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Josh Groban recalls his first performance

Josh Groban explains how it all started, when he sang publicly at school for the first time:

I was in the 8th grade and I was really shy about singing. I was in a contemporary vocal group and I was standing in the back. I kind of knew I had a voice, but it's not the coolest thing to do at that age.

The teacher asked, “Does anybody know what scat-singing is?”

Josh Groban At The Green Music Center


My dad's a total jazzer and played trumpet through college, and would scat around the house, so I said, “Yeah, I think I know what that is.”

So he asked me to explain it to the class. Then he said, “Do you know this Gershwin song 'S'wonderful'?”

I said, sure, and he had me sing a little. He said, “Great, you're going to sing this for the Cabaret Night in front of the whole school next week.”

I was just absolutely mortified and terrified that he'd tricked me into doing this. But I invited my parents, who hadn't really heard me sing. I was also kind of picked on. I was not the coolest in class. Back then, I was really a nerd. It was one of those moments where I went out and thought, man, I'm gonna get wedgies for the rest of the year for this. But I got a standing ovation and my mom was crying. All the cooler, way-too-cool kids were standing, saying, “Yeah, man, that was cool. You've got a great voice. Don't ever change.”

It was a wonderful watershed moment where I realized that not being afraid to step out into the spotlight was a big confidence-building moment. From that moment on, I decided this is what I want to do.

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