How the pandemic made Michael Bublé a better musician and family man
“Devoted grandpa and husband, keeper of the Great American Songbook, Sex Symbol and Humble Canadian and Sex Symbol.”
This is how famous crooner Michael Buble describes himself on Instagram. At least for now, as this article is being written. The “sex symbol” must be mentioned twice.
But it shows how bubbly and charming Buble is. During a recent virtual conference with Southeast Asian music writers for his new album “Higher,” he said he was grateful to have joined TikTok.
“It’s good. I love TikTok. I signed up just for fun. It has so much to laugh at yourself,” he said, revealing that he started a contest with his wife, Luisana Lopilato, to find out who will have the most followers. “I think she’s going to kick my ass.”
There’s something about the pandemic that made Michael Buble grateful. It helped him create new songs while taking care of his family.
“The pandemic, in a weird way, has made it easier for me [do things]. People are ready to Zoom. Unlike before I had to fly to LA [Los Angeles] or take off for London,” said Buble, who calls Vancouver home. “[The pandemic] made the world smaller. I was so open to working with new people and trying different things.
The good news is that his wife of 10 years is pregnant with their fourth child, as Buble announced on Ryan Seacrest’s show last Tuesday. The couple already have three children: Noah, 8, Elias, 6, and Vida, 3.
He made the announcement just hours after the music video for the first single, “I’ll Never Not Love You”, was released internationally on February 22.
Obviously, this is a planned announcement. In the “I Will Never Love You” music video, Lopilato appears with their three children at the end. The Buble family walk out of a grocery store together and Lopilato’s baby bump is very evident.
The video is a tribute to classic romance movies as it features Buble and his wife re-enacting memorable scenes from “Titanic” (The Floating Door), “Casablanca” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, among others.
During the virtual press conference, Buble said the single was a sequel to his previous hit, “Haven’t Met You Yet,” from over a decade ago. It was also dedicated to Lopilato – an Argentine actress, singer and model – who he got engaged to in 2009, married and started a family in 2011.
When asked why he chose “I’ll Never Not Love You” as his first single, he said it was the other way around, it was like the song chose him.
“The song is [about] promise someone that if they trust you, they will give you their vulnerability. You won’t hurt them. They can be sure that they can fall in love safely. It’s scary to fall in love. Love has a great price. Especially when you really love someone, you put yourself in danger. And the song goes, ‘Risk it for me and I’ll love you forever,'” he said.
“I felt so good in my heart. And I felt so open and so happy. I feel like I need it. I feel like the world needed it, somehow. That’s why he chose me,” he added.
There were three or four choices for the first single. One is “Higher,” the next buoyant single, but Buble felt it was better for the summer.
“‘I’ll never love you’ would be really good for cold winters [season]. I want to play ‘Higher’ when the top of my car is up and I’m driving,” he added.
“Higher”, the album, is scheduled for March 25.
Noah as co-songwriter
Buble said the song “Higher” was inspired by a tune Noah sang while giving the child a bath. While in the tub together, Noah simply blurted out that he wrote a song and sang the lines, “when you go low, and I go high.”
The lyrics and melody stayed with Buble, enough to inspire him to write the song and three months later he recorded “Higher” with the help of songwriter-producer Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic.
Buble said the pandemic may have had a big impact on everyone’s life, but it has given him more time to take care of his children and his wife every day.
“We all moved on from the pandemic when it was hard to make music. Before that, I was out of…. you know… my son… and I was just taking care of my family. I don’t know if I was ready to come back. I was still in pain.
Buble was referring to the ordeal his family faced when Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2016. He was just three years old at the time. Buble took a break between touring and recording to be with him until he recovered. Then came the pandemic. Now Noah is in remission and will be nine years old in April this year.
“What I found interesting was that when the pandemic hit, it put everyone on a level playing field. For the first time, every person, from every country. I don’t care if you’re black, white, we all felt the same. We were all afraid. We were anxious.
“Our metal health has become a problem. For the first time we have to hold on to each other for hope and I think that while some of us haven’t learned anything,” he said with a chuckle, “most of us l ‘did. There is so much negativity, so many things that separate us. I was hoping to be able to play a small part in bringing people together.
Perform the works of living musical icons
Another exciting thing about the new album is his duet with his idol Willie Nelson, on the song “Crazy”, the legendary 1960s musician’s composition popularized by country singer Patsy Cline.
“When I think of Willie Nelson, I think of [Frank] Sinatra, Dean Martin and all the great performers. He [also] reminded me of Louis Armstrong. He has a distinct voice. [He’s the type of musician] you wouldn’t think of appearing on ‘American Idol’ or some kind of pop singing show,” Buble said.
“Higher” also includes Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine,” an acoustic guitar ballad he wrote for his third and current wife, Nancy Shevell. Although McCartney wrote it on the piano one rainy afternoon while he and Shevell were vacationing in Morocco, the recorded version had guitar accompaniment with entries from Johnny Depp and Eric Clapton. It was part of McCartney’s 2012 “Kisses On The Bottom” album.
Buble was ecstatic when he revealed that McCartney not only gave permission, but actually produced it for him.
“Knowing that someone I admire so much trusted me to hold their art and perform a song…. He wrote it for his wife. He told me several times. It was an honor, a privilege,” Buble said.
Another song that would make “Higher” worth the wait is the inclusion of Bob Dylan’s hit “Make You Feel My Love” from his 1997 album, “Time Out Of Mind.”
The song has been covered by Billy Joel, country singer Garth Brooks, Ed Sheeran and Adele. Over the years, there had been hundreds of cover versions, including locally, Moira dela Torre.
A song about eternal devotion from the perspective of a divine lover, some saw it almost as a religious song. It may seem hard for Buble to follow, but if you’re a fan, you can almost hear him sing and he’s sure to be another hit.
Released under Warner Records/Reprise Records, “Higher” also features Sam Cooke’s classic “Bring It On Home To Me”, among other surprises.
Buble said this album was the best thing he had ever done.
“There is so much more to this record. You will be surprised. I was ambitious. Probably too ambitious. They are all special. Not a note that has ever left my lips has ever dissipated without thinking. They are all important. These are all my babies.