The one lesson I've learned from life: Singer Josh Groban

The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Singer Josh Groban says zig when everyone else is zagging!

  • Josh Groban from Los Angeles, has sold more than 25 million records worldwide
  • Singer, 39, says his mentor David Foster showed him how to pursue his own path
  • He reveals how his goal to reach people through music has shaped his life 

Josh Groban, 39, was discovered at 17 when he stood in for Michael Crawford to sing for a crowd of 25,000. He’s duetted with Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, and starred in several musicals including Chess at the Royal Albert Hall. He has sold more than 25 million records worldwide, and lives in Los Angeles. 

I grew up in Los Angeles and the presumption is that I had a showbiz upbringing. Far from it. My father, Jack, was a headhunter; my mother, Lindy, was an art teacher. They both love the arts, but they’re extremely grounded.

I was also lucky with teachers. I was a shy, introverted child, but I was pulled out of the back of the choir and shown a drum kit. It was a light-bulb moment for me. It taught me how to communicate with an audience without ever running away with the idea that I was special. Mine is a business where you can run wild, especially if you taste success when you’re young. But I was never seduced by the hype. I was surrounded by people who were only interested in hard work.

Josh Groban, 39, (pictured) who grew up in Los Angeles, revealed his mentor David Foster, showed him how to pursue his own path

I was lucky, too, to meet producer and songwriter David Foster [who has worked with stars including Celine Dion and Mariah Carey] as a teenager. He changed my life. He became my mentor and showed me how to pursue my own path. That could be isolating sometimes, but I was never tempted to party or self-medicate. I never crossed over to the dark side.

David taught me to zig when everybody else was zagging. He made me realise that I had just one goal in mind: to sing my face off, to reach people through beautiful songs. There is no shortcut. It’s a work ethic that I saw reflected in both Celine and Barbra Streisand. They’re always striving to be the best.

My instrument is inside me. It’s not like a guitar that I can polish and put back in its case. It’s attached to my emotions, my anxieties. When I sing You Raise Me Up, I never stop concentrating on harnessing what it is I know I’m capable of.

At this time, music can be the message, something to make life a little less difficult. I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

Josh Groban’s latest album, Harmony (Reprise), is out now. 

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