5 questions for Josh Groban
August 1, 2014
By Ray Kelly
Summertime is usually a time to relax, but not for singer Josh Groban.
The 33-year-old Los Angeles native has been in the recording studio, filming a big screen comedy, hosting the ABC talent show "Rising Star" and undertaking a summer concert tour that concludes with shows on Aug. 29 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., and Aug. 30 at Tanglewood in Lenox.
"It’s been a really busy summer," Groban said. "I don’t really love summers anyway. I’m not really a beach guy. For me, to have a chance to work indoors all summer long was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I like being busy.”
The busy Groban took time to field a few questions about what he has been up to during his non-vacation months.
You are ending your summer tour with shows at the Mohegan Sun and Tanglewood – stops that are familiar to you. Do certain venues hold a special allure for you as a performer?
Absolutely. There are certain places where you pull up and you just know going into it that you have to raise your own personal bar when you get there – part of it is from experience you had there in the past. Tanglewood is a perfect example. It is one of the first venues I ever played. To be on that stage with the Boston Pops and John Williams doing half the show with me (and) 25,000 people out on the lawn – it was a magic moment. It was the venue’s way of saying, “We welcome you here and we want to continue to be a home-away-from-home.” I have always looked at it that way. In Los Angeles, my hometown, I have the Hollywood Bowl. Across the country, my home-away-from-home is Tanglewood. It has always felt that way. There is a really nice pressure. If I am going to be there, I want to leave it all on the stage.
In recent years you have worked with producers David Foster, Rick Rubin, and Rob Cavallo. What do you look for in a collaborator when going into the recording studio?
I think it is akin to an actor working with different directors... When I work with a producer, it has to be equal parts finishing each other’s musical sentences, but also both of us bringing something to the table we wouldn’t have brought alone.
David Foster's process and Rick Rubin’s process couldn’t be more different. For me, if I can gain the experience of learning about those different processes and ... make an album I am proud of, it is a win-win. I like to work with varied producers and varied songwriters, it keeps you fresh creatively. I think that freshness shows on a record when someone listens to it.
The last time we spoke, you had just finished "Crazy, Stupid, Love" with Steve Carell and Emma Stone. More recently, you were seen on television in "The Crazy Ones" with Robin Williams. Do you have any other acting projects in the works?
I am back and forth between here and Mississippi. I am shooting a really fun comedy called "The Hollers" with John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day and Sharlto Copley. It’s great and I’m enjoying it. I love acting, specifically comedic acting. Any chance I get to dive into that world and play off of other great comedians and actors.
It helps the other side. It recharges me musically. It’s been great to have those opportunities… The craft of screen acting has really been a very interesting and very intimate thing to get a hold of. You have to trust your director and trust the people around you.
How did you come to host "Rising Star"?
They approached me about it. They wanted it to be different. They wanted the host to be a known musician and not a talking head. They wanted someone who could work with the singers and come at it with a musical sensibility. They said, “Look, we want you to be funny and weird and work with the kids.” I thought – just along the same line as working with different producers – I’d have a chance to spend my summer doing something new and exciting…
Your tweets and Facebook posts are quite entertaining. Is there a staff putting it together or do you like to personally connect with your audience through social media?
There is no staff. If I had a staff I would put them to way better than use that handling my Twitter account.
Social media is simultaneously essential and the biggest waste of time on the planet.
Most of the time it is a way for me to connect with my fans in a way that I would connect with my friends. I have weird, weird thoughts in my head all time and Twitter is a way for me to exorcise those demons a little bit.
It is also a way for me to stay informed. I follow accounts that are interesting to me and give an added boost of knowledge. Hopefully, I can pass that on to my fans. I have seen wonderful connections made through social media, Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t have to be a vapid, surface thing. I have seen charitable organizations thriving from it. I have seen my own foundation thrive from it.
It can be a lot of fun – or you can send a poop joke at two in the morning. There is a sense of “Oh, cool. Like 100 people favorited my poop joke. I am going to go to bed feeling a little less lonely tonight.”