In advance of his participation in the upcoming special, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, we spoke to Josh Groban, who will be appearing on the show along with chart toppers, Susan Boyle, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue, and Jessica Simpson. Jackie Evancho, who came in second place on this past summer's fifth season of America's Got Talent, will also appear. The special will air at 8:00pm nationwide, but for those in the New York City area, at 7:00pm, there will be an additional hour that will air prior to the national special. Hosts for the festivities are Al Roker and Natalie Morales from The Today Show.
Mr. Groban shares with us what his participation in the special will consist of, what his touring plans are for 2011, and which artists he would like to collaborate with in the future.
USTH: Can you just tell us what songs you will be performing at the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special, and whether you'll be doing any duets with any of the other guest stars?
JOSH GROBAN: Well, I am not going to be singing any duets on this one unless they ask. Anything could change, but at the moment, I think I'm just going to be doing solos.
I'm going to be singing a song off my new record called "Bells of New York," which is kind of a – not a Christmas song – but a winter kind of song. And felt like it was a right choice for this event. And as far as the second song goes, I am singing "The Christmas Song."
USTH: Since you brought up your new album, can you tell us a little bit about Illuminations and what inspired you to create the songs on this particular album?
JOSH GROBAN: This record was the first meeting of minds between myself and Rick Rubin. We both came from very different worlds, and we were both excited about getting into a room together and trying something new – trying to make a record that is in the style that I make in a very different way. So, I just really made sure that a lot of writing was done on my part and that when we recorded it, it was very organic.
We were right in the room with a lot of the orchestras. Many of the songs were one or two takes. So, it's a much longer answer than I think I can probably give you today, but we generally just wanted to make an album that was crystal clear with beautiful songs. And add some personality and some personal flavor to a genre that doesn't have much at the moment.
USTH: You said that on the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special, you aren't planning on doing any duets, but in your career you've done so many collaborations. Are there any artists that you would like to collaborate with that you haven't had the chance to so far? Who is on your personal wish list in the future?
JOSH GROBAN: Well, two people that spring to mind on my personal wish list – an instrumentalist and a singer. I've always wanted to sing with Yo-Yo Ma. He's somebody that I admire a great deal. I think that my voice and the range of his cello are somewhat in the same place. And I think it would be really, really nice.
And then, kind of an off the wall dream of mine that I've always had is to sing with Bjork. She's somebody that I just think is so experimental. Her use of orchestras is so interesting, and she just has such a rich and primal voice that I'm just dying to sing a duet with her. So, those are two people that are on my hit list.
USTH: Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming tour plans for 2011 in support of Illuminations? Are you going to be appearing solely in the United States, or are you going to go on a world tour?
JOSH GROBAN: It's definitely going to be a world tour. There are a lot of places that I can't wait to visit again that I haven't been to in a few years. And some places that I'm hoping to visit that I've never been to as well as, of course, a really fun trek across the United States.
So, no details at this moment. But, after all the TV stuff is done – after the first of the year – I'm going to start rehearsing with my band and really start planning a major tour.
USTH: Good luck with the television special and your upcoming world tour. I'm sure your fans will be looking forward to it. Thanks for speaking with us today.
Josh Groban's latest album, Illuminations, is available now, and you can catch him on the television special, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, on Tuesday, November 30 at 8:00pm on NBC.