Michael Bublé reveals how Covid lockdowns have been a struggle for his bubbly personality

'I can say what I want with the Irish ... I just get to be me'
Eddie Rowley

At the end of this interview over Zoom, Michael Bublé stands up to reveal what he’s wearing below the waist.

The Canadian superstar singer with a comic turn knows how to get a laugh. “One of the best parts (of Zoom) is that I’m in a beautiful suit, and look what’s happening here,” he says, standing up to reveal the rest of his attire.

Yep, Bublé has no trousers on, but sports a pair of green boxer shorts. “You’re lucky I’m even wearing pants today,” he jokes.

Having a healthy sense of humour has got the popular entertainer through the challenge of being locked down over the last couple of years.

Canadian crooner Michael and his wife Luisana on the red carpet

Canadian crooner Michael and his wife Luisana on the red carpet

Bublé is a people person. He loves the interaction, and he admits that it’s frustrating not being able to do his interviews in person to promote the release of a new deluxe edition of his classic Christmas album on its 10th anniversary.

“We live in a Zoom world these days,” Michael sighs. “Graham Norton is not the same thing on a Zoom call, it isn’t …and that for me was something that I missed. I really missed showing up in countries doing talk shows, sitting on the couch with the audience and getting to really have that tangible connection.

“I love that part. I love showing up and playing games and being silly, so that’s what I definitely missed.”

Like Garth Brooks and Bruce Springsteen, Bublé has won the hearts and souls of Irish people. When his Christmas album first came out in 2011, he had the honour of turning on the festive lights in Dublin’s Grafton Street. “That was big for me,” he says.

The performer who came from a humble fishing family in Canada then opens up to reveal how he feels at home when he’s in the company of Irish people.

I’ve met and chatted with him in person several times through the years, and unlike many international celebrities he’s not the least guarded in what he says or does. This, Michael tells me, is because he feels comfortable among us.

Before our Sunday World Magazine+ interview, Bublé had been shooting the breeze on Zoom with Dermot & Dave from Today FM radio.

“I did my first interview with a couple of guys on Irish radio,” Michael tells me. “I just said to Susan (his personal assistant), ‘Is there anybody f**king better?’ She said, ‘Honey, that’s why I started with the Irish.’

“What a beautiful thing to be able to be yourself, to be raw and not have to think about having to censor yourself. I just get to be me (in Irish interviews), and I am me, and we just love each other and I don’t have to pretend that I’m something that I’m not.”

Michael Bublé with his wife Luisana Lopilato

Michael Bublé with his wife Luisana Lopilato

Ireland, as we know, is a village and through the years Bublé has become one of the guys in the village. “You don’t know how happy it makes me feel,” Michael says.

He’s been coming here for years, having taken advice from former American chat show host Jay Leno about building a fan base.

“When I was 24 or 25 I used to open for Jay Leno. I asked him, ‘Jay, do you have any advice?’ He said to me, ‘Go to their back yards. If you take the time to come to their back yards, they’ll always feel that they own you,’ and he added, ‘and they should. It’s not the same thing asking them to come to your country, you go to theirs.’ And it’s really been one of the joys of my life showing up and getting to feel like I actually understand the culture. I know the people, I know the local TV star and the radio people. I feel like I get to be part of it, and an honorary citizen, kind of.”

Inevitably, the talk turns to the dreaded pandemic and how he has coped as an entertainer and family man. Lockdown has been the making or breaking of relationships and marriages over the last two years – and for Bublé it’s been the former.

Early this year he celebrated the 10th anniversary of his marriage to actress Luisana Lopilato, who is originally from Argentina. The happy couple have three children.

“My wife can’t stand me, but she hasn’t left yet,” Michael jokes. “I have many friends, actually, that broke up.”

The entertainer reveals that he’s also had personal experience of people losing their lives as a result of contracting Covid-19.

“I had a girlfriend who lost, in the span of a couple of weeks, her mother and her brother and her mom’s sister. They had all been at a wedding…and so very early on I took the seriousness of it.

“I think I tried to mentally prepare myself (for lockdown), and I realised that ‘oh my God, now I just get to be with my kids. I get to be a dad, I get to do home schooling and hang out every day’, so I think I didn’t miss it as much because I was just so involved in life with the family.

“We brought my mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother-in-law in from Argentina, and we all lived together.

“It’s funny to say this, and I never want to belittle war, but it felt like we were at war. So I just thought, ‘we have to respect our enemy at this point, we have to hunker down and we have to try to help each other get through this.’”

Bublé also concentrated on getting fit to fight off the virus if he was unlucky to contract it. “When it started, I got scared like everyone and I thought, ‘I keep hearing the correlation between being healthy and fit and the results from getting Covid.’ So for the first time in my life I started to work out every day.”

Luisiana put a structure on their day so that they had a schedule, and it included daily Facebook Live broadcasts from their home “doing stupid stuff.”

“We were setting it up in our kids’ bedrooms,” he says. “We were playing stupid games together. Every day we’d show up and it was nice to have the sense of that calendar where ‘every day we’re going to do this.’

Michael Bublé has released a deluxe 10th-anniversary edition of his classic Christmas album.

Michael Bublé has released a deluxe 10th-anniversary edition of his classic Christmas album.

“It was my wife, who is far more organised than me, who said to me, ‘Listen bud, you need a routine or you’re just going to end up drinking beer by yourself.’ So she said, ‘Let’s have a routine…10 o’clock we do the gym, 12 o’clock we do the Facebook thing, two o’clock we make sure that the home schooling is done.’

“So we had that structure because I’m like a child, I need that kind of a structure or I end up getting lost very quickly.

“I was also aware that I’m lucky. I’m not one of those people who have to worry about paying the rent and having money for food and stuff. I spent my time advocating for people who haven’t been so fortunate.

“Through this whole thing, especially in the world of celebrity, I feel there have been so many out of touch people who seem to have a serious lack of self-awareness and are sitting in their mansions telling people how hard it is. So I just tried to stay very aware.”

Being locked down also gave Bublé the opportunity to write new songs that we’ll hear in the future. “It actually inspired me and I ended up making greater music than I ever made before,” he says. “I ended up feeling like I was more productive. I was really happy and fulfilled with my family and that helped me to be able to write and to create.

“As an artist it was great. As a person, just like everyone else, I was scared. I’m still scared and I’m anxious.”

  • ·A super deluxe limited edition box set of Michael Bublé album, Christmas, is now available and includes the original CD and a green vinyl edition, plus a 7-track bonus CD that includes a duet with Rod Stewart on Winter Wonderland, and 48-page hardbound book

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