Many years ago, while my husband and I were driving home one evening, he was entertaining himself in typical fashion, pushing buttons on the car radio and grumbling about the music selection. I was in my own world (also typical), thinking about my first manuscript, which was in its earliest stages of development. Suddenly something broke through my musings. It was a Voice on the radio – an unfamiliar Voice that didn’t sound like anything else. Like gold dust in the air, it filled the car with beauty for two seconds, then it was gone as my husband continued to scan the stations.
“Go back,” I said, pointing frantically at the radio. “Go back!”
My husband looked at me strangely and did as I demanded, cycling back through the stations until he landed on the Voice. Josh Groban’s voice.
That was the beginning. I have been a Josh Groban fan ever since.
I went to my first Josh Groban concert a year later in Tucson, which is a funny story I blogged about in 2011, the year my debut novel, Dream of Me, was released. As I explained then: it’s not just Josh’s voice that I love. Through his lyrics and song selection, he has inspired me as a writer. After that first concert, I put his inspiration to good use:
I finished my novel. And when I couldn’t find a publisher for it, Josh had another song for me: “Don’t give up,” he said. So I kept trying and several years later, I signed a book contract. And when my publisher flaked on me and went out of business just before it went to press, I cried. But then Josh sang to me again, reminding me that my words shouldn't be held in silence. "Please don't keep them Hidden Away," he sang.
Now, I look for those words of inspiration in every album Josh releases – and I am never disappointed. When Josh’s latest album, Bridges, came out, the first track, “Granted,” was that song. In part, he sings:
If you have a dream, go chase it
If you feel hope, don't waste it
If you find love, embrace it
And never take a single breath for granted
The story's yours, go write it
Our days are counted on this planet
Never take a single breath
Take a single breath for granted
Last weekend, I went to my sixth Josh Groban concert, this time taking a bunch of family members with me (my sisters joined me in my love for Josh years ago!) Like always, Josh put on a brilliant performance, setting up each song with a funny or interesting story about why he sings, why he wrote it, or what it means to people he meets on the road. Josh is funny and dorky and charming, but he is also driven and courageous, trying new things with each album rather than being content with the faux-opera easy-listening rut where some would like to park him. More than that, he’s a down-to-earth, relatable guy who uses his God-given gift to inspire others to go out and use theirs too.
So what do I do with all that inspiration? I write! After finally publishing Dream of Me, I wrote A Place Between Breaths, which won an award from Writer’s Digest. Then I signed a contract with Clean Reads, Inc. for a young adult trilogy called Stealing Liberty. The first book in that trilogy was released in 2017. The second, Weeping Justice, comes out on October 1.
The thing about musicians – whether they’re celebrity crushes (like Krysten’s love for George Michael) or just flat-out inspiration, (like my love for Josh) – they are artists, releasing part of their souls into the void, hoping that those pieces of themselves find a home to grow in another artist. The greatest thrill I can imagine is that one of my readers will be similarly inspired, whether to pick up a pen, pick up a paintbrush, or break into song. If there is one thing we sorely need in this world, it is a little more inspiration.
Check out this funny story from Jennifer's first concert:
Bridges-- A Review of Josh Groban's Eighth Studio Album
Pre-order her new book here:
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.