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September 11, 2018 09:00 AM
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From Broadway, to Bridges!

Josh Groban will return with his eighth studio album, Bridges, on Sept. 21 — and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the music video for his new song “River.”

In the clip, Groban sings of life’s trials and tribulations, while the simple but stunning, black-and-white visuals emphasize the track’s uplifting lyrics: “So I walk down to the river / Where the troubles, they can’t find me / Let the waters there remind me / The sun will be there when we wake.”

Groban, 37, opened up to PEOPLE about the new music, his first since his Tony-nominated turn in Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 last year.

Josh Groban
Brian Bowen Smith

The message of the song seems particularly relevant right now; what do you hope people take away from the song and the video?

Whenever we have dark times in our lives, whether we suffer from depression, or addiction, or anxiety, or even just having a really bad day, the worst is that it feels like we are suffering alone. In a world of billions connected by social media, far too many people feel this way and while the conversation is getting better, it’s not talked about nearly enough. I hope this song and video are a reminder that it’s the simple steps, the smallest gestures, that can pull us back to the light. It’s those things for me. Find your “river.”

RELATED VIDEO: Josh Groban Is Looking Forward to Dating When He’s Done with Broadway: ‘It’s Gonna Be Nice to Have a Social Life Again!’

The video is stunning. How did it come together?

This song is different from anything I’ve ever recorded both in style and sonics, and I wanted the video to represent the mood of the song and be different as well. I have always loved Matt Mahurin’s gorgeous videos. He’s a real artist and has a very special way of shooting and creating. He connected with the song and I put it in his hands. It’s better than I could have hoped. Very powerful and raw and hopeful at the same time.

Bridges by Josh Groban
Brian Bowen Smith

How does this track represent the rest of the album?

I think in some ways it represents the spirit of how the album was made. Every song came from such an inspired and vulnerable place. But “River” is also its own unique stamp on the album as well. Steve Jordan produced it and played drums, and I definitely hope to do more work with him in the future. It was just a very organic studio day. I will say it’s the darkest song on the album in mood but in many ways it’s the song I’m most proud of.

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How did your stint on Broadway inform your new music and how you perform live?

Spending a year with some of the most talented actors, singers, dancers, and instrumentalists I’ve ever met in The Great Comet of 1812 was extraordinarily inspiring and really filled my creative tank. I spent hours on stage performing Dave Malloy’s brilliant score, and then had even more hours in my dressing room with a piano plunking out melody ideas for Bridges. Art inspires more art. Broadway was the hardest I ever worked and the most inspired I’ve ever felt to make more work.

Josh Groban’s Bridges drops Sept. 21. He’ll kick off his Bridges Tour on Oct. 18.

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