Some artists have to pay dues for many years before gaining recognition. Josh Groban is not one of them. While he was still in high school at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, he caught the attention of Grammy-winning producer David Foster. His self-titled debut CD, produced by Foster, went double-platinum and gained him a place on the international music scene when he was just 20 years old.
Five years and several hit albums later, he continues to increase his reputation as an international singing star and songsmith. With his latest studio release, Awake, Groban is breaking new ground for himself. “The goal was to put music on the new album that was stylistically different from a lot of things that I’ve done,” he commented in a recent interview.
Inspired by a trip to South Africa, he wrote “Lullaby” with South African native Dave Matthews, featuring the harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Herbie Hancock is on hand to help create the subtle, understated funk of “Machine,” a collaboration with Eric Mouquet and Dave Bassett.
There is also plenty on the album to satisfy fans of Groban’s classic ballad style, such as the beautiful “February Song,” for which he shares writer credits with John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting and Marius De Vries. Groban relates how the song was born one sleepless night: “I walked over to the piano and it just came to me in the most magical way.”
Having achieved success so early, Josh Groban seems committed to discovering all he is capable of. “I feel that we’re in an exciting time when people are ready to accept all sorts of music,” he avers. “I owe it to the crazy success that has happened [to me] not to rest on it — and go where it thrills me.”