By Lindsay Claiborn
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After selling more than 22 million albums in the United States and becoming a staple in the classical music field, singer Josh Groban is embracing an edgier sound for his latest record, "All That Echoes," out on Tuesday.
Groban, 31, put together a collection of covers and original songs for the album, including a rendition of one of his personal favorites, "Falling Slowly" from the movie and stage musical "Once."
Under the guidance of veteran producer Rob Cavallo, the Warner Bros. Records chairman who has worked with rockers like Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls and Paramore, Groban showcases his usual smooth vocals against a more energetic, live-concert sound.
"It's not about walking out of your lane and scaring people. It's about slightly expanding what your lane is and allowing all of that to be part of your world," Groban said in an interview with Reuters.
Along with covers including a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)," Groban also wrote original songs, which he said emerged from frustration.
"It was the frustration of hearing songs that were maybe written for me after a little bit of success, going 'Ahh, is that really what you think I do?' Yes, I know the other thing was kind of cheesy, but that's really cheesy,'" the singer said.
"All That Echoes" features original songs such as "Below the Line," which draws in Latin jazz beats and sweeping ballads such as "Brave" and "False Alarms," where Groban showcases his powerful voice.
Groban first found the spotlight in 1999, when he was asked to fill in for ailing Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli at a rehearsal with Canadian singer Celine Dion.
Groban went on to land a short role on TV show "Ally McBeal" in 2001 and released his debut self-titled solo album later that year.
Five studio albums later, Groban has cemented himself at the top of the list of pop-vocal performers. His 2007 holiday record "Noel" became the best-selling U.S. album of the year.
Los Angeles native Groban has also taken small acting roles in TV comedy "The Office, movie "Crazy Stupid Love" and will make a cameo appearance on an upcoming episode of "CSI: NY."
If he had his dream gig, Groban said he would be fronting rock band Queen for a day. But in the more foreseeable future, he hoped to become a regular face in theater.
"There are only so many albums I'm going to want to make before I decide to go and follow that dream for a minute or longer than a minute," the singer said.
"I think that there will come a time very soon, hopefully in the next two or three years, where I'll take out a big chunk of time and dedicate it to theater and do some of that."
For now, the singer will hit the road in support of his new album, heading to Australia in April before returning to Los Angeles to perform three dates at the Hollywood Bowl in July.
(Reporting By Lindsay Claiborn, writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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