Josh Groban is a triple-threat: an internationally renowned singer, songwriter, and actor who has entertained fans across the globe with his multi-platinum albums and DVDs, electrifying live performances, and comedic film and television appearances. Over the last year and a half alone, the 30-year-old Los Angeles native has released his fifth studio album, the platinum-selling Illuminations, completed a sold-out world tour, and starred in the feature film Crazy, Stupid, Love, as well as on NBC’s The Office.
An international superstar, Groban has sold more than 25 million albums and DVDs worldwide, and filled arenas from North America and Europe to Australia, South Africa, and the Philippines. In 2007, the Grammy-nominated star became the best-selling recording artist of the year thanks to sales of his double-platinum 2006 album Awake and his blockbuster 5x-platinum Christmas album, Noel — the best-selling album of 2007. Groban ranks as Billboard’s 14th top-selling artist of the 2000s with more than 20 million units sold in the U.S. alone. He and his recordings have been nominated for more than a dozen awards including an American Music Award, a World Music Award, a Juno Award, two Grammy Awards, and an Academy Award for “Believe” from the 2005 film Polar Express.
Indeed the 30-year-old Groban has made a stunning ascent since his career began to take flight more than a decade ago when multi-platinum songwriter and producer David Foster asked him to stand in for Andrea Bocelli for a duet on “The Prayer” with Celine Dion at the 1999 Grammy Awards. Soon after, Warner Bros. Records offered Groban an exclusive recording contract with Foster at the production helm. While working on the album, Groban was cast on Ally McBeal by the show’s creator David E. Kelley, who asked him to return to perform on the 2001 season finale. Six months later, Warner Bros. Records released Groban’s self-titled debut album, which has now sold more than five million copies in the U.S.
Groban continued building recognition through a series of high-profile concert appearances, including the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, the closing ceremony for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (seen by more than two billion people), and a Christmas performance at the Vatican in Rome. In 2002, he filmed his first PBS special, which was released on DVD as Josh Groban in Concert and became the best-selling DVD of that year with 6x-platinum in sales. In 2003, Groban duetted with Celine Dion on the closing number at the concert for World Children’s Day. Later that year, Groban released his second album, Closer, which skyrocketed to No. 1 fueled by the single “You Raise Me Up” — a track that earned Groban his first Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Closer went on to spend an astonishing 62 weeks on the Billboard Pop chart. in 2004, Groban released his second DVD, Live at the Greek, which has been certified 6x-platinum.
Also in 2004, Groban established the Josh Groban Foundation to help children in need through education, healthcare, and the arts after an inspiring visit with Nelson Mandela during a trip to South Africa. Mandela appointed Groban an official ambassador for Mandela’s Project 46664, a campaign to help raise global awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa. (Groban performed at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Celebration concert in London’s Hyde Park in 2008.) Over the years, Groban’s devoted fans (who refer to themselves as “Grobanites”) have raised more than XX million dollars for the Josh Groban Foundation. Groban’s commitment to improve the world around him includes his participation in many charity events including VH1 Save the Music, Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, Live 8, MusiCares, Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, Stand Up To Cancer, and “We Are the World: 25 for Haiti.” (During his 2011 “Straight To You” World Tour, Groban partnered with Americans for the Arts to launch a joint text-to-give campaign and raise money to support his newly created Find Your Light Foundation. Established in July 2011, the Find Your Light Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people through quality arts education.)
In September 2006, Groban released his third album, Awake, and proved his versatility as an artist by co-writing and co-producing several tracks, including “February Song” and “Lullaby.” Featuring collaborations with Dave Matthews, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Herbie Hancock, Imogen Heap, Glen Ballard, and John Ondrasik’s Five for Fighting, Awake represented a creative leap forward for Groban that paid off when the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard album chart. It has been certified double-platinum in the U.S. and has sold more than three million copies worldwide.
In February 2007, Groban hit the road for his sold-out 81-city Awake World Tour. The spirit of these electrifying concerts was captured on 2008’s CD/DVD Awake Live, which features such fan favorites as “Canto All Vita” and “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up).” Groban capped off 2007 with the October release of Noel, which was certified quadruple platinum just nine weeks later. The first Christmas album to reach No. 1 in 13 years, the album also earned Groban his second Grammy Award nomination, this time for Best Traditional Pop Vocal album in 2009.
In 2008, Groban joined Paul Simon for his “Love in Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon” concert series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and appeared as the Russian player Anatoly in a 21st-anniversary performance of the cult musical Chess at London’s Royal Albert Hall. (The show aired on PBS’s Great Performances and was released as a two-CD set entitled Chess in Concert.) Groban also performed a tribute to the late Luciano Pavarotti with Andrea Bocelli at the 2008 Grammy Awards, and a comic medley of well-known TV theme songs at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. In November 2008, Warner Music International released Josh Groban — A Collection, a two-CD set of hits that gave international audiences a sense of Groban’s astonishing body of work and why he has become such a staggering musical phenomenon.
Groban kicked off 2009 by duetting with Heather Headley at We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. He was also featured on The Simpsons, performed on Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and guest starred on Fox’s hit show Glee — an appearance so popular that the producers invited him back to guest star on the 2010 season finale. No stranger to television, Groban has made many memorable small-screen appearances over the years, including seven visits to The Oprah Winfrey Show (including an appearance during her series’ Finale Week in May 2011), co-hosting Live! with Regis and Kelly with Kelly Ripa, and performances at The Kennedy Center Honors, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, American Idol’s “Idol Gives Back,” Christmas in Rockefeller Center, and Live from Abbey Road. He has also enjoyed showing his lighter side by appearing in various late-night television sketches, including Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious video spoofs “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck” and “Josh Groban sings Kanye West Tweets.”
In November 2010, Groban released his fifth studio album, the Rick Rubin-produced Illuminations, which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart (Groban’s fourth consecutive Top 5 chart bow) and reached platinum status just two months later. Having co-written 11 of Illuminations’ 13 songs, Groban broke new artistic and personal ground with his heartfelt, emotionally resonant lyrics. In its review, USA Today raved: “Illuminations yields glowing music. Sturdy, deeply personal statements, brimming with poignancy.” The New York Times also praised the album, saying it “showcases Mr. Groban’s songwriting” and “reflects the conviction that gallantry can also be pensive and uncertain.”
The following May, Groban launched the “Straight To You” Tour, which visited 87 cities throughout the U.S., Europe, and South Africa. Bringing a theater feel to each arena through a multi-media stage show and spontaneous audience interaction, the tour earned Groban some of the best reviews of his career.
Also in 2011, Groban furthered flexed his acting chops with a well-received comedic role in the motion picture Crazy, Stupid, Love, with Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone, as well as on NBC’s The Office, opposite Ed Helms. Groban is currently shooting the big-screen workplace comedy Coffee Town with Glenn Howerton, Steve Little, and Ben Schwartz.