- 29 Aug 18
The US crossover star had the honour of performing with Aretha at the birthday concert held to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday...
US superstar Josh Groban is swinging back into action over the coming month, with the release of his new album, Bridges.
Also on the agenda is the launch of the new Netflix programme The Good Cop, an hour-long ‘dramedy' in which Groban stars as a “pathologically honest detective, who tries to keep an eye on his crooked but kind-hearted dad.". With both of those landmark moments out of the way. Groban will head out on a North American tour, with an opening night on October 18.
As he winds up for these engagements, Groban has been reminiscing on his close encounter with the great Aretha Franklin – the Queen of Soul who died last week. That encounter centred around a duet, performed with Aretha, of the hugely celebrated song written by Irishman Brendan Graham, with Rolf Lovland - ‘You Raise Me Up’.
"My most personal experience with Aretha was singing with her for Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday concert (in 2009) at Radio City Music Hall,” Josh Groban told Billboard Magazine. "She wanted to do a duet of 'You Raise Me Up', one of my songs, and, oh my God, of course, absolutely.
"I was in her dressing room and she had the CD on the boom box,” he recalled, "and we were listening to it, deciding where we're each going to sing, and she was so open-hearted about it. Her whole family was in there, and there was this aura around her that was just about family. There was warmth every time you were around her."
Josh Groban described rehearsing in the late soul singer's dressing room.
“When you go out on stage you quickly learn the most important lesson when doing a duet with Aretha Franklin – when her microphone goes up to her mouth, your microphone drops to the floor. I would watch her, and every time her mic came up, mine went down. I just let her do what she does best, and so well – and in the gaps in between I'd try to catch up.
"It was... an opportunity to sing a dream duet you'll tell your grandkids about."
Bridges is Josh Groban’s first album of new music since 2013. On the album, Groban sings in multiple languages, including French, Italian, Spanish – and, of course, English. The US superstar has sold over 30 million albums and videoos worldwide.
“With Bridges, I wanted to create an album that took me back to the spirit of how I made my first ones,” he told Broadwayworld, “but with a more modern approach and with so many more years of stories to tell. Art bridges my musical worlds old and new and also hopefully plays a small part in connecting people in that unique way music can."
The album is set for release on September 21.
A songwriting masterclass with Brendan Graham appears as a major centrepiece feature in the new Hot Press Yearbook 2018. You can buy it below: