Josh Groban: Will He Finally Conquer Europe?
October 30, 2006
(Thank you to Joanna/joanpoland for this transcript)
At only 25 years old, he has already sold over 14 million albums though he released only 2 studio ones. He’s been working with the best representatives of the musical world like David Foster, Walter Afanasief and recently Herbie Hancock. Additionally, Polish blood runs in his veins. That’s why, a day before releasing Josh Groban`s new album “Awake,” our reporter flew to London to find out if Groban finally got chance to conquer Europe.

Joshua Groban (born in 1981 in LA) comes from multicultural family- his mother is from Norway and his father is a Jewish American with Polish and Russian ancestry who just before his wedding changed his religion to Christianity. So there’s nothing surprising that the music Groban performs has various sources- from classical to pop. There’s nothing weird also in a fact that Josh sings not only in English but also in Italian, Spanish and French.

Josh’s first album titled simply “Josh Groban” was released in the end of 2001 and it sold over 4 million copies shortly after release in the US. Groban has performed with stars like The Corrs and Charlotte Church. His popularity was grounded when he appeared in “Ally McBeal.”

Two years after “Josh Groban” he recorded his second album “Closer” which surpassed Josh’s debut album and in January 2004 landed on the top of US best selling albums. In his home country Groban became huge star and his beautiful, romantic songs- inspired by European tradition- became his brand.

It’s been two years since “Closer” was unleashed so it’s high time for new album which is called “Awake”. Songs from the new album were presented publicly for the first time during live concert in London. While performing “Friday Night Is Music Night” Groban did not hide his nervousness, but delivered a professional performance and quickly established a connection with the audience and made people laugh with his funny intros to particular songs. Josh performed with his own band and the BBC orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe.

At the beginning of the concert Groban presented his new single from “Awake” called “You are loved (Don’t give up)”. Next, the audience of nearly 600 people – including a group of Grobanites, the most devoted fans of vocalist, was able to listen to new, atmospheric song titled “February Song (Let You Down)” which Groban composed during a sleepless night. This is a kind of song to listen to on long autumn evenings.

Groban likes to perform in various languages and sang the Spanish “Un Dia Llegara” during the show. What is interesting about Josh is that he uses notes with his lyrics. As he explained “I’m gonna have to look at my notes a little bit on this one coz this is the first time I’ve ever sung any of these songs from the new album live”. The next tune “Smile” was a version of Charlie Chaplin’s song from the movie Modern Times. “Smile” will be included in a special edition of “Awake”. Groban stated before singing it “I like sad songs, I don’t know why but I do”. The audience was understandably delighted.

Similar in atmosphere is Josh’s own composition “So She Dances”- a bit mysterious but it shows Groban’s fascination and dedication to music. At other points of the concert he performed his favorite songs. First was the standard “Not While I’m Around” from the musical “Sweeney Todd.” Groban had performed this song previously in duet with Barbara Cook. Later on he played his older composition- “Broken Vow” known from “Closer.”

At the end of concert, which last around hour, Groban sang “Machine” which closes his latest album. A big influence on this album was two famous musicians, Eric Mouquet (from Deep Forest) and Herbie Hancock. So it was not surprising that the result of this cooperation is an interesting mix of rhythm of a bit jazzy “world music.”

The concert ended with standing ovation and Josh Groban announced future come back to London during his official “Awake” tour. So far he has not conquered Europe even though many people put him on a level with Andrea Bocelli. Groban with his boyish looks and charming humbleness has still a chance. His album will be the third try to conquer the Old Continent. Soon we’ll find out if it is successful.