you to watch or read his interviews and get to know other fans who have been around a while. Having said that.... Josh's life so far makes for a great showbiz story. There have been many, many high points for which his fans are extremely proud and constantly amazed. If you have been asking, "So....who IS that Josh Groban guy?"... here is the beginning of your answer.
It All Begins
Joshua Winslow Groban was born February 27, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. His father, Jack, and mother, Lindy, provided Josh and his younger brother Chris with a home environment that was loving and supportive and full of music. As a child, Josh was exposed to many kinds of music, from rock to musical theater. His parents were not musicians (although his dad did play trumpet in college) but did have an appreciation for music, art, and theater that they passed on to their children. A natural-born musician, Josh banged on pots and pans, learned to play piano by ear, and sang typical children's songs around the house. He grew up loving and respecting music, and grew to respect the intimate connection between a performer and an audience.
Josh apparently had a happy but typical childhood up until the seventh grade, when he made his singing debut. His music teacher tapped Josh to perform a solo of "S'wonderful" at the school's Cabaret Night, and Josh sang solo on stage for the first time. When mom Lindy heard his voice from outside the auditorium, she didn't even know it was him. . . and when she realized it was Josh singing, it made her cry. When his voice changed from the high, "jazzy" voice of a young boy to a rich baritone, people took notice. He attended the Interlochen Arts Camp in 1997 and 1998 to continue his training. He learned to play the drums and began honing his singing talent through voice lessons. When Josh entered the LA County High School for the Arts, he began to blossom into the performer he would become. Innately shy, Josh had not been the type of kid to draw attention through athletics or academics; in this new environment, he found a place where he could be the center of attention comfortably. . . on stage. He took classes for half of each day and studied theater for he other half, and soon was a "big man on campus" with lead roles in the school's productions, such as the role of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof."
Finding His Voice
At the young age of seventeen, Josh's world changed drastically when his vocal coach, Seth Riggs, submitted a tape of Josh singing "All I Ask of You" (from "Phantom of the Opera") to producer David Foster. Foster heard the tape and recognized the enormous talent and potential that Josh possessed, and invited Josh to sing at the inauguration of California governor Gray Davis.
The Buzz Begins
Josh, who up until this point had concentrated on musical theater, began to realize his potential as a solo vocalist. He sang "Mattinata" on Rosie's show and performed at several high-profile charity events, including A Family Celebration, which was attended by President Clinton, among many other dignitaries and celebrities. Josh sang "The Prayer" again, this time with friend (and fellow Foster protigee) Nita Whitaker. TV producer David E. Kelley was in the audience and was so impressed with Josh's performance that he created a role for him on the hit show, "Ally McBeal." Josh played Malcolm Wyatt, a shy high school student who is dumped by his girlfriend just days before the senior prom and hires Ally to sue his ex. Malcolm, who ends up taking Ally to the prom, performs a solo of "You're Still You" onstage during the show.
The day following Josh's appearance on Ally McBeal, thousands of people across the country began phoning radio stations and searching the internet looking for information about this unknown kid with the amazing voice. Many people believed that the song was dubbed, and that Josh himself wasn't really singing the song. Realizing that the buzz was growing, Josh's team put together a website where people could go to find more information about Josh and his music. . . www.joshgroban.com. Fans began to gather on the boards and began helping to promote Josh's career, and Grobania was born! Josh recorded his first song, a duet of "For Always" with Lara Fabian, for the soundtrack of the movie "AI: Artificial Intelligence." Word about Josh began to spread quickly, and he and David Foster worked with some of the best songwriters in the business to put together his debut CD, which was released in November of 2001. In December, Josh revisited his role of Malcolm Wyatt on a second episode of Ally Mcbeal, where he sang "To Where You Are." .
The Debut CD
With the release of his debut CD, "Josh Groban," Josh was thrown onto the fast track to super-stardom. Voted People Magazine's "Sexiest Newcomer of 2002," he appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, the Tonight Show, the View, the Today Show, and Larry King Live, among many others. He performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics with Charlotte Church, performed the National Anthem in front of President Bush, sang at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies and for the Pope at the Vatican . His promotional tour took him throughout the US and Canada, as well as Norway, Spain, UK, Sweden, Japan, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Germany. His debut CD has now sold well over 5 million copies.
Success of his CD led Josh to his first, amazing solo concert in Pasadena, California, in late 2002 for PBS's Great Performances series. He performed songs from the album with guests David Foster, Angie Stone, Andrea Corr, and Lili Haydn, and the show was recorded as "Josh Groban: Live in Concert," which became the biggest selling concert DVD of the year.
Josh had the opportunity to realize his dream of performing on Broadway in September 2003, when he played the role of Anatoly in a production of "Chess" for the Actor's Fund, which received rave reviews from theater critics and Josh fans alike.
The Second CD Brings Josh Closer
In November 2003, Josh released his sophomore album, "Closer," which was again produced by David Foster. Josh brought much more of his own personality, preferences, and style to this CD, playing piano on "Remember When It Rained" and co-writing three of its songs. A lover of world music, Josh collaborated with the French group Deep Forest to write "Remember When It Rained" and "Never Let Go." He also co-wrote the music for "Per Te" with Walter Afanasieff. "Closer" hit number one on the Billboard pop charts on January 6, 2004, and its first single, "You Raise Me Up," gave Josh his first bonafide megahit when it topped the pop charts at #1 in March 2004.
The year that followed was one of enormous successes for Josh. In February 2004, he performed at the preshow tribute to the space shuttle Columbia crew at the Superbowl, then was the subject of a "Vh1 Spotlight" show. That same month, he began his amazing concert tour, which sold out all shows in less than 30 minutes, and was concluded in the US with the taping of a new PBS Special DVD at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. He performed for nearly a billion viewers at the We Are the Future concert at the Circus Maximus in Rome, then broke AOL records with his Broadband Rocks Live concert, which was viewed by more than 100,000 people on the first night. He was nominated for the World's Best Male Artist and was awarded the AOL Red Member's Choice Award at the 2004 World Music Awards. He was nominated for Favorite Male Artist in the pop/rock category for the 2004 American Music Awards, and for Favorite Male Artist at the People's Choice Awards. The Soundtrack from the motion picture "Troy," for which Josh sang the theme song, was nominated for the 2004 World Soundtrack Award. Josh recorded "Believe," the theme song for the soundtrack to the blockbuster Christmas movie "The Polar Express," which shot to the top of the Adult Contemporary charts, giving him his FOURTH #1 single! His first international tour kicked off in South Africa on November 27th to sold-out crowds, and Josh was presented with his SIX TIMES PLATINUM award for "Closer" in that country. Josh met with Nelson Mandela and volunteered to be enlisted as an ambassador for the global 46664 project in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Josh finished out 2004 with nominations for MTV Asia's "Favorite Male Artist," Critic's Choice and Golden Globe nominations for his song, "Believe," a Pollstar Award nomination for "Best New Touring Artist," and a GRAMMY Award nomination for "Best Pop Vocal Performance." His Closer album finished the year as the #3 top-selling album on the Billboard 200 Charts. The third leg of his first tour, "Josh Groban Live," kicked off January 22nd in Verona, New York, and tickets sold out in venues across the country. The hugely successful tour closed in Sioux City on March 24, 2005.
Awake and Back Out On The Road
After a wildly popular performance at Live8 with Sarah McLachlan in July 2005 and making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House as a guest of Barbara Cook in January 2006, Josh retreated to the studio to begin production on his third album. Influenced strongly by his early love of world music and his experiences as an ambassador for Nelson Mandela's 46664 project, Josh collaborated with many unexpected artists to develop the new album's eclectic sound. Co-writing with Imogen Heap, Jon Ondrasik, Dave Matthews, Eric Mouquet, and performing alongside Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Herbie Hancock, Tower of Power, and Vusi Mahlasela, "Awake" (released November 7, 2006) proved that Josh was decidedly no one's "opera boy". The new album was certified platinum within its first month of release and rose to #2 on the Billboard 200 charts. The much-anticipated Awake Tour kicked off January 2007 in Verona, New York, and took Josh to Australia (for the first time in concert), and throughout the US and Europe before ending October 18, 2007 in Manila, Philippines. Josh was named as the #5 top-selling artist for ticket sales in the US, and ranked the #1 Best-Selling Artist of All Time by Barnes & Noble.
A Spectacular Christmas Surprise
After wrapping up the Awake Live Tour, fans were treated to the release of Josh's first Christmas album, "Noel." Including duets with Faith Hill, Brian McKnight, and featuring the accoustic guitar talent of Andy McKee, Noel shot to the very top of the US album charts. Propelled by its inclusion in Oprah's "Favorite Things" show, Noel rose to #1 on the Billboard charts and stayed there for five weeks...making it not only the #1 ALBUM OF 2007 but also breaking records as the first holiday album to remain at #1 for three weeks or more...a record previously held by Elvis Presley since 1957.
This is where the facts end and pure speculation begins. With his talent and drive, the possibilities for Josh are pretty much endless. He's a multitalented performer, and he's expressed interest in theater and acting as well as music. He continues to be offered scripts for acting roles, so we may one day see him on the silver screen. He's said that he's learned to love touring and that he hopes to release several more albums in the next few years, so it's likely that he will continue recording music despite any other projects that come along. Josh may decide to move into the world of opera one day, or may stick to the genre-fusing pop music that has made him so wildly popular. One thing I believe is certain is that he will continue to make music with as much honesty and passion as possible...and his fans will continue to love him for it.
This biography is an original work and may not be reprinted, in whole or in part, without permission. Permission may be obtained by contacting the author. This information was compiled from dozens of published articles, interviews, and Internet sources. It is possible that the original journalists reporting this information could have made factual errors that would be reflected here. At any rate, this is the whole story as I know it. If you have any verifiable information to add or question any of the facts here, please contact me.
A complete list of Josh's appearances can be found by going here on Josh's website.
Transcripts of interviews and a comprehensive list of articles can be found at Cindy's great site, The Groban Archives. Thanks, Cindy!
Many of the interviews used for this biography can be found on the TJGG Media Page.