Josh Groban: The gay interview

JoshGroban4 JamesDimmockChris Azzopardi talks to the sexy singer.

It all began with the bears. “I’m like, ‘Are you a baseball team?’” says Josh Groban, recalling an early-career encounter with a man who informed the crooner about his growing number of gay bear fans. Nearly 15 years later, members of the LGBT community — even the non-hairy ones — are still feeling struck and soothed by Groban’s elastic range. Stages (which drops April 28) is yet another swoon-worthy set from the singer. His first collection of songs from Broadway musicals, Groban takes on some of Broadway’s best for the album, which includes “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and The Phantom of the Opera showstopper “All I Ask Of You,” a duet with Kelly Clarkson. While discussing the release during a recent interview, the 34-year-old also highlighted the significance of performing with the Washington, D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus during Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration, the validation his younger “awkward” self felt after being named Sexiest Newcomer and how Ryan Gosling put the singer’s sexuality to the test.

Dallas Voice: I saw you in Toronto for Rufus Wainwright’s If I Loved You: Gentlemen Prefer Broadway – An Evening of Love Duets last summer. You really got your gay on.  Josh Groban: [Laughs] I’ll always put my gay on for Rufus.

During an interview you did regarding that performance, Rufus referred to you as a “dreamboat.” At this point in your career, are you used to that kind of attention from gay men?  Yeah, it’s happened from time to time. Look, when Rufus Wainwright is complimenting you, musically or otherwise, it’s a great honor. Something that was surprising to me that happened when I first got signed at 19, 20 years old: I was at some kind of shop, and I was walking around with someone — it was probably my girlfriend — and this guy comes up to me and goes, “Hey, I just want you to know, the bears love you.” I’m like, “Excuse me? What?” And I didn’t know what that meant! I’m like, “Are you a baseball team?”

How did you figure out what type of bears he was referring to?  I think some Googling had to take place. And it was like, “Oh. Ohhhh!” [Laughs]

And you’re like, “Not the bears in the forest.”  Yeah, and not the Chicago Bears.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Josh Groban seduced men and women alike at the American Airlines Center

Josh Groban

In an era when autotuning has effectively masked the tone-deaf caterwauling of countless numbers of pop “vocalists,” it’s nice to hear a singer who can, you know, sing (are you listening, Ke$ha?). When Josh Groban breaks out that creamy baritone on a squishy pop ballad like “You Are Loved,” you stop caring that his style is perhaps too adult-contemporary for serious music fans, too popera for classical music lovers, and you just rinse in the rich glow of his voice.

Groban can still pull in crowd, as he showed to a well-attended concert at American Airlines Center on Monday night. What’s fascinating about his demographic is, there is no demographic; we sat next to another gay couple; a middle-aged straight couple sat in front of us; teenagers squealed at the 30-year-old mophead from floor seats; and an 8-year-old attended with her mom, a Hispanic woman in her 30s. Guys and gals wore Groban T-shirts (they pawed at him so much as he worked his way repeatedly through the throng, I thought he might wanna rename himself Josh Gropin’). It was an ecumenical musical experience, with everyone there knowing what they were getting and walking away satisfied.

It’s been almost exactly 10 years since Groban burst on the scene, rehearsing with Celine Dion at the Grammys then getting a features role on Ally McBeal, and going from gangly kid to romantic star almost overnight. Groban gravitates (he admits this) to sad, slow songs that showcase his deliberate, fully rounded vocal chops. He’s a bit Vegas showman, moving his performance space several times from an elevated platform at center court with an upright piano to his full band at the end of the arena, slapping hands as he moves through the audience.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones