And while aware that it’s important to connect with any song he’s going to sing, Groban acknowledges that the ability to impart something personal can often make a great song transcendent. “When I was working with Rick Rubin a few albums ago, he taught me a lot about songwriting and the process of it and what needs to go into it. One of the things he said was, ‘Your goal, when writing songs for one of your albums, is that the stories are coming from you instead of just being presented by you as a great vocalist,’” Groban said of the legendary producer who was at the helm of his 2010 album Illuminations. “When you have a chance to write a song that is a favorite of fans and also is based on your experiences, I think it changes the way you connect with your fanbase.
Because I think there’s a bit of a lack of original music in this kind of crossover world.” Imparting that sense of a personal experience is something at which Groban is particularly adept in the live setting. Whether it’s a familiar cover by an artist like Billy Joel or well-known fare from films like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Once, his ability to frame his most personal songs around stories and a voice that make the covers his own, allow the Groban-penned cuts from Bridges to resonate with any audience member, new or old, pushing the genre forward in the process. “Through all of it, [one of my] favorite things in the entire process is touring,” said Groban of the he headlines alongside Idina Menzel.