- 03:22 AM, May 23
stand-in for music maestro Andrea Bocelli in the 1998 Grammy rehearsals. But fame did not come that fast. After graduating from Los Angeles' County High School in 1999, he went on studying drama in Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. However, it didn't take long for him to leave the school for better opportunity. Through the help from Foster, he was signed under Warner Bros Records.
Soon affiliations and collaborations were waiting in line. Among the artists sharing experience with him are Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Lara Fabian and Sarah Brightman. While recording for his debut album, he did the very thing that would put him right into the spotlight. The then twenty-years old singer made a cameo in U.S. popular TV series, 'Ally McBeal'. The show's writer David E. Kelley was impressed by his voice while singing in 'Gray Davis' Inaugural Event and wrote the role Malcolm Wyatt especially for him. The appearance did not only give him the boost of fame, but also brought higher rating to the show. If it was initially slated for a one-time only, the producers decided to put him back for another episode later that year, reprising the role as a singer with stunning voice. In November 2001, his self-titled debut album was released, containing mostly classic tunes.
By then, Groban was hailed as one of the most promising baritone singers particularly because of his relatively young age. He was teamed with equally-young and talented singer Charlotte Church to sing 'The Prayer' which version invited huge praise for both. He was later invited to perform at the Christmas concert in Vatican. Finishing his tours, the singer brought a larger impact in his career by releasing 'Closer' in 2003. It opened at #11 in Billboard Hot 200 chart and went straight to #1 the week after. Singles from the sophomore set such as 'Remember' and the worldwide popular hit 'You Raise Me Up' helped him in being nominated at 2004 American Music Awards as Favorite Male Artist. From there, he was nominated for several others including 2004 People's Choice Awards and 2005 Grammy Awards. On more personal level, Groban was also acknowledged for his philanthropic works for Africa. Through his music, he conducted a number of charity concerts throughout 2004 until the following years. At the time, the singer was dating actress January Jones who eventually put an end to their relationship in mid 2006.