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As far as i know this is a advance preview of this article on amazing Josh Groban. Please do not repost anywhere else. ENJOY!!


Confessions of a choir boy
Beyond the angelic voice and curls, Josh Groban enjoys a good cigar, flouts the speed limit and dreams of hosting Saturday Night Live one day.
By Steven Chean
Predictably, Josh Groban is a very tidy, well-mannered eater. We are in his two-bedroom high roller’s suite at the Hotel at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas,where the 24-year-old singer recently performed to a sellout crowd of 12,000 mostly female fans (many old enough to be his mom). A ribbon of windows frames the city’s infamous neon skyline. Groban, busy making a sandwich at a buffet table, seems oblivious to the backdrop. He’s just a hungry boy, I think, watching him push down the top piece of bread with one hand, then neatly cut the sandwich in half. Actually, he didn’t eat the crusts. And he never, ever talked with his mouth full.
By now, most of America knows who Groban is. The boy singer next door. The multiplatinum millionaire recording artist. With soulful eyes and a crown of dark ringlets, he looks barely old enough to drive. So the richness of his operatic baritone comes as a surprise. When he wraps that commanding voice around a pop ballad, you can almost hear his audience (at least the aforementioned females) come apart at the seams. The most loyal fans, dubbed “Grobanites,” follow
him from town to town with the worshipful attention given a preacher at a tent revival.
Nearly 10 million copies of Groban’s recordings have been sold since he was discovered at age 17 by ueber-producer David Foster, the godfather of sweeping power ballads sung by the likes of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. Nearly every place Groban plays sells out, including New York’s Madison Square Garden. He landed a coveted performance slot at this year’s Oscars and has sung in venues as diverse as the Vatican and on “Oprah.” Recently, he wrapped a 30-city
tour to promote Josh Groban Live at the Greek, a CD and DVD recorded last September at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre.
How did this superstar ascend to the A-list without the media overexposure that seems to be a prerequisite to modern celebrity? Thanks to carefully scripted appearances, including on PBS’ “Great Performances,” Groban has managed to climb to the top while keeping a low profile.

“I think what makes him so special is the fact he has this enormous
grass-roots marketing machine behind him,” says Miriam DiNunzio, a Chicago Sun-Times entertainment editor. “Let’s face it: He’s not getting radio play; he’s not a staple on MTV or VH1. Yet he’s sold [close to 10] million records? He’s not part of the crowd, which is what sets him apart. He’s not part of the cookie-cutter ‘pop music star’ vehicle that’s so prevalent today, and he doesn’t need to
be.” Groban avoids the tabloid-feeding party circuit, preferring to hang out with longtime friends from summer arts camp or his girlfriend of almost two years, actress (and Ashton Kutcher’s ex) January Jones. Before moving into a new two-bedroom condo in Beverly Hills last year, he lived with his folks in Los Angeles’ upscale Hancock Park neighborhood. His close-knit family consists of dad Jack, 59, who owns an executive recruiting firm; mom Lindy, 62, an interior designer; and brother Chris, 20, a film student at the University of Southern California. Who helped to decorate his first bachelor pad? “My mom helped a lot,” Groban says. “She knows my style.”
Despite this — may I say it? — beige image, Groban is not without flash. He savors the occasional cigar (Cuban, no less). He drives a metallic charcoal 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera and has broken the law in it more than once, he confesses: “When I bought it, I said to myself, ‘Y’know what? I wanna see what it can do.’ I drove out to Vegas and got two speeding tickets — one on the way there, one on the way back. Clocked me at 100 [mph],” he says, adding, “This is
before I got the radar detector.”
Friends agree there’s a lighter side to Groban, rarely seen on camera. “From hearing his songs, you might think he’s always thinking about landscapes, or singing about rain or sorrow or love,” says one of his best friends, New York-based filmmaker Ben Epstein, 23, who met Groban at a summer theater program in Interlochen, Mich., when they were 15. “But he’s a very funny person, and you spend a lot of time with him laughing.”
And he seems to truly lack the ego that usually accompanies fame and fortune. “One time we went out, and people didn’t know who he was and assumed he was just a friend of mine from out of town,” Epstein recalls. “One girl asked, ‘What do you do?’ and Josh said, ‘Oh, I’m a singer.’ She said, ‘Oh, cool. I’m an actress.’ They talked for about 10 minutes, and he never let on about what he does. He never went on about how great his life is.”
“What separates Josh from other male pop-music stars is that he truly is the boy next door you can take home to Grandma,” says Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune music critic Jon Bream. “He is unpretentious and genuinely likable on-and offstage. Middle-aged moms want their daughters to marry him, and young women want to hug him, for starters. Why? Because he’s sweet and vulnerable and romantic and cute and has a voice that stands apart. He is the Phantom of the
Popera.”
But Groban isn’t ready to be labeled a one-note boy singer. What does he sing in the shower? Not Italian love songs. “I’m not a huge romantic song guy …” he tells me over the phone later.
“You’re not?” I reply. “That’s kind of surprising.”
He pauses. “I know, but I’m really not, and I can’t really name you one song. [But] I do a pretty good Eddie Vedder. Even Flow is the one that works best against the [shower] tiles.”
Another surprise: Groban does what Epstein calls dead-on impressions of goofball characters like Cartman from “South Park” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” At the Las Vegas show, he displays his goofy side. Fans bearing gifts of thick hand-knit scarves are met with “Wow — these are great” from Groban. Pause. “Too bad I live in Los Angeles,” he teases. He reads out loud a sign one female fan holds up — “Josh, you make us hot and stupid” — then grabs a fire extinguisher, acts as if he’ll pull the pin, then puts it down. The crowd roars. That
Josh, what a cutup.
OK, maybe he is a bit square, but his earnest sweetness is hard to resist. And he’s remarkably open-minded musically, critic Bream says: “He is as conversant about Andrea Bocelli as about [the post-punk band] Franz Ferdinand. In concert, he’s Pavarotti tripping through an aria in impeccable Italian, and then he’ll get as silly as Justin Timberlake between songs,” soaking in shouts of “I love you!” for several minutes, smiling, “I’ll wait.”
“Josh is the real American Idol,” Bream says. “Leave the top 40 to Fantasia, Ruben and Kelly, because their combined CD and concert ticket sales don’t come close to the numbers Josh has posted.”
Groban’s ambitions extend further than music. For one, he has his eye on movies. “No matter what business you’re in — music, television — there is still nothing more powerful than film,” says Groban, who first got mainstream notice an episode of TV’s Ally McBeal. He longs to lighten up his act as well: “I love comedy. I’d love to host “Saturday Night Live.” It’s something I’ve drooled over since I was a kid.”
Whatever lies ahead, expect Groban to do it his way. “In this business, it can be very tempting to not be yourself, to follow a formula, and a lot of people have success doing it,” Groban says. “I stuck with what I believed in, and the road was much harder, but it was worth it.”
Who inspires me to be true to myself
By Josh Groban

One thing my parents always instilled in me is to be true to myself and unwavering in following my instincts. They’ve always tried to keep me positive. You know the song High Hopes? When I was younger, I had this “I can’t, I can’t” personality. I had a lot of ability and a love for life and music, but I wouldn’t say I had high hopes. I could’ve raised the bar higher. And my parents were always there just to make sure I knew I could do it.
One of the hardest times I ever had was in junior high. My grades weren’t great, it was hard to make friends … I was pretty miserable, like most kids in junior high! People deal with it in different ways, to try to find who they are. Some do a lot of things they later regret. It was definitely a challenge to stay the course and trust myself, but I managed to do it.
My passion was music, and I felt so lucky to have had that focus. I knew exactly what I wanted, and that really helped me in not feeling like I had to give in to the angst that comes with that time in your life. I had a family that was supportive, and I made sure to soak up culturally all that my city had to offer. The arts made me confident. I had a vision and a path early on that not a lot of kids around me had.
Now, at 24, looking at the new “adult” world around me, some things don’t change. It’s been a very rewarding last couple of years because I’ve been able to just go out and be myself. What people see and hear is who I am. The most rewarding risk is the one you take based on trusting the voice inside you. If you make a decision not based on who you really are and it’s not a success, you’ll always regret it. So far, I have no regrets. I have a lot of choices to make
in the coming years, but knowing they will all come from an honest place makes me excited for the outcome, whatever it is.
A few of his favorite things
Josh likes a Journey tune and a plate of steak and eggs.
— Gatorade. “I love orange Gatorade. I have a bottle onstage at all times, and I drink a couple bottles before a show. I always have it at home.”
— Cheese. “I don’t know whether it’s my Scandinavian heritage or what, but I’ve always loved cheese. Since I was a little kid, I really, really like [Laughing Cow Mini Babybel cheese]. I used to call it ‘cookie cheese,’ because it’s in the shape of a cookie. When you unwrap the red wax, it looks like a Pacman. I’m obsessed with those.”
— Crooners: His favorite is Tony Bennett, left. “One of the great, great romantic singers.” Another: Steve Perry. “One Journey song I like a lot is ‘Faithfully.’ It’s about him being on tour and missing his girlfriend, and that gets me. I know what he’s talking about.”
— Most likely place to spot Josh: The Original Pantry, 877 S. Figueroa St. in downtown L.A. “I used to go there a lot as a kid. I sit at the counter, have some steak and eggs [$8.25]. Then I’ll drive around. I love to drive, even in L.A., where traffic is kind of nuts. My favorite drive is [along the Pacific Coast Highway], from L.A. to Malibu. [Girlfriend] January and I will sometimes go to Gladstone’s 4 Fish Malibu [a restaurant overlooking the ocean at 17300 Pacific Coast Highway] and have lunch. It’s a beautiful area. I’d love to move
down there eventually.”
Meet The Grobanites
They follow him from city to city with the same level of devotion that has driven Deadheads and Phish fans. Grobanites, as fans of Josh are called, express their loyalty in a variety of ways. Ginny Owen, 43, of Meridian, Idaho, and daughter Rachel, 17, reflect his multigenerational appeal. His largely female fan base also includes HOGs, Husbands of Grobanites (Owens and her hubby spent their last anniversary at a Groban concert in Wichita). Owens met her best
friend through a fan site: “I thank Josh for introducing us!”
At friendsofjoshgroban.com, the official fan site run by his record label, Reprise, 12,000 fans shell out $39.95 a year to get never-before-seen video and other stuff. A newsletter is also planned.
Another site, grobanitesforcharity.org, has raised $200,000-plus for Groban’s charity work for kids since 2004 through auctions of backstage passes and fans’ handmade items (T-shirts, puzzles, even soaps with his image) and personal items (Josh’s tennis shoes sold for $480). Marilyn Scandrett, 58, a night nurse from Brick, N.J. (25 concerts), made the $1,500 winning bid for a phone call
from Josh. — Evan Frank

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About Anh Nguyen

Anh Nguyen is a Los Angeles based freelance photographer. Over the past six years, he has covered various concerts, movie premieres, red carpets, parties, and events. A southern California native, Anh attended UCLA and holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and a minor in Accounting. In addition to photography, he is currently pursuing his license as a CPA and hopes to go law school. Adding to his many interests, Anh also loves to cook and has worked as a line cook for Food Network's celebrity chef Scott Conant's restaurant, Scarpetta, in Beverly Hills.