Life's Anything but Boring for Josh Groban
June 3, 2009
By Adam Horne
These days, Josh Groban has been keeping busy performing at sold out arenas and working with superproducer Rick Rubin, lest we mention sharing the stage with music legends and flexing his vocal chops in the White House. Groban recently spoke to PopEater about plans for a forthcoming album, his craziest fans and what it was like singing for the Obama family.
You've been working on songs for the next album. What can you tell us about the direction so far?
It's been a very interesting and inspiring year, creatively, for me. It's the first time I've worked with Rick Rubin and I've really enjoyed the space that he's given me -- to take my time and make every song right. Ultimately it's going to sound like me and I always strive to sing better and better. But sonically and musically, it will combine what my fans know with some new ideas and with an instrumental accompaniment that will be very organic and minimal compared to what I've done in the past.
Your Soundstage concert, which aired on PBS, is now on DVD. What was your favorite part of that performance?
It was so much fun after a tour of cavernous arenas to play such a beautiful and intimate theater. My favorite part of the show was collaborating with some of my friends. Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock, Lucia Micarelli, Tariqh Akoni ... these are the moments on stage where I really pinch myself and enjoy it the most.
What was it like to perform at the White House?
It was totally surreal! Everyone was so nice and I was really excited to play the presidential piano. I was a little more nervous when I was told Sasha and Malia Obama wanted to hear me sing when they got home from school. They were really sweet and I was honored to sing in their new house.
You've said you grew up listening to what you called "experimental" rock like Bjork, Paul Simon and Annie Lennox. What newcomers do you think are doing really interesting things with their music?
I'm a fan of anyone in any genre who is bending what people what people expect and do it intelligently. This is potentially one of the most exciting times for artists creatively because the ways of introducing people to your sound are almost limitless. Some of the artists I'm really into now are John Legend, Ben Folds, Imogen Heap, Fleet Foxes, Muse, Grizzly Bear, and I'm always stuffing my collection with vocal music from around the world.
What's the craziest thing a fan of yours has done?
I always really enjoy seeing the tattoos. It really keeps the pressure on me to have a good solid 40-year career.
Apparently a lot of people have gotten engaged while a song of yours was playing. What song would you choose for your own engagement?
The funny thing about my songs is that many of them are very sad, but also very romantic. Someone recently told me, "Our first dance was to 'Broken Vow,'" which is a song about cheating. But it's a beautiful sweeping song and has the word "vow" in it, so, why not!