Michael Bublé believes great music and humour are a perfect pair

Michael Bublé believes great music and humour are a perfect pair

The king of croon might sound suave and sophisticated on his recordings, but get him on stage and he suddenly transforms into a lovable goofball, writes Melanie Leung

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Calm, cool and collected. crooner Michael Bublé will crack you up.
Calm, cool and collected. crooner Michael Bublé will crack you up.
Photo: Warwick Saint

Michael Bublé may be a happily married, proud father, but on stage he's still the mischievous romancer who ruthlessly pokes fun at his band, the audience - and himself. Looking sleek in a tux and bowtie at the Asia-World Expo on Wednesday, he boasted of buying "a real Prada bag" for just HK$100 at the Ladies Market from "stupid vendors".

In stark contrast to his classy crooning, Bublé is hyperactive on stage, grabbing a fan's phone and recording himself. He's talkative, blunt and endearing at the same time, and even as you crack up at his jokes you wonder if he's getting himself into trouble.

But Bublé's an old hand at being funny. The 39-year-old Canadian spent 10 years playing in restaurants and bars where people cared more about their food than his singing, and he'd use humour to catch their attention.

A son to a salmon fisherman, Bublé wanted to be a singer since he was two years old. Raised in a Catholic family, he slept with a Bible and prayed every night that he'd fulfil his dream.

His grandfather introduced him to jazz music and paid for his vocal lessons, and he began singing in nightclubs when he was 16. He released his self-titled debut album in 2003, at the age of 28, with songs including Fever, which he used to open his concert in Hong Kong. The album reached number eight in Canada and number one in Australia, and won him the Juno award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy) for Best New Artist.

Now with four Grammys and six albums under his belt, Bublé hasn't forgotten how tough it was to succeed. Several years ago, a woman approached him during a concert and told him her 15-year-old son loved to sing. Bublé decided to give him a chance. "You know what, come up here for a moment, because I remember being your age," he said. The crowd was stunned by Sam Hollyman's deep voice, and in his excitement Bublé lifted him up and made him sing an impromptu duet of Feeling Good with him. "I got another four years before Sam wins The X Factor and drives my career to the pavement," Bublé later joked.

 

He shouldn't worry. His velvety crooning has earned him comparisons to jazz icon Frank Sinatra, but Bublé still wants to prove that he is more. "I want to sing songs from all different genres. I want to take changes and keep growing," he told SCMP's 48 Hours. "My musicians and I are pretty confident in our musical abilities and we go for it."

From classics such as Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness and the BeeGees' How Can You Mend a Broken Heart to the more recent Get Lucky by Daft Punk, Bublé pulls them all off with flair. He even did a Motown medley with Naturally 7, his talented a cappella opening act.

But, Bublé always brings it back to the humour.

Introducing one song as a "family standard" and the song to which his grandparents had their first dance on their wedding night, the audience hushed as Bublé doubled over, seemingly with emotion - then burst into Backstreet Boys' Everybody.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bublé's bubbling banter

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