In today's papers !
Channel News AsiaOctober 31, 2006
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By Steven Chia in London
He has written and produced songs, performed with the likes of Barbara Streisand, Sarah Brightman and Elton John, sold tens of millions of albums, been backed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and had guest spots on TV's Ally McBeal and American Dad! But ask angelic-voiced, 25-year-old Josh Groban if he thinks he has truly arrived as a singer and he points to the one honour he still longs to add to his stellar CV. A career-long string of No 1 albums? A week of sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden? A career as varied and lengthy as those of singing legends Streisand or Frank Sinatra? No doubt, Groban aspires to all of those goals. But for now, he'd settle for a spot alongside Homer, Bart and Krusty the Clown on TV's longest-running sitcom. "My dream is to have a guest role on The Simpsons," he told Channel NewsAsia with a smile during an interview in London to promote his new album Awake, which is due out in Singapore November 7. "That's when you know you've made it." While some might dispute Groban's definition of success, there's no denying that the baby-faced singer with the otherworldly voice has seen his fair share of it. At an age when many young people are still sorting out what they want to do with their lives, Groban is a bona fide music superstar. Only about five years into his career, the curly-haired crooner is already so in-demand as a performer that he spends much of his time travelling the globe, working with the biggest names in the industry and treating music lovers to songs delivered in what can only be described as his heavenly baritone. Is it any wonder then that more than 10 million copies of his two studio albums, Josh Groban (2001) and Closer (2004), have been sold worldwide and that the singer himself has developed such a rabid following that his fans have proudly taken on the name "Grobanites"? For someone who is so widely adored and who has earned so many accolades in such a short time, Groban is surprisingly down-to-earth in person. He's even good-humoured enough to make light of the Grobanite label, for which there is even a definition on the Internet: "An ardent Josh Groban fan; characterised by a passion for sharing his music". "Grobanite sounds a bit like a disease," he said with a laugh. "But it could be worse, I guess." Indeed, had circumstances not conspired to put him in the right place at the right time, Groban might never have had a music career at all. The night he replaced Bocelli Discovered almost by accident at age 17 by Grammy-winning producer David Foster, who has worked with the likes of Bryan Adams, Michael Buble and Celine Dion among many others, Groban's ascent to superstardom happened, in his words, "so fast that you don't fully appreciate it". Still, as the son of a father who learned the trumpet by ear and a mother who is a high school art teacher and designer, a career in the arts was something Groban had in mind from a young age. "Sure, you always dream about writing, singing songs for a large audience," he said. "I just wanted to sing songs for people. 'Gosh,' I thought, 'If anybody ever paid me to sing songs for people. That's too big a dream'." Though it wasn't so big a dream that he couldn't achieve it, the story behind Groban's fame seems like something out of a movie. "I was plucked out of high school," the singer said matter-of-factly of his Hollywood-like "discovery". "David Foster was looking for someone who could sing the way I sang ¡ He called my voice teacher and asked who could sing. I made a tape and he said: 'Hey! You're pretty good'." Though the opportunity to perform at a charity concert was the short-term outcome of the audition, that tape snatched Groban from obscurity and thrust him into a spotlight that has yet to dim. Two weeks after his performance, Foster called him again, this time with an unheard-of request: Fill in for Andrea Bocelli and perform a duet with Celine Dion. "I thought: 'What huge shoes to fill'," Groban said. "I went to the Shrine Auditorium (in Los Angeles) and it was one of the greatest experiences. It was moments like that that David kept putting me in: Those defining moments - it was sink or swim - the opportunities were handed to me and it was preparation meets opportunity." It was also an offer that required him to step in for one of the world's leading tenors, a prospect that might leave even the most experienced singer with an epic case of the nerves. Was it overwhelming for Groban?"Absolutely," he said without hesitation. "But you have these moments where you realise that you can do more than you thought you could." An album to rouse the crowdJust as the singer realised he had untapped reserves of strength and skill, Groban's new album, Awake, promises to introduce Grobanites to a side of him they've never seen. While Awake has it's fair share of the slower pieces for which Groban is known, it also features some upbeat tracks arising from collaborations with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Dave Matthews, Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik and former Alanis Morissette producer Glen Ballard. "I learned from touring that my fans are really open-minded, musical, intelligent people and I feel like they want to come on this new journey with me," Groban said of the record. "The music still sounds like it's coming from my heart and my soul and my voice. That is the most important thing to me. My goal on Awake was to create the music and find the best people to help me create it." If his reaction to Weeping - one of the tracks on the album - is anything to go by, it's a journey his fans will be happy to take. "When I heard the song, I was floored," said Groban. "I heard it in South Africa. It was written by a soldier who was fed up by all he had seen. "The lyrics are so poetic, so poignant. Especially with what we are dealing with at this time, the song reminds us not to forget our common humanity in times of conflict, not to forget the similarities we all have." Groban may not be well known for championing social causes or for rallying listeners to take up causes in the manner of Bob Dylan or Bob Geldof, but he clearly hopes his new album, as its title suggests, will open some eyes and spur some people to action. "It will make you want to get up and do something," he said. "That is when music can be its best, when you can combine both beautiful sound and beautiful music. Wrap yourself in it and it still makes you think." As for where the deeper, more socially conscious Groban goes from here, he seemed hesitant to say. "You can't help but change," said the singer, who claims to be happily single after breaking up with girlfriend January Jones in June. "But I'm one of those people who think the very next day it's going to end." As unlikely as that seems, Groban would no doubt carry on singing - while holding out hope that Simpsons stardom might still come his way. Groban bytes Josh Groban's fans, who refer to themselves as "Grobanites", are a passionate lot with a penchant for compiling lists of all things Groban. Here's a random sampling of, well, random facts from the Internet. * Favourite foods include sushi, Rice Krispy treats, coffee ice cream, vegetarian mushroom pizza, dark bittersweet chocolate and ... erm ... ketchup. * Beyond singing, Groban is a capable musician on the drums, piano, flute, uilleann pipe (an elbow-powered type of bagpipe) and penny whistle. * Not one to limit himself to a single music genre, Groban's list of favourite artists includes Bjork, Paul Simon, Linkin Park, Radiohead, fusion dance troupe Afro-Celt Sound System, heavy metal act Disturbed and, of course, tenors Luciano Pavorotti and Placido Domingo. * The Simpsons notwithstanding, Groban's favourite TV shows are the animated shows Dexter's Laboratory and Power Puff Girls along with late-night chat shows The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. * Groban's May 2001 appearance on TV's Ally McBeal, where he played a character called Malcolm Wyatt and sang You're Still You, set off a flood of visits to the show's website by viewers who couldn't believe the voice they had heard belonged to him.
4 ASIA FANS !Spore Channel News Asia EXCLUSIVE JG interview
Josh said on this morning's sneak peak at the interview -( full interview can be caught online soon ! No worries . )
He'll see us REALLLL SOOOOON ! of course he wants to tour to this part of the world too ! & he hopes to be able to do it many , many times !
Let the PARTY begin - he said ! Also he said "Thank YOU for being so accepting of his music even tho' we havent seen him ! " ( lol )
They got him to speak a few words in Mandarin - meaning "thank you ,audience " ! lol "xie, xie ... "
Also the interviewer told him to practise a Mandarin rap song - for the tour ! Josh said - yeah maybe he'll come up with a surprise ! lol