Joshua Winslow Groban, popularly known as Josh Groban, is an American singer, songwriter, and actor with several multi-platinum albums to his credit. Although he is best known for his romantic ballads songs, he also likes to perform opera and classical songs in Italian, Spanish, and French. Groban was inspired by music at an early age, but he did not take it up seriously till he was in the seventh grade and auditioned for a school event. Although his teacher was impressed with his voice and allowed him to perform a solo, he did not become popular with the kids who loved to listen to rap. He initially studied acting and decided to pursue a career in singing only later. Groban, who did not want to limit himself to one particular musical style, came to prominence with his debut album in 2001, and became the best-selling new male artist. In fact, his first four solo albums were super hits, and were certified multi-platinum. In 2007, he was the number one best selling artist in the United States. Besides his singing career, he has appeared in four films and about 22 TV series till date. Also a philanthropist, he is a member of Americans for the Arts Artists Committee, and has set up the Find Your Light Foundation to make young people aware of arts and culture.
Childhood & Early Life
Josh Groban was born on February 27, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, to schoolteacher Lindy and businessman Jack Groban. He and his younger brother Chris share the same birthday. His father is a Jewish descendant, but converted from Judaism to Christianity after marrying his mother.
He sang a solo rendition of ‘S'wonderful’ at a school event when he was in the seventh grade. At that time, he was more interested in acting than singing.
In 1998, when Groban was 17, the Grammy-winning producer David Foster spotted him. He started working for David Foster as a rehearsal singer and participated in high-profile events like the 1999 Grammy Awards, where he rehearsed Foster's ‘The Prayer’. His performance was appreciated, and Rosie O'Donnell, the show hostess, offered him a chance to appear on her show. This way, Groban started appearing in big events, and slowly accumulated a good fan following.
He graduated in 1999 from the Los Angeles County High School for Arts as a theater major. He then took admission in Carnegie Mellon University to study musical theatre, but left after four months as he received a recording contract.
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In 2001, Josh Groban recorded the song ‘For Always’ for the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s movie ‘A.I.: Artificial Intelligence’. He was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros, and his first studio album, ‘Josh Groban’ was released on November 20, 2001. The track ‘To Where You Are’ took the number 1 position on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and ‘You're Still You’ reached the number 10 position on the same chart.
He performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. He also performed at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
His second studio album ‘Closer’ was released in November 2003. While half of the songs were sung in English, the other songs were sung in Italian, Spanish, and French.
On the Billboard 200 chart, the album started off at position 4, and by January 2004, it had reached the top position. In Australia, it peaked at the 25th position on the ARIA Albums Chart of Australia.
Groban’s third studio album ‘Awake’, which was released on November 7, 2006, became the third top selling classical album of the 2000s in the US. The songs of the album were as usual performed in English, Italian, and Spanish. This time he also used other instruments besides the piano.
He released his fourth studio album ‘Noël’ as a Christmas album. Launched on October 9, 2007, the album sold 3,699,000 copies in 2007, making it the best-selling album in the US for the year. It also became the best-selling holiday album in 2008. By August 2017, the album had sold 6 million copies in the US and was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA.
‘Illuminations’ was his fifth studio album, released on November 15, 2010. It debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 and the Canadian Albums Chart as well. Selling 190,000 units in the first week, it was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA. This album too has songs in different languages, including one in Portuguese, ‘Você Existe Em Mim’, which he co-wrote with Lester Mendez and Carlinhos Brown.
His sixth album ‘All That Echoes’ was released in 2013. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 145,000 copies in the first week. Groban released his seventh studio album on April 28, 2015, which sold 502,000 copies in the US by October 2015.
He has appeared in ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ six times and on ‘Live with Kelly’ as a co-host many times. He has also made appearances in ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’, ‘Larry King Live’, ‘The Rosie O'Donnell Show’, ‘Tim & Eric Awesome Show’, and many others.
As occasional actor, he has been featured in two episodes of ‘Ally McBeal’ as Malcolm Wyatt. He played guest roles in the series ‘Glee’ as himself. He was also seen in the hit British music quiz ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’. In May 2011, he appeared as a guest star on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and sang ‘You Raise Me Up’. He starred in the comedy film ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ as well.
Josh Groban’s debut album ‘Josh Groban’ was a hit and went from gold to 4x platinum. His second album ‘Closer’ sold 375,000 copies in the first week, and by October 2015, it had sold over 6.1 million copies in the US. His third album ‘Awake’ was certified 2x platinum in the US by the RIAA, having sold over 2.3 million units by October 2015.
Awards & Achievements
In 2002, Josh Groban was named one of the 100 Sexiest Newcomers and in 2008 he was named one of the 100 Most Beautiful People by ‘People’ magazine.
In 2003, he received the Billboard Music Award for No. 1 Classical Crossover Artist of the Year.
At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, his album ‘Stages’ earned a nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
He received a Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway play ‘Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812’.
In 2004, Josh Groban dated actress January Jones but they split after two years. In 2014, he dated actress Kat Dennings but the relationship ended after two years.
Groban has performed for many charity events like Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, 2nd Annual Grammy Jam, The Heart Foundation Gala, and many others. He founded the Josh Groban Foundation to help needy children through education, healthcare and arts. The establishment of the foundation was inspired by a meeting with Nelson Mandela who had appointed Groban as the official ambassador for a campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa.