Josh Groban keeps it loose

If he were just another ballad singer who happened to sell more than 25 million albums, Josh Groban would be easy to define.

But his music, most often labeled as "popera," is only one part of the equation.

On one hand, there he is pouring his heart out for "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)."

Josh Groban At The Green Music Center


Then he's singing Kanye West's tweets on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

One day, he's singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Obama's inauguration. The next, he's urinating in someone's coffee cup in the trailer for the new movie "Coffee Town."

As he puts it, "I'm extremely serious about my music and I'm not at all serious about myself."

That's why he often takes a break during his show for a random, unscripted Q&A with the audience.

"I love keeping it loose between the songs," he says. "The songs are serious enough. I think it's fun to really get to know the audience and have fun and crack jokes. If I can get people to laugh and cry in the same evening, I feel like I've done my job."

Clearly it's working for him. Thirteen years after he got his big break — as Andrea Bocelli's stand-in at a Grammy concert rehearsal with Celine Dion — the 32-year-old is one of the top-selling performers in the world. With each album going multi-platinum, the self-described "tenor in training" walks the line between classical and pop for inspirational hits like "You Raise Me Up," "Believe" and "To Where You Are."

Before he teams up with the Santa Rosa Symphony on Wednesday night at Sonoma State's Green Music Center, Groban took a break to chat about 1990s rockers, Tanglewood West and the perfect show:

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