A four-time Grammy award-winner, Michael Bublé was born in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, one of three children. His interest in music began at a young age, but when he was 13 that his family realised his singing talent. He got his big break when singing at a wedding, where he was introduced to music producer David Foster.
Michael Bublé’s self-titled debut album was released in 2001 and he’s gone on to sell 75 million records – and counting. Ahead of a new tour in May, Bublé writes his Letter To My Younger Self, recalling his youthful ambition and self-belief, growing up surrounded by the love and support of his family.
At 16 I was utterly in love with music. I was so ambitious in knowing exactly who and what I wanted to be. My grandfather, who was a plumber, was already sneaking me into nightclubs and bars and doing free plumbing work for club owners and musicians who let a 16-year-old kid get up on stage and sing with them. 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. It was interesting – at that age, I had a sense that I was unique. Part of what was so romantic for me was that I knew I was different, and we all want to be unique. I thought wow, this passion and this love and this voice I have, they make me unique. I was really lucky – I had such a wonderful supportive family, they loved me enough to take me to all the auditions and get me singing lessons and take me to the clubs. There’s nothing better than living on potential at 16 years old. And that’s what I was doing.
I think when I heard music, I believed I heard the voice of God. I knew that music and creating was just a massive part of my being and my makeup. And I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I didn’t go in that direction. That direction could have been in a million other ways – movie acting, journalism. I got very close to going into journalism. People interest me, their stories interest me, and telling stories interests me as a creator. So many times I thought well, if this doesn’t work out for me, I’ll go to the other side of the microphone, and I’ll talk to people I admire. I think I have charisma and I’m a good storyteller, I really enjoy that world. So if I can’t be the one who’s being interviewed, I’ll be the one who does the interviews.
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. He would sit with me and play me songs – like, this is the song that I first danced with grandma to. We would sit in the kitchen every day when I came home from school. And isn’t that funny – 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 where my grandma would make us food. Then I would sit at the table and 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, and he’d say, OK, I want you to sing this one. Then I want you to sing this one. 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.’ Then he would test me – he’d say you don’t know There Must Be a Way. You couldn’t, because I only gave that to you today. And I would go (sings) ‘There must be a way to help me forget that we’re through.’ And then we would sit and bullshit about hockey and our Vancouver Canucks and… we were just kindred spirits. I don’t know what to say.
My grandmother was later diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s. But 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. She would sing the songs with me. (Sings) ‘I want some red roses for a blue lady.’ And that was my life. I was so lucky because I had that close relationship with my grandparents. We were together every day. And now I’ve recreated that with my own family. Because we have such a tight-knit connection with my mum and dad and my wife’s mum and dad and the kids – as a matter of fact, I bought the house next door so they could live next to us because I love having them around so much. That meant so much to me growing up, it formed who I was. So I wanted that for my kids.