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Vancouver crooner Michael Bublé is leading a charmed life. Since launching his singing career, raised on his grandfather's love of the sounds of the Mills Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and others, he’s been swinging on a star. Discovered by Brian Mulroney, who introduced him to producer David Foster, Bublé has been hailed almost universally as the “new Sinatra.” With his relaxed, crowd-pleasing style, he has wooed audiences across North America and caused women to swoon at sold-out engagements throughout Europe and Asia. His taste for pop standards runs from Sinatra to more recent numbers by the Bee Gees. With just one studio album under his belt, his record sales have already topped more than three million worldwide. Now Bublé is stepping out with his sophomore release, It’s Time, another polished collection of old and new fare and one original composition. We caught up with him before Christmas in England, where he’d just completed 16 sell-out shows, including two SROs at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.
INSIDE E: You’re spending a lot of time in London lately.
MICHAEL BUBLÉ: It’s like Vancouver. A little cold, rainy—beautiful. I feel right at home here (laughs). Two nights ago, I sang at the Royal Variety show before Prince Charles. After the show, I was standing there beside Sir Elton John and Gwen Stefani and I got to meet the Prince. I shook his hand and he said to me, ‘Michael, when are you playing here again? I’d like to come to the show.’ It’s all a bit surreal.
IE: Do you ever find yourself losing perspective, will all the adulation and attention you’re getting?
MB: It does start to take you away. There’s thousands of people screaming for you every night. There’s paparazzi. During the last couple of years, things got a little rocky between me and my girlfriend back in Vancouver, who I’ve been with for seven years, because I started to believe that I was Mr. Stud Boy. I was just being a real dink and started to neglect her. It’s an occupational hazard. About eight months ago, I was on an airplane and I was really rude to a flight attendant. I was watching this special and yapping and being loud. My tour manager took me aside and said, ‘Shut your mouth, asshole, you’re being an absolute dick.’ He said, ‘I know your parents brought you up with more class than this, this is not you.’ I sat on the plane and took a moment and realized that I’d lost my way. I had to wake up to reality.
IE: How are things with your girlfriend now?
MB: I recorded a version of “A Song for You,” the Leon Russell song, with her in the studio with me. It was easy to sing it for her because a lot of those lyrics just hit a real nerve with me. ‘I’ve been so many places in my life and time’ and ‘I’ve acted out my life in stages with ten thousand people watching, but we’re alone now and I’m singing this song for you.’ Part of the song is me saying to her, ‘Forget about all that shit, I’m over myself and you’re the thing that really matters to me.’
IE: Your new album represents the first time you’ve recorded one of your own songs, “Home.” Is it a difficult finding a balance between giving people what they want and doing something for yourself?
MB: It’s funny, because I’ve written so many songs. And yet with my first record everyone said to me, ‘You can’t put an original on this record—no one knows who the hell you are. We’re going to have a heck of a time selling standards anyway, let alone something they’ve never heard of.’ So I said okay. Then with this record, I thought, you know, I want people to be really comfortable. That’s why, as much as I wanted to make it a better record, I knew I had to keep certain aspects of the record the same. At the same time, you make a very conscious decision about, ‘Do I make a record for the critics or the fans?’ I tell you, man, it ain’t easy. Anyone who tells you they don’t care what critics say is giving you a line of b.s. Of course you care, you’re a human being. It sucks when somebody doesn’t like what you do. But I think I got the best of both worlds.
IE: As a rabid Vancouver Canucks fan, how much are you missing hockey?
MB: Last night, I watch a two and a half hour English football game. The score was 0-0 and I sat and watched the whole thing. That’s how much I miss hockey. I tell you, I’m dying.
IE: Do you play?
MB: I play ball hockey, roller blade hockey, ice hockey, anything. I’m not the greatest player, but I love it. I’m like the Swedish guy who doesn’t want to go in the corners, but would love to score the big goal.
Inside Entertainment February 2005