Michael Bublé is a Grammy-nominated artist who has sold more than 11 million albums since releasing his self-titled debut in 2003.
He's known for his soulful, jazzy style and his latest album "Call Me Irresponsible" features versions of classic songs like "The Best Is Yet to Come" and "Wonderful Tonight." He loves the classics, but you might be surprised to learn that Bublé also loves what he calls "cheesy '80s songs."
"I think I've made a lot of '80s playlists," Bublé said. "I like the '80s a lot. It's fun for me. Especially now that my girlfriend [actress Emily Blunt] is 23 years old, so half the things I play are from the '80s … and it's kind of cool to introduce her to this new music and stuff. … I think some of the greatest songs come out of the '70s and '80s by the BeeGees and ABBA, and I think those are great pop songs. And, I mean, they stand the test of time."
Born in British Columbia in 1975, Bublé spent six years working with his father, a salmon fisherman. He says that growing up, he was inspired by the music of fellow Vancouver boy Bryan Adams.
"[My parents] brought me this record and I was infatuated by the fact that this man had had this huge success and that he was from my hometown," he said. "I dreamt of being a singer and an entertainer even from the time I was 5 or 6 years old, so to know that this guy had done it was really inspirational."
At 17, Bublé won the Canadian Youth Talent Search and soon local clubs began to let him perform in exchange for free service from his grandfather, a plumber.
Bublé also credits his grandfather with providing formative musical influences. "My grandfather is still an inspiration to me," he said. "And I think that what was kind of cool for me is that he would introduce me to these artists I'd never heard of, obviously, as a kid. And he would let me listen to Mel Torme or Ella Fitzgerald or Sinatra or the Mills Brothers. And what was kind of cool is that as I got into my early teens I got to introduce him to people that I loved, from Harry Connick Jr. to Diana Krall."
Who else does Bublé love? "If I'm in a bit of a dark mood … I love Jeff Buckley's version of 'Hallelujah.' Of course, it's a Leonard Cohen song. But it's one of my favorites. I mean, it's truly amazing and it's a toss up between listening to Jeff Buckley's version or kd lang. kd lang, to me, is one of the greatest vocalists in the world, easily. And she just absolutely nails it. It's just beautiful — really touching and emotional and raw."
Bublé says that music has always helped him get through difficult times and talks about a song on his new album called "Lost."
"I wrote it last year. It's really truthful; it's honest for me. I'd been going through a lot of stuff and I was a little bit bummed out and it felt good to write it," he said. "It's basically about feeling lost but, you know, knowing every cloud has a silver lining, no matter how bad it gets it's gonna get better and there are people that still love ya and somebody that's still there for you and you just have to get through it and trust that it's gonna be OK."
Bublé is currently on tour and will perform throughout Europe and in South Africa before concluding the tour with a number of shows in Canada in early 2008.
When it comes to his favorite songs, Bublé has a soft spot for a song he says brings him back to his childhood and reminds him of his "really great, loving family."
"My first musical memory had to be listening to Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas' record," he said. "Christmas was always a really great time at our house … and I just think that it was so melodic and his voice was so rich and it's actually where I discovered, I guess, jazz, and when I hear it … ;it takes me right back. I look forward one day to recreate the kind of the kind of the feeling I had, you know hopefully, with my kids one day. It was nice for me, setting up the tree and listening to Bing sing 'White Christmas.'"
'The Best Was Yet to Come'
Another song that brings back childhood memories for Bublé is one by Adams.
"As a young kid my mom and dad had gone to see a concert of this guy named Bryan Adams,'" said Bublé. "There was a song called 'The Best Was Yet to Come' … and I always thought it was about a girl who had tried to make it and hadn't and then I realized that it was written about this Canadian girl who became a Playboy model and was murdered. And so it wasn't as romantic as I thought it once was, but it was definitely as touching and as sad and as beautiful."
'Man in the Mirror'
Bublé's feelings about Michael Jackson's classic song "Man in the Mirror"? "Oooh, it's good," he said.
"I like the start where he sings 'I'm gonna make a change' … I like the choir coming in and how big it is."
'I Left My Heart in San Francisco'
Bublé says that he and his grandfather formed a bond over "hockey and music."
"I was really into Tony Bennett," he said.
"I remember [my grandfather] making me mix tapes and me sitting on my father's fishing boat, listening to, you know, 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' by Tony Bennett," he said. "It's nice for a grandfather and a grandson to be able to have a common ground, you know, to build a relationship on. … And it's a trip now to think that I sat on the bow of that boat and now I, you know, I got to meet my idol and sing with my idol. It's pretty cool."
'You Make Me Feel So Young'
"Another song that was huge for me was off the Frank Sinatra 'Live at the Sands' record and it was 'You Make Me Feel So Young,'" said Bublé.
"It gave you a real sense of what it must have been like to be there, sitting in that room, seeing that magic happen … Francis Albert Sinatra in his prime, you know, his voice just so dulcet and perfect and his time and his phrasing makes you realize even at 13 years old, listening, that you're never gonna be that good. But inspirational at the same time, because you want to be that good. And I think truly magic is the best word to describe how it is to hear that song and how it feels to hear that song."
"I just love music and I don't care who writes it and when it was written," Bublé added. "I'm not snobby about it. I just think a good song is a good song. I don't care if it was written in 1940 by George Gershwin or 2007 by George Michael. If it's good, it's good. And that's about all there is to it."