Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban has seen a mountain of success, all before the age of 30. All five of his studio releases have reached the top 10 and sold at least platinum, including No. 1's "Closer" in 2003 and "Noel" in 2007; along with five No. 1 hits on the U.S. AC chart. Worldwide, he has sold 24 million albums.
Today, on his 29th birthday, I'm sure he remains mighty appreciative of the lucky break that launched his career, with thanks to producer David Foster and Celine Dion. The former had heard a demo of Groban singing "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera" and invited him to stand in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli to rehearse "The Prayer" with Celine Dion at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
Despite his terror, the teen-ager delivered, and was soon asked to appear on "Ally McBeal" singing "You're Still You." That led to a record contract, and the rest is glorious history.
Celine also invited a now-famous Josh to appear on her 2008 TV special, "That's Just the Woman In Me," where they at last sang "The Prayer" for the masses, which was released as a "live" single.
I reviewed numerous Groban singles for Billboard, and had the opportunity to meet and greet several times in New York and Las Vegas. What a nice guy—and humble as shit.
Above left: with Fred Bronson; right, Ayhan Sahin; below left, almighty publicist Liz Rosenberg.
I wrote a page 1 story for Billboard in 2003 with the release of his 5x-platinum No. 1 album "Closer" and a lead Music story in 2006 about his double-platinum album "Awake."