Staying Hungry: Lessons from Josh Groban after 20 Years

In 2022, my wife and I had the privilege of seeing Josh Groban live in concert. This was actually the second of his concerts that we’ve been to, and both have been more than worth the price of admission.

What struck me as I sat there during this most-recent concert is that Josh has been doing this for over 20 years (“His self-titled debut album Josh Groban was released on November 20, 2001.” [source]), but he’s as passionate and dedicated as ever. As the concert progressed, I started asking myself, “How is this guy still so fired up after 20+ years of doing this? How has he been able to keep not only his dedication but his passion alive?”

I’m sure people could write entire books about this, but here are the observations I came away with about how to stay hungry 20+ years into your career.

Build a good team

Those Josh performs with are incredibly talented musicians in their own right. Several of them had solos of their own at various stages of the concert. There were also multiple guest stars that joined Josh for various songs and every single one of them was phenomenal. This was truly something you couldn’t see anywhere else.

This point is pretty meaningless though unless you also…

Retain a good team

What’s the good of recruiting talented people if they don’t stick around?

Josh seems to understand this and has built a team that people want to be a part of as many if not most of his band members have been with him for almost his full 20-year career. Also, he’s been working with most of his guest stars for about that long too.

Honestly, you can read the rest of this post as the “how” of this step as I don’t think you can separate Josh’s success from his team and his team has only stayed around because of what’s made him successful. It’s a virtuous cycle!

Stay humble

Josh consistently praised the musicians and artists he was working with, including the local symphony orchestra performing with him. For him to be great, other people don’t need to be less. He both appreciates and acknowledges the talent of the people around him.

Give your team members a chance to shine

As mentioned earlier, the concert featured multiple solos from both band members as well as guest performers. Giving the people you work with a chance to do what they love and what they are good at is a great way to increase their satisfaction. They don’t need to get away from you in order to shine; rather, Josh gives them a bigger platform than they probably could ever have on their own and everyone benefits.

Keep trying new things

Josh keeps writing new songs and releasing new albums. Since becoming a successful musician and performer, he’s has also learned to play the drums.

This ties back to humility. Often, once we are successful, we don’t want to look like or be a beginner again, but not so with Josh. He jumped into a new skill, put in the effort to learn it, and his shows have a fun new dimension as a result.

Keep in touch with your roots

During the concert, Josh continually spoke gratefully about his family, past musicians he’s worked with, his first big break, etc. He hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from and how hard he’s worked to get where he is. As a result, he seems to really value his success and not take it for granted.

Have fun doing what you do

It’s obvious Josh still finds a lot of joy in performing. At one point he broke away to do a drum solo. Later, he took a selfie with the audience, and he dedicated one of his songs to a woman who was attending the concert as part of her bachelorette party.

Find joy and inspiration in past accomplishments

Even 20+ years on, Josh still sings some of his earliest songs. In this 2022 concert, he sang songs from his all of the following albums:

  • “Closer” (released November 11, 2003)
  • “Awake” (released November 7, 2006)
  • “Josh Groban” (released November 20, 2001; his very first album!)

Find ways to give back and support other talent

Josh has his own foundation for helping young musicians. He often showcases local talent in his concerts, doing solos with local performers and bringing in local symphony orchestras to perform with him.

Josh is a very inspirational, talented individual. It’s admirable what he’s been able to accomplish over his 20+ year career. If you ever get the chance to see him live in concert, do it! I promise it will be the experience of a lifetime. I’ll end this post with one of my favorite Josh Groban songs – hope you enjoy!

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