Numerous musicians may have covered 'Silent Night', 'O Come All Ye Faithful' or 'I'll be Home for Christmas' but count on Josh Groban to compile a beautifully-arranged Christmas album. Could be the classic genre that he was hopped in or simply the attraction of his angel-like voice that made the album 'Noel' flying off the shelves at high rate. Despite being released near Halloween celebration, the seasonal album performed way better than expected. Upon its release on October 9, the compilation of Christmas classics went straight to no. 10 on Billboard Hot 200 before eventually moving up six places to no. 4. The following week, 'Noel' held strong to its Top 5 position by slipping only one place down despite a 2 per cent increase in sale. Nielsen SoundScan even reported that it was the number 1 selling album in Canada for the week ending October 14, 2007. As Christmas day drew nearer, 'Noel' sale went stronger that it sat at #1 for several consecutive weeks and wen on four times platinum in 11 weeks after its release.
Josh Groban may make it looks easy to be a young singer in the music industry but by 2007 it had been 10 years since he first climbed the ladder of fame. Joshua Winslow Groban was born in Los Angeles, California on February 27, 1981 to a Jewish dad and Norwegian mother. He has a younger brother named Christopher who is four years his junior. Both he and Christopher were raised in a Christian-Anglican believe, which may prompted the selection of his classic genre. "I sang all my life," Groban recalled. "My parents had me singing around the house when I was younger. I'm not from a showbiz family or anything. It's just something I enjoyed doing." While a seventh grade student at Bridges Academy, he took theater classes that lead him to musical productions. This has marked the beginning of his love towards music as well as performing. In 1997, at the age of 16 he chose to enroll in Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan where he finished the course on music theater a year later.
The breakthrough came in 1999 when Grammy-winning music producer, David Foster, spotted his talent and was more than interested in catapulting him to success. Before long, Groban found himself not only standing beside Celine Dion but also singing with her. He was tapped as the 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. Groban, though, continued to thrive on his music career by launching the third studio album titled 'Awake' in November that year. The album went multi-platinum, selling more than a million copy worldwide, but it was his 2007 Christmas compilation 'Noel' that scored him the first 'best-selling album of the year' in U.S.