Nightline Playlist: Josh Groban

Daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is not only giving her blessing to Barack Obama, she's also giving support to singer Josh Groban.

In her recent "Favorite Things" show Winfrey named Groban's Christmas album, "Noel" as one of her favorite things of 2007. But besides being on Winfrey's list, "Noel" is making news of it's own: it is now the biggest selling CD of 2007. It has surpassed "High School Musical" and beaten Elvis Presley's long-standing record for having the longest-running Christmas CD at number one.

One of Groban's most famous songs is his cover of Brian Kennedy's "Raise Me Up."

"Raise me up has been a big hit for me, that's one that I don't think I'll ever be able to go on stage without singing in America at least," Groban said. "I think it's one of those songs that has a lyric that is so meaningful yet so open to interpretation."


Singing for Cheerios

Groban was born in Los Angeles in February 1981. Although his parents weren't in the music business, Groban remembers them playing soulful pop and rock music around the house.

"I kind of had an addiction to cheerios when I was four or five and I've got these home movies of my mom saying 'sing a song and I'll give you some cheerios' and that was my first paycheck as a kid was a handful of cheerios," Groban said.

As a boy, Groban expressed himself musically by learning to play both the drums and the piano.

In the 7th grade, Groban performed his first music solo when a teacher noticed him in the back of the choir and invited him on stage to sing. In 12th grade he played the tailor's son in the school's production of "Fiddler on the Roof."

As a teenager, Groban attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan majoring in musical theatre. When he was 17, a vocal coach introduced Groban to Grammy-award-winning producer David Foster and soon thereafter he had his first record deal with Warner Brothers Records.

Stepping Into the Spotlight

After just a year attending Carnegie Mellon University, Groban left to pursue his career in music.

At the 1999 Grammy awards, Groban began to step into the spotlight. Foster asked Groban to rehearse a duet on stage with Celine Dion in the absence of Andrea Bocelli.

Then, in the 2001 season finale of Ally McBeal, Groban performed the song "You're Still You" which became a fan favorite. Groban was so popular that producers of the hit show asked Groban to return the following season to reprise the role.

A huge fan of musical theater, and Steven Sondhiem music in particular, Groban named his dog Sweeney after the Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd."

Groban's latest effort, "Noel" is a Foster collaboration that spices up Christmas classics with new and interesting arrangements. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is transformed by adding a gospel choir and breaking down the rhythm.

And which songs transform Groban? His influences span from Mel Torme to Alicia Keys.

"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," Paul Simon (featuring LadySmith Black Mambaza)

When he was 9 years old, Groban remembers his father bringing home a cassette tape of Paul Simon's "Graceland."

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