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On the Brink of Stardom: Josh Groban live Internet chat on ABCNEWS.com

 

A guest-starring role on Ally McBeal as an awkward teen with an exquisite voice won Groban national attention last year. Two months ago, he was booked for a major appearance at the closing ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Olympics with Charlotte Church before a worldwide audience estimated at 1.6 billion people.
Groban's first album, a collection of songs in English and Italian, is on the verge of going gold, with sales of a half million.
"He's got the goods, man," says music producer David Foster, who has taken the young singer under his wing. "He has got the goods. I know he does."
After his appearance on 20/20, Groban participated in a live Internet chat on ABCNEWS.com with our viewers. A transcript of the chat follows.
Moderator
Josh, welcome! Congratulations on your newfound success. What was it like singing in front of all those people at the Olympics?
Josh Groban
Thanks! It's wonderful to be here! :o) Performing at the Olympics was one of the major thrills of my life. The energy coming from those people was incredible. Being able to share my music at an event such as that one was an honor that I'll never forget.
Moderator
You say no one knows what "bin" to put you in, since your music falls into so many categories — Classical, Pop, Rock, Easy Listening, to name a few. What category do you think best describes your work?
Josh Groban
Great question. As much as I enjoy seeing my CD in many different sections of the music store, I hope that it ultimately winds up in the pop section, because that's what I really see my music as. I have a really large number of influences in all genres but at the moment I look at myself as a pop singer.
Mary Ann asks:
Josh, are you ready for the life altering explosion of celebrity and the loss of privacy and anonymity that the coverage on 20/20 and Rosie will entail?
Josh Groban
Well, I hope I don't lose TOO much privacy. :o) I don't think anything can really prepare someone for that kind of an "explosion." I'm just so thrilled that people have found the music and are interested. Anything that comes with that is a plus as far as I'm concerned and the negative things I'm willing to deal with because I think it all comes with it.
Catherine asks:
How did you get started? And what advice can you give to other people looking to get into the music business?
Josh Groban
In terms of a career, my professional life started when I met David Foster. He really took me under his wing and making this CD with him was an awesome beginning for me.
But going back even further, it was just a love of music that I've had ever since I was a kid. I had amazing parents that made sure I listened to everything and were supportive from day one. My advice to anyone new would be to follow your passion but always have a backup plan.
Moderator
From Perry, Jr.: "How much time do you put into developing your talent?"
Josh Groban
Ever since I knew I could sing and especially since I knew I was going to do it for a living, the best thing I thought I could do for myself was get as much training as possible.
I try to work with a voice coach 3-4 times a week and I work on songs almost every day. It's hard if I'm out on the road and I don't get to train for a couple weeks — I feel like I've fallen behind! It's something I really have to do every day; otherwise, I start feeling rusty.
Saly asks:
Who is your biggest musical influence?
Josh Groban
Wow ... it's really hard to name just one. There have been so many amazing singers and musicians that I've looked up to or listened to all my life like Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabrielle, Bjork ... anyone who really tried to push the boundaries or step outside the box a little bit. My vocal influences were the big voices of the stage: Mandy Patinkin, George Hearn, Luciano Pavarotti ... anyone who told a story with their songs.
Moderator
From Amanda Dix: "Do you have a 'token' audition piece?"
Josh Groban
When auditioning for colleges, I used a song from the musical Closer Than Ever called "If I Sing" ... to me it was just the most gorgeous song and it was one I just felt I could do well. Sometimes you get music from the person that THEY want you to sing, in which case you just sing it with as much confidence as possible. The most important part of an audition is to make yourself feel comfortable. :o)
Moderator
From Anna Falk in Sweden: "What is the most challenging thing you've done in your singing career?"
Josh Groban
The most challenging thing for me, as a new artist, is that I've had to learn so much so quickly and in front of so many people. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but it makes it that much more rewarding when you feel like you got through another day having done something you never thought you could do.
Faith asks:
Have you ever doubted your singing abilities?
Josh Groban
Sure ... I'm very critical of myself and there's always something I feel I could do better.
Joan Drews asks:
Josh, I've seen some of the postings on your Web site from women throughout the world. Are you surprised at the open adoration your music has prompted in the female population?
Josh Groban
I'm very flattered by it! After Ally McBeal, a lot of girls wanted to take me to prom and I've had a few marriage proposals. I think it's really cool and I hope never to lose that. It's all about the music though!! :o)
Anne Langdon asks:
How much input did you, Josh, have in the song selections on this — your first — album? Two songs in particular, "To Where You Are: and "You're Still You" are deeply moving and convey great sensitivity about loss and tragedy. Are you drawn to songs that speak of deep emotion?
Josh Groban
Yes ... I think the best songs are those that bring out emotion whether you want it to or not. The song "To Where You Are" spoke to a lot of people because it's for anyone who has had to deal with the death of a loved one. I've been really touched by the letters I've received from people who got comfort from the song.
I had input on all the songs on the album. Some of them were my idea and some of them were suggestions from David Foster or other people but they were all songs that I felt really passionately about.
Kelle C asks:
"How important do you feel your experience at Interlochen was to your musical inspiration?"
Josh Groban
My two summers at the Interlochen Arts Camp were incredible for me. I was very young and I had a BIG interest in the arts but I needed direction and training. Interlochen really gave me the confidence and experience to take my love of the arts to the next level.
Jayne Paradis asks:
Do you plan to do any more acting? I've caught both episodes of Ally McBeal and thought you did a great job!
Josh Groban
Thanks!! YES, I would love to do more acting. It's always something I've had an interest in, and working on Ally McBeal really gave me a great chance to learn a lot about it, plus it was so much fun. Right now I'm doing so much work with the album it would be hard, but if the right role came along I would definitely take it. :o)
Andrea Lawson asks:
Do you have plans for college? Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now? Your voice is enchanting.
Josh Groban
Leaving college to make this album was a big sacrifice for me and, as much as I stand by the decision I made, I would love to go back and take more classes. I hope to do so in the next year or two.
Romna Perez asks:
What are you passionate about, other than music?
Josh Groban
My biggest hobby is playing the drums. For some reason it's always been a bit of an obsession for me. Other than that, I try to make my main hobby keeping in touch with family and friends. It's the little things that are so much more important to me now that I'm gone so much.
Hope Parker asks:
Hey Josh! So glad you're getting all the success you so richly deserve. I've been following you on your Web site (I'm a Grobanite), and have seen what a whirlwind your life has been lately. Have you scheduled some time out for a break? I and so many others would hate to see you get worn down so quickly. As much as we love you, we want for you to stay healthy and happy!
Josh Groban
Hi! I've been on my Web site lately and I've notice that a few of you have been concerned about me getting a break. I try to take a day off here and there but I don't think I'll be REALLY resting for a while. At least I hope not!
Moderator
Josh, will you be going on tour any time soon?
Josh Groban
I've been really excited that so many people have asked this question because I can't wait to hit the road and do some concerts. Over the summer we're going to do some planning and hopefully around September or October we'll have a small tour planned.
Moderator
Josh, thanks for stopping by. And thanks to all those who joined the chat!
Josh Groban
Thanks you guys!! It was great to chat with you all and hopefully I answered some of your questions. See you soon!
OH YEAH! If you have any other questions or want to listen to the album you can check out my Web site at www.JoshGroban.com Thanks again! BYE!
Moderated by ABCNEWS.com's Saira Stewart

"Listen to David Foster" thanks ABCNEWS.com

(from ABCNEWS.com 2002, April 16)