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21 January, 2011
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08 January, 2011
From Billboard.com by Gary Graff.
Josh Groban is starting to plan a world tour to promote his new album, "Illuminations," but he may just have to make some room for those musical recitations of Kanye West tweets that have become a viral sensation since he did them on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
"Now I've got a new medley, another two and a half minutes to kill in the concert," Groban tells Billboard.com with a laugh, though he was pleased to see that West re-tweeted a link to the infomercial-style skit, "which made me think he got the joke, so I don't have to look over my shoulder for harsh rhymes coming my way."
The tour itself, which Groban expects to begin in the spring, will be another large-scale arena affair, though he hopes to incorporate some elements of intimate shows he's continuing to do to introduce the Rick Rubin-produced "Illuminations" to his fans.
"It's just me with no set list, no script, a piano and a guitar," Groban explains. "The curtain goes up, I walk out, we do a Q&A and just kind of sing whatever winds up being right. It's been the most fun I've ever had, and I think the most fun my fans have had and it really taught me a huge amount. Once you experience that energy, you don't go back."
For the tour, then, Groban hopes to maintain "the looseness, the interaction with the crowd" that are part of the promotional concerts. "I think my last arena tour was pretty large-feeling and pretty pop oriented. And of course, we want to put some bells and whistles in there for everybody, but at the same time there's an intimacy I think fans are really appreciating from the smaller shows that I have to incorporate into the arena tour -- and even incorporate some smaller gigs throughout (the tour) as well."
Before the tour, however, fans will be seeing Groban in yet another venue -- movie theaters, playing an ill-tempered attorney alongside Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore in the comedy "Crazy, Stupid, Love," which is due out July 29. "I love comedy," says Groban, who's also planning to launch a new arts education initiative through his charitable foundation. "My music is so serious, so the kind of acting I like to do is purely comedic, and to play a part that's so different from me and to be able to work with people like that was really fun. Just to have the chance to even audition for that film was an honor."
07 January, 2011
By Simon Vozick-Levinson from EW.com
It's the viral hit of the week: Josh Groban crooning selected bons mots from Kanye West's Twitter account in his most sonorous tones. Since airing on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and being posted on YouTube, the hilarious skit has racked up more than 1.2 million views.And just incase you missed it the first time around, here it is again:
"I've been blown away by the response," Groban tells the Music Mix. We spoke with him today to find out how "Josh Groban's The Best Tweets of Kanye West" came to be. Hit the jump to see the clip again and read our Q&A.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Whose idea was this skit? Is this something Jimmy came to you with?
JOSH GROBAN: Any talk show host can have you on to sing your song of the moment, but from day one, when nobody else was giving me couch time, Jimmy was finding me fun things to do — whether it was buying pot brownies from Snoop Dogg at the AMAs or giving me such a glorious moment in the 'F—ing Ben Affleck' video. He always let me express the funny bone a little bit…So his team basically said, "If you're coming on again, would you be open to doing another skit?" I said, "Sure." They came back with about five different ideas. The most obscure was, I think it said, "Something musical with Kanye's tweets." In theory it sounded funny just because his tweets are so funny. So they set up a piano and a mic and a little white backdrop. I dressed in my Sunday best. [Kimmel's] amazing production team put together this hilarious infomercial around what was essentially just me sitting there and improvising these things. We would pick our favorites and I would just play the first melody that came to mind. That's basically what you're seeing.
How did you pick which tweets to immortalize this way?
When it comes to Kanye's tweets, it's like, how do you pick the prettiest child? They're all gems. In the end, I think probably it was the ones that created the best melodies. There were a few that we did that didn't make the edit. But we've recorded all 783 of them. You're just going to have to buy all 48 CDs.
No, I'm just kidding.
That would be awesome.
Had you been following Kanye's tweets on Twitter before this?
Yeah, I had read all of these before. I've followed him for almost the whole year.
What's the response to the skit been like?
It's cool. Even Kanye retweeted it. Hopefully he gets the joke. Nothing about it in my mind was meant to be mean-spirited. I never like to make less of others, especially in the entertainment industry. I know how it feels, and it's not cool. Whenever you want to jest about someone or something, you want to make sure that it's in a way where they should be in on the joke. Really, we wanted to make it more a celebration of how entertaining he is. More, "Isn't this wonderful? And if I can lend my voice to them, great," kind of thing, rather than anything negative. But I expected it to get, like, 20,000 views. I expected it to just be a funny little thing and move on to my next song. I've gotten more texts from my friends than I normally do on my birthday!
You mentioned that Kanye retweeted it. Has he reached out to you beyond that?
No. I'm sure he's probably asking around to figure out just who the hell I am. So no reach-outs yet.
If he ever does get in touch, would you be interested in making music with him?
Oh, absolutely. I would never do something like this if it wasn't for somebody that I completely respect. He's an unbelievably brilliant musician. It's fun for me to see, not only with Kanye, but in hip-hop in general and the way music is right now, genres are melding like never before. Jay-Z's performing with a rock band, Kanye's experimenting with classical music and ballet dancers. It's amazing to see how art and culture and pop culture are becoming intertwined. To even think about a record store having the words "rock" and "pop" and "easy listening" — it doesn't mean anything anymore. Everybody's doing everything. So I'm always open, and it's always been fun for me to collaborate with people that have been unexpected.
Given the response to the skit, do you think there's any possibility you'll ever pursue this project further?
I think sometimes when you've done something that people connect with, sometimes it's better to leave it as the thing it is and let it live in infamy rather than gild the lily. We'll see. If something really funny comes up in the idea room and we think of something else, we'll follow it up. Otherwise we'll just let it have its life.
05 January, 2011
04 January, 2011
02 January, 2011
This is a great UK article from the Mail Online.
The angelic popera star (aka 'hooligan sex god') may be serious about music – but he's still game for a laugh…
We're waiting outside the Soho Hotel in Central London to pick up Josh Groban, and cabbie Richard wants to know who he is. 'He's a classically trained, angel-faced popera singer, a bit like Michael Bublé,' I explain. 'Mum's favourite, sings in multiple languages and is huge all round the world.'
The one thing I wasn't expecting of Josh, 29, is a closet comedian. But tickle my funnybone if he isn't as dry as a desert rat. 'Dry, ridiculous British humour is my favourite – back home in America I was the lone guy in the playground in fifth grade reciting Blackadder,' he says. 'The kids would look at me and go, "What's a bloke?"'
We're not the first to notice his comedy chops. Apart from promoting his new album Illuminations and a forthcoming tour, Josh is in the UK to host an episode of the comedy music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks, following a guest appearance last year. Buzzcocks is a TV ordeal that you don't survive – let alone return to – without a good sense of humour. 'I felt like the substitute teacher at school. The panel behaved, for the most part.'
He's also recently appeared in Glee, sending himself up something rotten: 'That's nothing like the real me. I will not be hitting on your drunk mum.' And he's been cast in an as yet untitled Steve Carell comedy: 'I play a real knob – a lawyer who thinks he's the life of the party and isn't. My fiancée's played by Emma Stone – which, I should add, didn't suck at all.'
'You meet a nice girl, you want to have a nice time – you don't want to be thinking, "You should have Googled me"'
None of this should come as a total surprise. Josh grew up in Los Angeles and went to stage school. 'My background was acting. For a long time I liked the comedy side of it and I thought for a while that acting was the thing I would be doing. Turned out I was way better at singing.'
Ah yes, the singing. We're well on the way into Regent's Park before we get to talking about the music career that's made him famous. 'Serious angelic Josh,' as he jokingly calls his better-known persona, has been a purveyor of classical pop since he was discovered by producer David Foster and stood in for Andrea Bocelli at the 1998 Grammy Awards on a duet with Celine Dion. A recording contract with Warner Bros followed, as well as a recurring role (as a singer) on Ally McBeal in 2001. A succession of appearances on Oprah and other talk shows sealed his fate as a housewives' favourite, and to date he's sold more than 19 million records.
Nonetheless, serious angelic Josh is not the guy in our cab today. 'I'm unbelievably serious about my music but not at all serious about myself. The amazing thing about promoting in England is I feel so much at home here. There's a seriousness to the art and culture in this country, but everyone wants to have a laugh. It lets me show my other side.'
Josh's success thus far has come in one of the few categories that still actually shifts records: crossover. But unlike hard rock or R'n'B, it's not immediately obvious
what crossover is, so I ask him to describe himself for the benefit of my mum. 'To your mum I would say I'm a nice, young, angel-faced boy with wonderful manners who
sings light operatic music that will sound beautiful between your daytime soaps.' And to my younger sister? 'I'm a scruffily bearded young hooligan sex god who likes to get out his piano and thrash about.'
The hooligan sex god is currently single. I presume that, with a voice like his, he can always serenade women to the New York apartment he calls home. 'Do I use my voice for evil ways? I probably could and probably should. But, strangely enough, I would still like to think that somebody likes me for me. So if somebody doesn't know who I am, I don't tell them. You meet a nice girl, you want to have a nice time – you don't want to be thinking, "You should have Googled me."'
It turns out that Michael Bublé, his most obvious musical comparison, is also a friend. Who'd win in an arm wrestle? 'It depends who's been working out more. I think I might be able to have him. He'd fight dirty – Bublé would tickle me under the table. Hey, YOU magazine, let's make it happen: the two of us locking hands on the cover. That would work!'