Josh Groban bringing powerful baritone voice to Darien Lake

Jul 22, 2016

DARIEN CENTER — Josh Groban is an unlikely pop music star. With combined sales of his first four albums released from 2001-2007 of over 20 million units, the 35 year-old crooner is one of the most popular male recording artists of the 21st Century. In a musical landscape covered with bombastic personalities and carefully crafted publicity, Groban rose to stardom the old-fashioned way, with his voice.

Groban comes to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center Tuesday a year after the release of his latest album, “Stages.” It is a collection of songs from Broadway musicals and includes a duet with former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and another with the Tony Award winning actor and singer Audra McDonald. Groban has been opening shows with “Pure Imagination” from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which is also the opening cut on the album.

The current tour includes an opening set from ethereal singer Sarah McLachlan. The pair will be doing a duet together as well during Groban’s set.

The singer’s road to superstardom began when he was just 17 years old and working with vocal coach Seth Riggs in Los Angeles. Riggs, who had coached Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, introduced Groban to renowned music producer David Foster.

Not long after Groban solidified his relationship with Foster, Groban was asked to stand-in for Andrea Bocelli at the 1999 Grammy Awards pre-show rehearsal. Bocelli was slated to sing “The Prayer” with Celine Dion, and although the rehearsal performance is now widely available on YouTube, few people heard the performance. One of those few people was 1999 Grammy Host Rosie O’Donnell who subsequently invited Groban to appear on her show the following week.

Over the two years following that fateful stand-in, Groban and Foster worked to perfect his debut studio album, while Groban continued to make guest appearances on national television and at high-profile concerts.

In November of 2001, Groban’s self-titled debut album appeared, and over the following year, it achieved platinum sales status. The album featured the top 10 hit “You’re Still You” and remakes of classical numbers like “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Canto Alla Vita” along with a cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)”

Since his debut album, Groban has released six additional studio albums and four live albums. The albums cover a wide range of styles that showcase Groban’s powerful baritone voice.

After he completes the current tour of outdoor amphitheaters, Groban will be making his own Broadway musical debut on Nov. 14 in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” Groban is cast in the lead role of Pierre, and recently released a single from the show, “Dust and Ashes.”

By THOM JENNINGS, FOR THE DAILY NEWS