Michael Bublé Interview From Noise11.com Archives - Noise11.com
Michael Buble image by Ros O'Gorman

Michael Buble photo by Ros O'Gorman

Michael Bublé Interview From Noise11.com Archives

by Edina Patsy on April 25, 2016

in News

Crooning is not just about singing songs about “moon” and “June”. Crooning is an entire genre unto itself. The world has a new crooner. His name is Michael Bublé. He’s only 25 but has taken decades of great crooners and remastered them for his own voice.

The music of Michael Bublé covers more than half a century from Bobby Darin and Sinatra through to George Michael and Queen.

To look at Bublé, you wouldn’t think crooner. You may think boy band. His baby-face looks definitely do not match the voice. The entire sum of the parts means his audience comes from all walks, lifestyles and ages.

Meet Michael Bublé. He talked to Paul Cashmere.

Paul Cashmere: I’m going to toss the word “crooner” into this conversation.

Michael Bublé: It’s a good word.

PC: Is it an apt description of you?

MB: Absolutely. I think it is an apt description of anyone who sings smoothly or has a nice tonal quality. It’s crooning. To croon is to try and make people swoon, I guess. And I wish I had a spoon.

PC: The next line ends in June, doesn’t it?

MB: (laughs) I think Elvis Presley is a crooner. Even people like Eddie Vedder, I hear him sing some things and I go “wow”. Seal, that kind of nice voice, too.

PC: You are in Australia as a crooner at the same time a movie about Sinatra having his troubles in Australia is the 70s is screening. Do you know the movie ‘The Night We Called It A Day’?

MB: No.

PC: Dennis Hopper stars as Frank Sinatra. In the 70s, Sinatra was here and he called a female journalist a hooker. They lead to a union ban on Frank.

MB: Was she really a hooker?

PC: No, that’s just what Frank called her.

MB: A,h so he was just being a dick.

PC: Well you were Frank last night. You called women in the audience bitches.

MB: (laughs) Yeah, I said “there are some mighty fine bitches in here”. I was being a rapper. Wasn’t Sinatra a jack-ass? What I have heard from everyone is that he wasn’t the sweetest man who ever lived. He could be a tough guy so if people are looking for me to be like Sinatra, sorry, I won’t be punching any photographers out or putting any hits on anyone.

PC: So if Dennis Hopper plays Sinatra in a movie, will Leonardo DiCaprio play you one day?

MB: Oh my God, I love it. No, I want Arnold Schwarzenegger to play Michael Bublé. My story has been pretty neat. To be honest with you, I grew up in a wonderful place in a wonderful country. My family gave me unconditional love as I grew up. Middle class, work hard, blue collar family. I have never had anything terrible happen in my life. God blessed me with having a healthy family and good people around me. I feel in love with this music. Besides the fact of being discovered by the Prime Minister, David Foster and Paul Anka the story is not all that exciting. I wish there was a little bit more drama for you. I have had a wonderful life.

PC: What is the Prime Minister component?

MB: After 8 years of struggling, things were not going well. I wasn’t making any money and at some point in my life I’d like to be a good father and a good husband. I realized if I continued to go in this place I couldn’t feed my kids on potential. I had to cut my loses and just at some point as I was about to go back to Vancouver (because I had moved to Toronto), I wanted to be in the media. I wanted to do what you are doing now. Just as I was about to do that I did a corporate gig, there was this man there, he was a nice guy. I gave me one of my independent CDs and said I hope you like. I said if you like it you and your wife can listen to it and if you don’t it will make a great coaster for your beer. He called me the next day and said “Michael, I didn’t tell you who I was but I was the right hand man to Brian Mulroney”. He told me he took it to them, his daughter is getting married, David Foster is coming and they would like you to have a chance to play for him. That’s how it all started.

PC: There are Sinatra songs aplenty on the album. You also do Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once In My Life’ and Sinatra sang that at one time too. Did you deliberately place an abundance of Sinatra on the record?

MB: No, actually the opposite. I don’t want anything to do with Sinatra. We have already had a Frank Sinatra and there will never be a Frank Sinatra. I want to be Michael Bublé. To be honest with you, I will be blunt, Sinatra recorded thousands of songs so you can almost say for most of these standards that every song is a Sinatra song. But then you also have to say every song is an Ella Fitzgerald song and every song is a Louis Armstrong song and every song is Bobby Darin song or Mel Torme or Mills Brothers or Sarah Vaughan song. You can’t get away. It is just that people categorize it because they know Sinatra. I will never get away from that. I know that and that is fine. It is human nature to compare. I stole from everyone. I tried to steal what I like from all those artists but I will always deal with the Sinatra thing.

PC: The Beatles took from Chuck Berry.

MB: It’s human nature and one day maybe 20 years from now some young kid will come up and people will tell him “my God, you are like a young Michael Bublé. It happened to Harry Connick Jr with the Sinatra thing and now people are saying to me that I am the new Harry Connick Jr. It is a natural thing. I remember hearing interviews with Harry Connick saying “I am not Sinatra, leave me alone, I am different”. It’s a small thing to deal with.

PC: I hear you are a huge fan of Bobby Darin. I’m guessing you would have been the only kid in your school who was a Bobby Darin fan and that while you were listening to Bobby they were all listening to Metallica.

MB: I just had a great talk with Kevin Spacey. He comes to my shows a lot. He is doing a Bobby Darin movie. I did not know Bobby Darin’s life was as dark as it was. He did not live an easy life. His mother was his sister. I don’t know if you know this. He was born out of wedlock so he was a bastard. She didn’t want people to know. She lived her whole life as his sister. He didn’t know this until later in life. They told him he would be dead at a young age. He was only meant to live until his 20s but he lived past that so every day was something special. I thought he was so interesting and versatile as a performer. That was the most interesting part. That was the key for me. I never watched him on stage, I never watched any of these fellows on stage. Musically, I heard him sing country songs and he sounded great. He sang wonderful ballads and he crooned like Bing and he swung like Frank. He could walk like Elvis Presley. What I fell in love with in him as an artist was that he was so versatile and he could do everything and do it well.

PC: Let’s jump from Bobby to Van Morrison. You’ve covered ‘Moondance’ with a jazz flavour. Van did a jazz version of it himself about 10 years ago on a live album. Were you coming from that perspective?

MB: No. The original is the only one I know. That is a funny song. A lot of people at the record company said “get it off the record”. They said you don’t mess with Van Morrison. It is blasphemy, it is sacrilegious. Firstly Van Morrison is one of my favourite artists and I could name 10 songs I’d love to cover. I have great respect for him as a writer. It was not a jab at him. This was me having a lot of respect for a great artist and wanting to take some of his music and put it into my style. I knew it was such a strong song. I got a great arranger named John Clayton who plays with Diana Krall. He put together the arrangement. It was funny because he said to me it was the most commercial arrangement he had ever written. He said I can’t believe I am doing it.

PC: I like you finger snapping. Do you mic up your fingers?

MB: (starts snapping his fingers). It’s pretty loud. It is funny when I first started on stage I was very nervous and I wasn’t sure what to do with my hands so I would tap. It became strong in the left hand.

PC: You do a George Michael song “Kissing A Fool’.

MB: Great song. That’s another song which for me seemed like it was so right for the style that I love. Even from his first interpretation it was close to me. I love that song. I love the way he does it.

PC: It is an interesting choice of song for you too.

MB: It was my pick. Each of us had one song or two songs that we could say we would do. David and Paul picked ‘You’ll Never Find’ and ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’. My pick was ‘Kissing A Fool’ and ‘That’s All’. David also picked ‘Summer Wind’. It is hard. I fought for a few things on this record. There are a few things I wouldn’t do again and I’m sure David wouldn’t do again. That is I would never do the same arrangements that were done by Sinatra or anyone else. That was a fight I lost. ‘For Once In My Love’ was a Don Costa arrangement and Billy May did comply with me. Those were two arrangements I said if we do, I said “I don’t care if I sing it better than Sinatra they are going to put me on the cross for it. That is going to make me be directly compared to Sinatra”. They said it wouldn’t and they were wrong. The next time I do this I won’t do that again. I think it is important to take this music and move ahead. That is what is so important about doing the contemporary songs. You take it and do something else and move forward as opposed to doing it laterally. How many people put out the old standards? It is good to have something new.

PC: As you said it is good to keep them alive.

MB: Yeah, I said it. Last night I looked out into the audience. In America by audience is young. It is 14 – 30 and last night it was nice to look out and see young people because they keep it alive. It is truly important. I think this is America’s greatest contribution to the arts. It excites me if young people in America are getting into it.

PC: What about Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’?MB: I’m a huge Queen fan. I’m a big Freddie Mercury fan. He has such a big voice. He was strong. They had such great writers. You know what song I would love to do? “I Want To Break Free”. I love it, I love it. I just heard Bon Jovi singing ‘We Are The Champions’. It was good. Not as good as Freddie Mercury but it was good.

PC: The ‘We Will Rock You’ stage show is on here in Melbourne.

MB: It’s good isn’t it? You know one thing I said to Tony Bennett was “you’ve had this 6 decade career, what is the secret” and he said “Michael, it is simple, I sing beautiful music”. That is what it is about. Whether it was written in 1930 or 2003 if a song has a beautiful melody and nice lyrics you have yourself a timeless classic. It transcends generations. For me that is the nicest thing about this whole thing. When I look into the audience and I see young, old, black, white, yellow, gay, straight and everybody is enjoying it and taking something different from it then I am hitting yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is not me, it is the music.

PC: What about tomorrow? Will there be some originals?

MB: I write a lot and I will have some originals on the record. I think it is a mistake for an artist like me to think I am a better writer than Cole Porter. I think it is important to realize what my strengths are. I do like to write and I’m not shabby but I don’t think I’m the most brilliant writer. I think it would be a shame and sort so egotistical to say I don’t need these wonderful writers. These men created works of art and wrote hundreds of beautiful songs. It would be a mistake for me to say at this point in my career that I am so good.

PC: Finally about the movie ‘Down With Love’. How did you get involved in that?

MB: Early on a friend of mine who was a musical supervisor gave me a script. I said Chris, this is going to be a great film I said who is playing the leads and he said Renee Zellwegger and Ewan McGregor. I said Holy shit. I said I’d love to be a part of this so he came around to the studio one day and for about one year I pushed behind the scenes with Chris because I really liked this movie. I was quite disappointed when it came out in America that America didn’t get it. It is a sweet romantic comedy. It is not going to win 10 Academy Awards. I found it funny. I liked the energy. It was a nice thing for me to have something to do with the movie. It is a Rock Hudson / Doris Day kind of movie. I am a huge fan of Ewan MacGrgor. You know what is neat, the first time I went down to the set and Ewan standing on the set with these two young kids and he has a light saber. I said “oh my God, Obi-Wan Kenobi is right there.”



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