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Thursday, October 15, 2009
In The Spotlight This Week: Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé was born in the city of Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada to Lewis Bublé, a salmon fisherman, and his wife Amber Bublé. He is the only son and eldest of 3 children with two younger sisters, Crystal (an actress) and Brandee. For his education, he attended Seaforth Elementary School and Cariboo Hill Secondary School. The first time that his family noticed his singing talent was at Christmas time when Michael was 13 years old and they heard him singing "White Christmas."

His first singing engagements were in nightclubs at the age of 16 and were facilitated by his Italian grandfather, who was a plumber coming from the county of Preganziol, about 40 kilometres from Padua, Italy, offering plumbing services in exchange for stage time for his grandson. His Italian grandfather also paid for his singing lessons. One of his vocal instructors was Joseph Shore, the opera baritone. His paternal grandfather never stopped believing that he would become a star. Michael's grandmother was also Italian from Abruzzo, Italy.

At the age of 18, Bublé entered a local talent contest and was informed by organizer Bev Delich that he had won, but was disqualified because he was underage. From there, Delich entered Bublé into the Canadian Youth Talent Search which he won. Following the win, Michael asked Delich to be his manager. Delich signed on and represented Bublé for the next seven, not-so-fruitful, years. According to Delich, Bublé would do every gig imaginable; including talent shows, conventions, cruise ships, malls, hotel lounges, bars, clubs, corporate gigs, theatres, music revues, and even the occasional singing Santa Claus gig.

In 1996, Michael appeared in TV's "Death Game" (aka Mortal Challenge) as a Drome Groupie. Also in 1996, Michael appeared (uncredited) in 2 episodes of The X-Files as a Submarine Sailor.

Michael's first national TV performance was on a 1997 award-winning Bravo! documentary titled Big Band Boom! which was directed by Mark Glover Masterson. Bublé received two Genie Award-nominations in 2000 for two songs he wrote for the film Here's to Life (I've Never Been in Love Before, Dumb ol' Heart). He recorded three independent albums (First Dance, 1996; Babalu, 2001; Dream, 2002). But by 25 years of age Bublé had moved from British Columbia to Toronto, Ontario and was ready to give up the dream of professional musicianship to move back to Vancouver, British Columbia to pursue a career in journalism when his lucky break came in 2000.

In 2000, Bublé's career breakthrough came from a surprising chain of events. Michael McSweeney saw Bublé's performance at a business party and received a copy of Bublé’s self-financed independent album from Michael. McSweeney, an aide to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, showed the album to Mulroney and his wife. Subsequently, Bublé was invited to sing at the wedding of Mulroney's daughter Caroline, where he sang Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife". At the wedding, Bublé was introduced to David Foster, a multi-Grammy Award winning producer and record executive who had worked previously with artists such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand, Kenny G., Cher, Josh Groban, and Andrea Bocelli.

Initially, Foster was reluctant to sign Bublé to his 143 Records label because he “didn’t know how to market this kind of music.” Bublé moved to Los Angeles for a brief period, with his agent, to convince Foster to sign him. Eventually, Foster agreed to produce an album for him if he raised $500,000 to cover the costs of the production, which Michael did. Foster ended up covering the costs of production in the end under his 143 Records label, with no assurances of support from Warner Brothers, and after Bublé received the personal stamp of approval and support of Foster's friend Paul Anka. Bruce Allen (manager of artists like Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, and Martina McBride) who Bublé had been trying to get to manage him for years, also signed Michael after David Foster agreed to produce Michael’s debut album.

Michael did some acting in this period; in 2000, as a karaoke singer in Duets opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis, and in 2001, as Van Martin (a club owner), in Totally Blonde.

His latest album Crazy Love debuted at #1 this week on the Billboard 200.

Kris Allen, Ray Charles

View: Everything Michael Bublé

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