Olaf Heine

Josh Grobans new studio effort, All That Echoes, isn't hollow pageantry.

Josh Groban, the reigning king of the crossover classical genre, shocked the recording world when he muted his operatic tendencies and infused a folkie confessional vibe into his 2010 Rick Rubin–produced studio album, Illuminations. But you can’t keep such a monumental voice down for long. Rather than suppress the more audacious aspects of his music, Groban, in concert with new producer Rob Cavallo, embraced everything big and bold for his latest album, All That Echoes (Reprise, $11).

“I sang with a quieter voice for Illuminations, and I wanted this record to be a little more full-throttle, vocally,” Groban says. “We wanted the music to be more cinematic.”

Olaf Heine
This big-screen approach plays to the singer’s experience as a vocal acrobat and seasoned performer. Behind the strength of the single “Brave,” All That Echoes recalls multiplatinum successes Awake (2006), Closer (2003) and the singer’s 2001 David Foster–produced self-titled debut. The new 12-track disc features seven original songs (all co-written by Groban) and five covers, including the Stevie Wonder/Yvonne Wright soulful classic, “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever),” featuring Groban on drums; “Falling Slowly,” from the indie film/Tony Award–­winning Broadway production Once; and the traditional “She Moved Through the Fair,” which has been recorded by Fairport Convention and enigmatic folk heroine Anne Briggs, among others.

“My two biggest goals for this record were to be a really intelligent singer and an intelligent song finder,” says Groban, who turns 32 this month.

The diversity and power contained on All That Echoes seem to reflect not only ­Groban’s continuing creative growth but the artist’s ability to reclaim elements of his craft. “Having taken out different aspects of my music [for Illumination], it was great to add them back into the pot,” says Groban, who splits his time between his native Los Angeles and New York, the cultural capital he’s called home since 2010. “Actually, it was unbelievably liberating.” 

Laugh Track

Josh Groban, a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts,
often moves out from behind the microphone and steps in front of a camera
to perform comedy. Here are a few highlights from Groban’s gag reel:

Groban interviewed himself with hilarious results for
He set Kanye West’s tweets to music
on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “Those tweets were funny even
without the music,” Groban says. 
He played a clueless, self-centered
lawyer with bad hair in the 2011 dramedy Crazy, Stupid, Love.
“I studied that kid because I sat behind him in school,” Groban jokes.
“But when they combed my hair in that direction, it went
totally Method after that.” 
He’ll appear in the upcoming film
Coffee Town with Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) and
Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). “Music is so
serious,” he says. “Comedy exorcises those demons.”