Where To Start With.... Michael Bublé
For some of those who consider themselves “serious” music fans, an album by Michael Bublé might be something you'd be more likely to buy as a stocking filler for your mum than a record you'd listen to yourself. But make no mistake: Bublé has fought harder than most to earn the kind of success that has seen him scoop up four Grammys and shift somewhere in the region of 50 million albums worldwide, combining his evident singing talent with a work ethic and a level of dogged determination that would put most independent artists in the shade.
Born and raised in in the Canadian city of Burnaby in British Columbia, Bublé's first love, like many Canadian youngsters, was Ice Hockey, a passion he shared with his grandfather, with whom he religiously attended home games of the Vancouver Canucks: “If I was any good at hockey”, he once told the Ottawa Sun, “I probably wouldn't be singing right now.” It was also his grandfather who first introduced him to the music he would eventually make a career out of, with the young Bublé spending hours listening to his collection of jazz records and falling in love with old time crooners such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and The Mills Brothers, who he credits with making him realise not only that he wanted to be a singer, but that this was the kind of music he wanted to sing.
He would soon find, however, that the idea of of a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s building a career singing the songs of Sinatra, timeless as they may be, was an extremely difficult one to sell. His first gigs at age 16 were in nightclubs, where his grandfather would offer his services as a plumber in exchange for a little stage time for his grandson, although Bublé has admitted that even members of his own family thought he'd end up as little more than "an opening act for somebody in Las Vegas”.
After winning a talent contest at 18 – only to be subsequently disqualified for being too young – he caught the eye of the competition's promoter, who would become his manager and represent him for the next seven years. During that time Bublé took every and any job that came his way – cruise ships, shopping malls, hotel lobbys – anywhere that paid. For a while he even spent the summers helping out on his dad's fishing boat, spending two or three months at a time doing what he described as “the most deadly physical work I'll ever know.”
One of these unglamourous gigs was a booking at the wedding of the daughter of former Canadian Prime Minster Brian Mulroney, who pointed him in the direction of Grammy-winning producer David Foster. Although impressed by Bublé's singing voice, he didn't see the commercial potential of an old style crooner and, as a polite way to get rid of him, agreed to produce some tracks for him in exchange for a fee of $500,000. Foster, however, had underestimated Bublé's dogged perseverance and when the singer managed to arrange a series of bank loans to fund the recording, the producer agreed to help him out.
Bublé's rise since then has been nothing short of stratospheric, combining his love of jazz standards and classics with pop-crossover originals of his own, winning an army of fans across the globe and shifting more than 30 million albums worldwide. The latest of these, love, makes its arrival in stores today.
Like many of the releases in his discography, love sees the singer deliver his own renditions of a handful of classic love songs made famous by the likes of Nat 'King' Cole, Louis Armstrong and Édith Piaf, as well as a couple of new original songs co-written with Charlie Puth.
The new album contains 11 new recordings – or 13 if you want to splash out an extra few quid on the deluxe version – including covers of 'When I Fall In Love', 'My Funny Valentine' and 'Unforgettable'.
You can find his latest single 'Love You Anymore' below. Beneath that, to celebrate the release of his new LP, we combed through Bublé's back catalogue and picked out five key tracks from his career so far...
'Haven't Met You Yet'
Not all of Michael Bublé's hits have been cover versions and of all the original compositions he's been involved with, this is probably the most famous and remains one of his biggest hits to date.
Written for his then-girlfriend Emily Blunt, 'Everything' is another Bublé original which has brought the singer chart success, released as the lead single from his third major label album Call Me Irresponsible.
'It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas'
No crooner worth his salt would be without a Christmas album in his arsenal and Bublé is no exception, releasing a 2011 album of festive favourites which featured appearances form the likes of Shania Twain and the Puppini Sisters, but this Meredith Wilson-penned classic is arguably the best of the bunch.
Made famous by legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, 'Feeling Good' has been covered by a range of artists from John Coltrane to George Michael, but Bublé puts his own stamp on this cracking version of a well-loved classic.
'I Believe In You'
Our final pick is the opening salvo from Bublé's most recent album Nobody But Me and one of the highlights on an album of original compositions from the Canadian singer – proof, if any were needed, that there's more to Bublé's talents than his singing voice alone.