My Biggest Musical Influence – Toronto Wedding Singer

I had just started taking vocal lessons. During the first couple of months, my vocal teacher had me singing excerpts of larger Italian pieces in order to practice the technique she had taught during the lessons. It also gave me my first introduction into singing in the beautiful language of Italian. Although the songs were vocally challenging and served its purpose in terms of practice, I personally did not feel I was connecting to the music. By that, I mean that I didn’t feel these were songs I would choose to perform if I was going to host a concert. Make no mistake, the pieces were beautiful but I felt there was a better fit of music out there waiting for me.

Two years prior to taking vocal lessons, I had been given a cd by some family friends. They told me that I would love the cd and that this new singer, Josh Groban, had an amazing voice and “style” of music that I could probably relate to. At the time I had never heard of the guy plus their vague description of his music really didn’t get me too excited or eager to plop his cd in my cd player. As a result his cd laid on top of my dresser  collecting dust for a couple of years.

It was around Christmas Eve of 2004 that Josh Groban’s name was brought up again when I overheard a parishioner mention how he loved his version of O Holy Night and how Groban had an amazing voice. Throughout the Christmas season I had heard his rendition of O Holy Night a number of times on CHFI and other Christmas music stations. It was the identical instrumentation of the song as performed by Michael’s Crawford on David Foster’s “The Christmas Album”. Thinking back, I guess I didn’t gravitate towards Groban’s version of O Holy Night was because I had already been a fan for the past 10 years of Michael Crawford’s rendition. Plus Mr. Crawford’s version was in a higher key and more suitable for my tenor range.

Many more months had passed and a couple more ounces of duct had collected on Joshy boys cd until one Saturday, I decided to do a quick clean up of my room. I figured that a good way to break the monotony of such an “exciting” task was to listen to some music. After searching through some cds that were lying about, I ended up grabbing Josh Groban’s. I figured why not give it a listen and have some background music . I remember searching through the song titles and for some reason,  Gira Con Me stood out. Perhaps it had to do with the number of Italian pieces I had been rehearsing with my vocal teacher at the time. I can honestly say that selecting the track and pressing play on my cd player became a life changing experience and completely set me on a new musical journey. After the music started, I remember literally being stunned by the song as I stood in a comatose state enjoying every note that was being sung and played through my speakers. It was one of those very rare moments when I had been completely overwhelmed by the beauty of a piece of music. I had never heard any song like it in my life. It was hard to describe as it was a mix of classical music and nothing like I had ever heard before. After listening to the song for at least another 10 times, I moved on to other songs like Alejate, Cinema Paradiso and Let Me Fall. I literally became obsessed with that album as I found his music to be so inspiring and motivating.

Needless to say, I ended up buying the sheet music songbook for Josh Groban’s self titled album and began learning practically all of the songs with my vocal teacher. I even remember my first public performance as a soloist consisted purely of songs from that album.

Although I have since moved on and studied and performed many different styles of music from Jazz to Broadway to Popular music, the Crossover Classical genre still has a special place in my heart and always will. And I must thank Josh Groban and David Foster for their collaboration in the making of this amazing album. It has definitely set me on a journey which has got me to where I am today as a soloist. I hope there will be many more years of great music collaboration and inspiration from the both of them.

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