Michael Bublé performing at the O2 Arena in London, March 26 2023. Image: Robin Little/Redferns
Michael Bublé is a singing superstar beloved the world over. In the two decades since releasing his eponymous breakthrough album in 2003, he has sold more than 75 million records and won four Grammy awards.
And now he is back, taking time out between gigs on his latest world tour to talk with The Big Issue for our famous Letter To My Younger Self feature. In a wide-ranging interview, the 47-year-old singer reflects on his legacy (or lack of it – honestly, you’re too modest, Michael), the importance of family to his success and happiness, and how his grandparents helped instil a lifelong love of music.
“My grandfather, who was a plumber, was already sneaking me into nightclubs and bars and doing free plumbing work so the club owners and musicians would let a 16-year-old kid get up on stage and sing with them,” Bublé said.
“I was in love with Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, Ella and Louis Armstrong and Louie Prima, the great Italian-American singers. And I loved Elvis.
“At that age, I had a sense that I was unique… I thought wow, this passion and this love and this voice I have, they make me unique.
“There’s nothing better than living on potential at 16 years old. And that’s what I was doing.”
Michael Bublé has made good on that potential and then some. He has played to millions of adoring fans around the world. But as a teenager, he’d happily sing songs every night to an audience of two: his grandparents.
“My grandpa was a wonderful man, a kind and humble man. He was a working man who just loved music. He wasn’t a singer or a songwriter, but he had a deep affinity for music and I think he was a hopeless romantic,” Bublé recalled.
“When the other kids finished school, they’d go straight off with their buddies to the mall. Well, first thing me and my buddies did after school was, boom, go right to my grandma and grandpa’s house.
“My grandpa would say: OK, sunshine – he called me sunshine – did you learn the songs I put on the tape for you? And I would say yeah… Then sing grandma’s song. And I’d sing something like (he starts singing). ‘You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn’t hurt at all.”
Bublé also reveals that he would sing with his grandma after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s –because “while she forgot so many other things, she never forgot the lyrics of songs. So I would go to the kitchen with her and grab her and we would dance.”
Family remains at the heart of everything Michael Bublé does. He recalls the shock of his son’s Noah’s cancer diagnosis in 2016, after which Bublé cancelled his tour to prioritise his family.
“I was as strong as I could possibly be under the circumstances. And I had the right priorities. But if I could give advice to my younger self at any point, through all of the good or bad times in my career and my home life, I’d say, be more present. I spent so much time worrying about the future, or even the past. Now I tell my kids all the time, we cannot change what we’ve done. And we have no control about what is going to happen in the future. So all we can do is be in the moment and be as present as possible. If we can do that we will live a happy life.
“With my kids, I feel like I’ve met different children in each one as they’ve grown,” he continued. “I started with a wonderful fat little baby and I fell in love with every little fold over their ankles. And then I fell in love again when they turned one and they became these little toddlers. Then I fell in love with the little three-year-old pre-schooler.
“And this morning I kissed my nine-year-old son and I fell in love with him again.”
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