Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Changing his tune

Michael Bublé finds balance between fatherhood and fame tipping toward role as family man

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Michael Bublé has every reason to be riding high right now.

He's in the midst of a mammoth, arena-packing world tour that began with a 10-show run at the O2 Arena in London last June and brings him to the MTS Centre on Thursday night; when the tour wraps in December, he'll have crooned in 30 countries. His eighth studio album, 2013's To Be Loved, was a double-platinum smash in Canada and netted him his fourth Grammy Award.

But, if you ask Bublé, 38, none of those career peaks could ever come close to touching a life-changing moment that happened last summer: the birth of his son, Noah, with his wife, Argentine model and actress Luisana Lopilato. As the Burnaby, B.C., native chatted with reporters on a recent conference call from Vancouver, nine-month-old Noah was busy giving himself a pasta-sauce facial. (The world seems just as taken with little Noah as his dad is; he was even the subject of his own Huffington Post listicle -- 9 Reasons Michael Bublé's Son Is the Cutest.)

"My wife has huge plans," Bublé said with a laugh when asked about Noah's upcoming first birthday in August. "I keep saying, 'But babe, he's one year old, he'll never remember.'"

Bublé says fatherhood has changed him -- and his approach to his career.

"Being a father has really made everything a lot more simple for me," he says. "I believe because of where my priorities lay, my career has become easier for me. I'm not stressing out about it. It's important to me. I care very deeply about it. But it's not the No. 1 priority. It takes the pressure off. It allows me to be more free."

Bublé knows how fortunate he is to be able to have his family on the road. While Lopilato is also in-demand and has a busy career of her own -- "she'd be like the Jennifer Aniston of her country" -- the pair have been able to schedule it so that they are able to be together as much as possible, allowing Bublé to be present in his young son's life. Bublé says having his family on the road keeps him focused.

"As I've come into my mid-30s, I understand what it takes to be a good touring act -- and what it takes is discipline," he said. "You have to be an athlete up there. Don't get me wrong; I love going out for a pop with the boys. I'm still a Burnaby party boy. But there's not much room for it out there.

"Having my wife and kid out there helps me do my job better because they keep me focused," he added. (His post-show routine now consists of renting a movie back at the hotel room and chilling with his family.)

He's certainly bringing his A game on the To Be Loved tour, which puts less of an emphasis on Michael Bublé, the charismatic persona, and more of a focus on Michael Bublé, the crooner.

"I think what people will appreciate about this tour is the balance," he said. "Last time, I felt I was light on songs. It was more talk-heavy. Which was a matter of confidence -- and maybe laziness, too.

"It should seem like you only hung out with me for half an hour, as opposed to two."

While he's played some of the biggest rooms in the world -- including New York City's Madison Square Garden, where his 2009 live album/DVD was recorded -- he admits he feels butterflies about playing arenas in his home country.

"It's different -- it's completely different," he said. "It doesn't matter how far I go or how big it gets, you'll always be my peers. I wouldn't be honest if I said I wasn't nervous. It always means that much more."

With his first Father's Day in the books -- spent at Confederation Park in Burnaby -- Bublé was asked about his own father, salmon fisherman Lewis Bublé, and what qualities he hopes to pass down to Noah.

"Hopefully warmth. I hope humility. I don't think I'm as humble as my dad but I hope Noah would be. My dad always appreciated people. He never took away people's dignity. I don't think he ever told someone to go do something, even though he could have. He always asked.

"He's a beautiful guy. I hope I can be soft like that with my kid."

 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2014 C1

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