Only one person on this planet can make me want to sing Christmas carols in the springtime, and that is Michael Bublé. For the past few years, this crooner has become as synonymous with the yuletide season as Santa himself, and PPLA was thrilled to spend a recent holiday-themed evening with Michael at the Wadsworth Theatre.
We all know Bublé as our generation’s incarnation of Frank Sinatra, and as it turns out, this is not just a persona. Bublé in person is just as magnetic as Frank must have been: a captivating performer, minus the ego and mafia intrigue. In conversation, he’s down-to-earth, funny, and so gracious.
Although Bublé just released a new album, To Be Loved (of which he provided copies to the entire audience), the evening’s discussion was dedicated to his successful Christmas specials: Michael Bublé: Home for the Holidays. Hosted by Extra’s Terri Seymour, the chat began with a panel featuring Bublé, along with Bruce Allen (his manager and executive producer of the specials), Paul Telegdy (NBC’s President of Late Night, Specials, and Alternative Programming), Brad Lachman (Executive Producer of the specials), and Bill Bracken (Producer). The audience was given a glimpse of last year’s special, filmed in Bublé’s hometown of Vancouver, and then Michael and company let us in on the behind-the-scenes antics featuring guests Rod Stewart, Blake Shelton, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Elmo. Apparently, all the celebrities were clamoring to get photo opportunities with Elmo. The special has been so popular that there is already a third one in the works for Christmas 2013.
Oh yes, and he sang, too. Though he claimed that he wasn’t wasn’t warmed up (and even at one point asked the band, “What are we doing next?”) Bublé gave us a lovely preview of three songs from the new album: “Who’s Lovin’ You,” “To Love Somebody,” and “Young at Heart.” Before singing “Young at Heart,” he told a moving story about his grandfather and how much this song meant to him, which put a new spin on the old standard.
With his tendency to remake standards and his innocuous and ever-likable personality, it’s easy to think of Bublé as just a puppet with a nice voice, but after hearing how much passion and creative control he takes in all his endeavors, it is obvious that he is a true artist. In his Christmas special and on his albums, he insists on singing live with a 38-Piece orchestra because, he said, “there’s one right way, and that was the right way. The enemy of good is great.”
It was interesting to hear Michael talk about being “pitchy” and about the magic that happens when he sings along with the orchestra as opposed to wearing headphones and laying down vocals over prerecorded tracks. “I think those imperfections are what make music so fabulous sometimes, and sometimes it isn’t the notes; it’s the space between them.”
To Be Loved features modern takes on some great classics, as well as wonderful new tracks (check out “Beautiful Day”), and is now available everywhere.
Check out our full photo gallery from the red carpet here.