Wetten Dass Interview
February 28, 2004
(Thanks to mimmelit for this transcript)
This young baritone has already convinced the Americans of his talent. Josh Groban is a superstar in the U.S. and he got the chance to perform at the Superbowl-final in February. Now, the California guy wants to conquest Europe as well. In the show “Wetten dass…?” he performed the song “Caruso” from his new album “Closer.”
MW (Miriam Weichselbraun): I welcome Josh Groban who’s birthday it was yesterday. Here I got a little surprise for you. You can wish for something.
JG: Ok, but my wishes have actually all come true already.
MW: Happy Birthday! How was your party?
JG: It was really nice. After the sound check we all went to a restaurant for dinner.
MW: Did you have a special wish for yourself?
JG: This is really hard to say. I just wish for that I can go on like this, that I can go on singing. It would have been a great present (surprise) to see my parents, family and friends. But I'm gonna be back in one week so it is okay that I haven’t seen them.
MW: Where are you from originally?
JG: I am from L.A.
MW: Now that we’ve eaten some of your cake, I’d like to talk about your career with you. Is it true that you first sang in a choir in school?
JG: Yes. I started when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I used to be really shy, and that’s why I always stood in the back. Singing was not very popular in high school. Sports and things like that were more popular. I played some football as well, but I always wanted to sing. One day, my teacher wanted me to stand in the front and sing. Somehow this has changed my life, because it was the first time that someone was proud of me. Til then I didn’t know whether I was good or not. It was him who told me to do a solo. That’s what I did in a cabaret show a couple of weeks later and my mother cried. It was just great.
MW: Is it true that you were discovered by David Foster when he engaged you for singing for the governor of California?
JG: Yes, he needed someone who was young and who could sing a song from the musical “Phantom of the Opera.” That’s why I sent him a demo tape. He called back, and so I sang for him. It was the first time for me to work together with an orchestra in front of a huge audience. I was up on cloud number nine and really happy (mimmelit: “I think that’s the right English expression for being really happy, isn’t it?”) I never thought that it could go further than that. One week later David Foster called and wanted me to perform at the Grammy rehearsal with Celine Dion. That was another day that changed my life. There were many famous people that offered (promised) me to support me.
MW: Another special day in your life was probably also the day you sang at the Super Bowl. That is a big honor for an American, isn’t it?
JG: Yeah, it was a huge honor for me indeed. Not just because it was a big event but also because it commemorated the victims of the NASA Columbia accident. So I did not just sing to entertain people but it had a special meaning as well.
MW: Two weeks ago I was in NYC where I saw your second album “Closer.” You are said to sing “Popera,” a mixture of pop and opera. What do you think about it?
JG: I think the impression of me singing opera derives from the way I sing. My music itself is not opera I believe. I better wait for that a little while. I rather sing a special kind of pop music. The song I'm gonna perform tonight, “Caruso,” is meant to be a pop song. I was influenced by people like Limp Bizkit and Alicia Keys. It is really great that I get to meet them both here tonight. I have never met them before. My voice is the way it is. So I am trying to arrange those different influences through my voice/way of singing.
MW: Your voice is originally a baritone, but right now you are trying to sing the tenor part. Is it true?
JG: Yeah, I am trying. When you are 23 years old there are many things you’d like to have. And I just wanna try getting a higher pitched voice (mimmelit: didn’t know how to say that) Let’s see what happens when I get older.
MW: Back in the U.S. you are famous already and after this evening here in Europe as well. And you have already performed in the Vatican in Rome, haven’t you?
JG: Yeah, it was a great honor to perform for the Pope.
MW: Did the Pope really invited you?
JG: I received a Christmas card. But I don’t think that the Pope knew who I was. I am pretty sure that it was one of his advisors that sent the card.
MW: Have you seen the Pope?
JG: Yes, I have seen him. I also shook his hand and take a picture of him and me. It was a holy moment indeed. It was really cool.
MW: Now let’s talk about your album. Your first Album was called “Josh Groban,” the newest is called “Closer.” Is your new album “closer” to who you are now?
JG: When you’re looking for a title for your album, then you are always looking for something that expresses the feelings you had at that moment. With the first album it was pretty easy and I could called it after myself. People then could decide for themselves what they think of it. On my new album I experimented a bit. I tried out new sounds, and I also tried to write songs myself. The word “closer” therefore represents the second step.
MW: You are not just a musician. Furthermore you also had a small part in “Ally McBeal.”
JG: Even before I got that part I was a huge fan. It was just great walking across the set and meeting the actors. It was a whole new experience. Before that I learned all about the recording studio. Now I am learning about the TV studios.
MW: May we see you as an actor some day?
JG: I think so. It was really fun. Even though I am very busy with the music, I still hope that there will be some time for me to do movies.
MW: At the moment you are on a promotional tour. What do you do to relax? Go on vacation?
JG: It isn’t just a promotional tour. I am also right before my concert tour. I usually sleep and play some video games to relax. And I am eating some more cake, of course. If possible I'm gonna go on vacation to Hawaii next week. I desperately need some sun.
MW: Thank you so much for coming here and have fun at the show. It’d be nice if you could send a postcard from Hawaii. Good bye.