“This was such a passion project that I thought maybe it was a little self-indulgent,” says Josh Groban. “But show after show, I would meet fans and they would say ‘When are you going to do a Broadway album?’ And any time I would dip my toes into that world, they went nuts. So I thought, maybe this is actually a win-win—maybe not only is this something I really wanted to make for a long time, but the fans really frickin’ want to hear this album.”

Josh GrobranGroban, who has sold over 25 million records worldwide, sat down at Pandora’s New York City offices for an exclusive conversation about his new album, Stages. The record marks the first time that the singer has dedicated an entire project to songs that originated in musical theater. (In addition to the interview, Groban worked with Pandora worked to curate a custom mixtape, launching today, featuring his favorite songs from a wider range of Broadway
musicals.)

“I’m surprised I haven’t done an album like this sooner,” he says. “I got the bug for this kind of music very early in my life. My parents had the wherewithal to pull us away from MTV and Nickelodeon and take us out to see shows. But I wanted to make sure that I was in the right place in my life, that I could tell these stories and have lived through some of them, that vocally I could really tackle them.”

The selections on Stages range from more traditional Broadway classics (“Over the Rainbow,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone”) to songs that have become standards for a new generation (“Bring Him Home” from Les MiserablesA Chorus Line’s “What I Did for Love”). Kelly Clarkson joins Groban on “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera, and Audra McDonald duets on Carousel’s “If I Loved You.” Stages includes three songs written by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, and Groban even took on “Pure Imagination,” Gene Wilder’s theme from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“We picked songs that I grew up loving, and I felt like, at least for a first record like this, they needed to be from shows that I experienced personally and really know in-depth,” says Groban. “The songs that had the most personal stories were the ones that had to be on the record. ‘All I Ask of You’ was the first song I ever sang in my whole career. That’s full circle, so I needed to find a really kick-ass duet partner, and Kelly Clarkson was just amazing.”

Singing material from musical theater even allowed Groban to draw on his acting chops, which he’s displayed in numerous film and television appearances, including roles on The Office and Parks and Recreation. While he’s working on finding the best way to take the Stages songs back to the stage (“There wasn’t a moment that went by recording this album when I wasn’t thinking about how cool the live show could be”), for now Josh Groban is also still sorting out how his performances of such classic compositions fits into their legacy.

“Singing songs that have been sung hundreds of times, the self-conscious, self-critical side of me says ‘Why me? What am I doing here?’ I feel that way half the time I go out on stage—‘What are these people doing here?’ I needed to say that, OK, there have been a hundred people who have sung this song, but I haven’t sung it yet. And if somebody likes my version, then it would have been worth it.”

By Alan Light

Comments

  1. Leslie Stockton
    May 11, 2015 at 5:36pm
    excellent ..i too love show tunes .. :)
    Reply
  2. Elena Flores
    May 12, 2015 at 2:04pm
    Me love it music
    Reply
  3. sharon
    May 12, 2015 at 2:07pm
    I love it
    Reply
  4. rusty
    May 12, 2015 at 2:38pm
    Love it
    Reply
  5. Bennett
    May 12, 2015 at 2:47pm
    How do you get off this stupid thing
    Reply
    1. PandoraSupport
      May 12, 2015 at 3:55pm
      If you'd like to unsubscribe from emails, please contact our support team for assistance: http://pdora.co/writeus. -Kim
      Reply
  6. Theresa
    May 12, 2015 at 2:53pm
    Love y'all
    Reply
  7. holly
    May 12, 2015 at 5:50pm
    love Pandora can't go a day with out it
    Reply
  8. Carol Schendel Hedberg
    May 12, 2015 at 6:10pm
    If you keep track of my Pandora playlist......you would see Josh Groban 99 percent of the time.?...and "STAGES", I LOVE IT......
    Reply
  9. Susan Gurry
    May 12, 2015 at 6:14pm
    Just love this new album, Stags. Beautifully performed (once again) by the ever so talented Josh Groban!
    Reply
    1. Susan Gurry
      May 12, 2015 at 6:15pm
      "Stages" (typo)
      Reply
  10. Kara
    May 12, 2015 at 7:39pm
    I miss the lyrics too!
    Reply

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