Josh Groban Brings Summer Tour to Mohegan Sun
August 26, 2014
By Sean Spillane
Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records since 2001, but he shows no signs of resting on his laurels.
He's in the process of recording two albums, hosting ABC television's singing competition show "Rising Star" and filming scenes for a movie. Somehow, he's finding the time for a summer tour, which comes to the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night, Aug. 29.
"There's no record (promotion) attached to this one, so I'm kind of just doing it for fun. What a novel idea," he said during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. "I am excited to get back on the road for a little summer trek. It's something that I did last summer with orchestras. My tour manager and I were discussing it and we kind of decided it was always beneficial for myself and the fans that while I'm recording an album -- actually two albums right now -- I should get out and gig.
"And to get out and gig not only with my band, who are phenomenal, but to be able to get out with some wonderful orchestral musicians and play some places that I love to play. So, we're doing about nine or 10 shows this summer and it's a great way to keep your chops going and stay fresh."
Groban, 33, is performing with various local orchestras on the tour, which he said is more of a positive than another hurdle to overcome. For the Mohegan Sun show, he'll be joined by the Donn Trenner Orchestra.
"I actually love it because you get a different approach to the music every time," he said. "The one thing that does provide a little bit of needed continuity is I'm bringing my conductor to every show. Every one of the orchestras that we're playing with are at the absolute top of the heap, so they can take the style of the music and they can follow the baton and usually it's a great connection wherever we are. I actually like that local feeling."
As for the two albums he's working on now, Groban said that came about because he "kind of had two ideas rolling around in my head."
"So I thought, `Why not get them out at the same time and then figure out the rest later.' One of them is an album of songs that I've wanted to sing since I was in junior high school and a theater major -- songs that have been in musicals both on the screen and on stage. And there's another album of more original music that's being blueprinted right now to get started on," he said.
"From the stage and screen side of things, there will definitely be a few new selections this summer that will be from that album as a tester to see if some of my favorites are also my fans' favorites."
The records follow his last release, 2013's "All That Echoes," which received some of the best reviews of his career.
"It's nice, I'm not going to lie. It's a great thing to read nice things," he said. "I think in my career, reviews have been pretty transitory, good and bad. It's been primarily about having a connection with my fan base. I've been doing this now for 12 or 13 years and you have moments where critics decide they're not into you and moments where critics decide you're all right by them.
"As far as the arc with my fans, nothing changes one way or the other. Obviously, first and foremost, you want to make music to please yourself and your fan base."
Groban is well aware that television is filled with singing competitions, but he was intrigued by the format of "Rising Star," which features a panel of Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris and has the viewers judging via a mobile app.
"I've been doing it about five weeks now and have four more to go," he said. "Of course (I know there are plenty of musical competitions on TV), but you can't think about that going into it. You have to look at it for the idea that it is and I think it's a cool concept with the technology. You go into it thinking, `I'm going to go all in and have fun doing it.' "
"I love hosting things. For me to take off the musical hat, even though it's a singing show, and mentor other singers and focus on them and focus on their path, is a great musical recharger for myself, actually. I've learned a lot from the experience and I've had a great time and it's been an honor to work with everybody involved and it's been a lot of fun."
And appearing on NBC's "The Office" led to his role in one of the movies he's working on.
"I'm working on two films right now, too," he said. "I'm doing a movie right now directed by and starring John Krasinski, who's a friend of mine I met when I was doing `The Office.' It's called `The Hollars,' and we're shooting that in Mississippi right now. So between recording and `Rising Star' and flying back and forth to Mississippi and shooting that, I'm keeping pretty busy."