Q & A: The Last Word With Josh Groban
By Gary Gorlick
In four short years, Josh Groban has gone from a college kid to one of the most successful singers in the world. Since being discovered, the 24-year-old has sold more than ten million copies of his two studio albums. Better yet, he's become one of the biggest concert attractions in the United States, selling out his recent year-long tour. Groban talks about his career and his real dream -- one day hosting "Saturday Night Live."
IM: Is your image accurate? I've heard that you're funnier than people might think.
JG: When you're doing TV, especially a big event, you have the opportunity to show yourself for three-and-a-half minutes, scared to death, and you're singing a song. A lot of the songs that I sing are very serious, very emotional. I don't sing funny songs. But I love comedy. When I was 15 years old I joined an improv troupe called the L.A. Connection, a comedy theater. I was the youngest person they ever had for their troupe, and I just had a blast.
IM: What about Saturday Night Live? Could you improvise at that level?
JG: That's probably one of the dreams I still have is to do that show, to host it. I think it would be a complete shock to people. SNL is something I've drooled over since I was a little kid. I think it would be fun, because that's my element. I would much rather be funny on film than serious on film. I had a much easier time doing the pratfalls and all the physical comedy on "Ally McBeal" than doing the dramatic work. I've always just had this thing that just kinda flips on when it's time to be funny. In school, I was always the class clown, cracking jokes, doing impersonations, and making everybody laugh.
IM: What song do you like to sing in the shower?
JG: In the shower is where I get to explore the rock side of me a little more. It's when I get to turn on the Eddie Vedder. "Evenflow" is the one that works best against the tiles.
IM: What else might surprise people about you?
JG: One of my biggest hobbies is drums. I love the drums. As a kid, getting a drum set was like getting a sports car. I absolutely coveted this drum set; it was a wine-colored Pearl Session kit. I was 15 when I got it, and it was the gift of a lifetime. I'd plug in my headphones for two hours and be dripping wet.
IM: You own a Porsche. What does that say about you?
JG: It's a 2003 Carrera 911. It's Seal Grey, metallic. It's a dark charcoal grey. It's a hardtop. I really like the line of the car, which is why I got the hardtop. The first thing I did was drive it to Vegas when I bought it. Two speeding tickets on the way there, one on the way back. On the way out to Vegas, he clocked me at 100. On the way back he clocked me at the same thing. It's a good thing he didn't catch me later on down the road. This is before I got the radar detector.
IM: What's a vice that Josh Groban has?
JG: If I'm on vacation, and I don't have any singing to do for weeks, I'll smoke a cigar. I love a good cigar. My favorite is a Cuban Cohiba. I smoked my first cigar about a year ago. January [his girlfriend] and I were in Mexico, on vacation in Puerto Vallarta. And the gift shop had a Cohiba. I said, "What the heck? I'm in Mexico."
IM: Do you want a movie career?
JG: I'd love to be in movies. I'm constantly reading scripts. I'd be thrilled to do a film. When I went to L.A. County High School for the Arts I was a drama major. I thought I would just be an actor with voice on the side. Going to the Oscars was just one of the greatest thrills for me. Who isn't drawn by film? No matter what business you're in, there is still nothing more powerful than film.
IM: Who's one of your heroes?
JG: Mandy Patinkin comes to mind. Mandy was the first person, when I was younger, that showed me that a guy can sing, really sing out, and act and be in a musical.
IM: What can you tell us about how you met your girlfriend, January Jones?
JG: January and I met at a really kinda silly Hollywood party about a year-and-a-half ago. She was somebody that I started talking to, and the first thing that got me was I had said, "I just got back from France. I worked with this group. You probably never heard of them. They're called Deep Forrest (sic)." She said, "I love Deep Forrest (sic)." She's like the only girl, especially in Hollywood, that knew about this relatively obscure group. All of a sudden, we started talking about all these eclectic, crazy groups that I had never expected anybody, especially at this party, to know about.
IM: What's one of the big lessons you learned from touring all year?
JG: Balance is so important. When I come off the road again, I'm entering a new chapter of my life. The year has been extraordinary. I feel like it's been nonstop. I feel like even days off have been spent rehearsing for things like the Oscars. I don't know where I'm going to go, but if I can get my arm twisted, I'm going to go. My instinct is just to start working again, but I know I have to take a break.