I can’t recall which radio station I was listening to when I first heard Josh Groban, but my first thoughts were that he had the voice of an angel. He was performing the inspirational “You Raise Me Up,” with such conviction that I did not know that his was actually a cover of the original song by the band The Secret Garden. Like Tom Jones with “Kiss,” or Whitney Houston with “I Will Always Love You,” Groban owned it; he made that song his.
At the tender age of 21, Groban was already an accomplished pianist, a self-taught drummer, budding actor, songwriter, and singer with a self-titled, multi-platinum selling debut album to his credit–and the owner of a baritone voice, imbued with a depth and poise that belied his relative youth and recent entry into that amorphous realm called classical crossover.
It is his versatility with classical music and ability to mix his vocal talents with pop music that enthralls audiences from all over the world. Groban also has a low-key, unassuming “boy next door” charm that’s readily apparent, whether he’s giving an interview on Oprah or talking to fans on stage and in concert.
His music is dramatic, but at the same time, down-to-earth. My favourites are sad songs like “Remember When It Rained”, “Don’t Give Up (You Are Loved)”, and “My February”, which deliver messages of encouragement at the same time; there’s just so many layers and so much emotional depth to them.
I find a sense of inner peace with “To Where You Are”, and a heartfelt hope for a better tomorrow for future generations with “The Prayer.” I celebrate joy and trust in a higher power with the wonderful hymn “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and innocence with “Lullaby”, a wonderfully soothing collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. For purely romantic songs, “When You Say You Love Me”, “All’improvviso Amore”, “You’re Still You”, and “So She Dances” are truly priceless. For holiday music, “Believe” has become a Christmas anthem of sorts for me. It makes me believe in the simple and uncommercialized wonder of Christmas.
There are so many adjectives that I could use to describe his music. ‘Moving’ seems so inadequate to the task. And with every successive album that Groban releases, I even dare to think (dream?) of him as the Luciano Pavarotti of my generation.
- Review: Josh Groban in the round pleases his fans in 360 degrees (macombdaily.com)
- Josh Groban puts on a Brave performance in Pittsburgh (pittsburghmusicmagazine.com)