Since his early debut in the 1990s, Josh Groban has been winning audiences over with his incredible voice. From his beginning singing great opera arias to his amazing renditions of musical theater songs, Groban has won people over with his classically trained style, with four multiplatinum records.
Kelly Clarkson got her start winning the inaugural season of American Idol in 2002 and has gone on to become one of America’s best-selling and most-awarded artists of all time, with number one hits in many different categories. Behind it all is Clarkson’s powerful voice.
But though both these artists have covered a lot of ground in different genres, after all, Clarkson is known as “the queen of covers,” fans probably never expected to see them together. That is until Groban made his album Stages (2015), a tribute to the great songs of Broadway.
For Stages, Groban needed several collaborators to make the album complete and got such illustrious talent as trumpeter Chris Botti and classical soprano Audra McDonald to help him out. But for the duet, “All I Ask of You,” from The Phantom of the Opera, Groban needed someone unique.
The song was originally sung by Broadway legend Sarah Brightman, who was married to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and was the inspiration for the role of Christine Daaé in the classic. The incredible U.K. pop star Cliff Richard sang the part of Raoul. This amazing pairing resulted in the song reaching the #3 spot on the British pop charts.
Groban had a flash of inspiration but wasn’t sure how it would turn out. He thought of pop idol Kelly Clarkson, as he told Billboard: “it was a little bit of a long shot, probably. She’s got a new baby. She’s got a new album. But I decided to reach out.”
But what made him think of someone much more closely associated with the world of pop than Broadway? It was her voice, which he had always been a huge fan of.
“I just have always felt like her voice could do it all, and she certainly has proven that she likes to take risks. I was excited by her excitement; she loved theater and loved that song and wanted to take a crack at it.”
When Groban first contacted Clarkson via email, he wasn’t expecting what would follow. Far from being afraid to take on the challenge, Clarkson took the initiative and recorded a demo of her part on her iPhone. When Groban got the demo, he was thunderstruck.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, people are gonna be shocked when they hear you really open up on this,’ because she can do it.”
Remember to catch Josh on NBC's #ElvisAllStarTribute this Sunday, February 17 at 9/8c, featuring a star-studded line-up and all your favorite ELVIS PRESLEY songs!
And yes it did! When Groban gave his fans a sneak peek of the album on a PBS special in 2015, they were surprised and delighted to find out who their idol was singing with. Before he brought her up on stage, Groban made a heartwarming tribute.
“I knew that this duet had to be recorded in a very, very special way and it had to be recorded with a very special singer. She is one of the versatile singers that I’ve ever heard. She’s got one of the most beautiful voices that I’ve wanted to sing with for ages.”
For Clarkson, the Phantom of the Opera was the first musical she ever saw. “I was mesmerized, ” she told Groban onstage. “I wanted to be Christine.”
Clarkson got her wish. “Say you’ll love me. That’s all I ask of you,” Groban and Clarkson sang. The audience was charmed with their performance of this beautiful number.