What inspires Josh Groban come showtime

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
What inspires Josh Groban come showtime
Josh: ‘Every night, I get the same excitement to sing songs I’ve done one time and to sing songs I’ve done a thousand times, and it’s because of the audience. They give me the energy, they inject me with the inspiration every night.’

MANILA, Philippines — “I think the best singers are both.”

That was Josh Groban sharing his thoughts on singers, who need to be performers and storytellers at the same time, in a one-on-one with The STAR the day before his Mall of Asia Arena concert.

“You have to tell stories that are universal and your songs, you write from a very personal space,” he added, “the songs that I sing that, if I wrote or I didn’t write it, I’m thinking of very specific things in my life that gave me the passion to sing those songs but the great thing about the human condition is that if you’re singing from the heart, generally, millions of other people will have experienced what that feels like whether it’s love or loss or celebration and so I think you have to tell your story. But in doing so, you’re helping other people express inside themselves their stories. Then you have to perform, you have to be entertaining. You have to put up a great show.” This is what he would showcase in his performances. Hands down, music is so accessible that it easily connects audiences to its creators.

“I think there is a special connection people have to music,” said Josh, who loves all forms of art. “You know it is something that is intangible, ethereal, the feeling that people have when they listen to a song that moves them, a melody that moves them is unlike anything else but then that can be said for an incredible sculpture that you see and it makes you feel something, a poem, a dance piece, a film.”

Josh also generously shared that he “was so inspired every step of the way” doing his eighth studio album Bridges for he collaborated with people that sparked something in him. “These are the people who brought out the best in me and allowed me to share stories of mine, melodies of mine in a way that still paid homage to the singing and the style of my first couple of albums.” Josh, however, wanted to make an album “that wasn’t afraid to shy away from that big singing to use my voice the way I can use it. But you know if I would make it with the same sounds as the first album, then that would be dated.” Thus, Josh’s album showcases his “newer inspirations and influences” with that classic feel.

His musical success also lies in finding the space to innovate. “I think innovation is essential,” he said. What’s clear is, Bridges shows that music is integral to Josh’s life. “When I’ve gone through periods without it, either listening to it or creating it, I’m most unhappy and I need it to feel whole, I need it to feel validated in this world, in this life. We all need to feel that we have a purpose,” he said, “the combination of being able to be both a fan of music and then being a creator of music.” All that, plus the connection his music makes to listeners, he said, is “the most meaningful, defining thing of my life.” Bridges is released locally by Warner Music Philippines.

Asked if there’s any difference when he performs abroad or in the US, Josh replied, “…there are very little differences when you get people into a room no matter their background, when somebody’s in a room and all are listening to the music they love, it is something that unites people. And you know there are some audiences (that) are accustomed to wait, cheer and stand up until the end, some audiences (that are) accustomed to just start going (crazy) at the beginning… In general, the relationship between my fans and (my) music is wonderfully uniformed around the world. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

What people are not privy of is how singers like Josh keep their energy high before showtime.

“I think that it’s easy backstage to feel tired because you (have) jet lag and you’ve been doing many shows. It’s easy backstage, you know, to be nervous and tired, to think that I have to sing that song again and that song again,” he said, adding that “…but without fail, the moment the lights go out and you hit the stage, for 20 years now, it’s the same feeling. Every night, I get the same excitement to sing songs I’ve done one time and to sing songs I’ve done a thousand times, and it’s because of the audience. They give me the energy, they inject me with the inspiration every night.”

With that, it’s not surprising if Josh is ready to do his next studio recording or another concert tour.

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