Michael Bublé: 'I started to realise that no one lives forever'
The hyperactive crooner has slowed down. Edel Coffey meets a grown-up and reflective Michael Bublé Hopefully, my music will be played around the house at Christmas for some people and be part of that special holiday tradition
When we meet today, he's a bit more subdued, less concerned about making you laugh and making you like him. He still makes you laugh, however, and is, of course, still very likeable – that unexpected mix of honesty and uncensored wit that we're so unused to witnessing in celebrities is particularly winning.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Bublé – who plays five nights at The O2 next July – has been working at full tilt since his teens. But in the past few years, he was forced to stop and take stock.
"I had been very hungry to build this career, very hungry, starving, famished to have what I have – to make it," he says. "I put my head down and, like a racing horse, I had blinders on and I ran as hard and as fast as I could and all of a sudden you realise that it's been 20 years and you're in warp.
"You look around you and your friends have all had children and they're seven and eight years old and you look at your sisters and they're very happy and content in their lives..."
He's always shared his financial success with his family but at one point realised that while he was on his "220th tour date, tired and burnt out," they were in Hawaii for the seventh time that year. "You start to go, wait a second, now . . ."
The other thing that made him stop was losing an uncle to whom he was very close. "I think I've become very aware of my mortality. I had never lost anyone really that I was close to and last year my uncle, who I'm really close to, my grandpa's little brother, he passed away and that was hard on our family.
"I'd never felt that before. I'd never lost somebody. Then my grandpa had a large health scare and the thought of not being able to talk to him or see him was very heavy for me. I started to realise that no one lives forever.
"I remember talking to my mother, she called and I was in the studio and I said, 'I'm bored' and she said, 'honey, don't complain about being bored because when life is boring it's at its best'.
"As I hit 37, I realised, gosh, I'm almost 40, I'm most likely close to halfway through this beautiful journey and let's appreciate it."
What got us on to talking about this at on a bright, cold Saturday lunchtime in Dublin was Bublé's new Christmas album. "It's not a new album," he corrects me. "It's four new songs. I have no intent to rip people off."
Bublé believes his legacy will be in the Christmas arena if anywhere, in the same way that Bing Crosby's legacy ended up being so tied up with the festive season.
"I love the holiday. Hopefully, I'll be played around the house at Christmas for some people and be part of that special holiday tradition."
It seems a little morbid to be thinking about his legacy, especially as he is still so young.
"I'm not worried about a legacy because when I'm gone I'm gone but I do love this holiday so much and that Bing Crosby record was so special to me that if I get to have an impact on someone like that years from now it's an amazing feeling ... that or the cave drawings that I've done."
And there's the Bublé wit, like a rapier jabbed, withdrawn and re-sheathed before you've noticed it.
Does he believe that when you're gone you're gone? "No, I believe there's something, I believe we're all energy and I believe in God.
"It's weird because faith is believing in something when all the common sense and logistics in the world tell you that it's not possible but I hope it's not the end, I really do.
"I'm a very spiritual person, I believe in God. I don't know that I believe in religion."
Since marrying his wife, the 25-year-old Argentinian actress Luisana Lopilato in 2011 (she appears in the video for his song, 'Haven't Met You Yet'), he has more balance in his life. "If I'm not there for my family enough I feel very guilty, but if I'm not there for my career enough I feel very guilty about it, too. I feel like I worked very hard for it."
He says his wife is passionate about his career because she's been in showbusiness herself since she was six years old. "We're very similar. She's a career-driven girl. She's one of the most famous actresses in Argentina and now it's starting to happen for her in other countries – with- out my help.
"She's very proud. She doesn't want my help. Sometimes it's even more difficult for me because I don't have a wife saying 'Stop, concentrate on me, I need you, I'm the priority' – she's not needy in that way."
He has said before that his business is 'brutal' on relationships and he says now there are a few things he does differently that help. One is having changed his touring schedule.
"It used to be a month and a half on, then two weeks or a week and a half off. Now, I do three weeks on, two weeks off, three weeks on, two weeks off."
The other thing is Skype. "There's a big difference between getting to a hotel and calling someone on a payphone for two minutes and getting on the internet and looking at each other and watching a movie together and falling asleep together and waking up together, even though it's not together you feel like you're together.
"With my family it's the same. I bought my grandpa the Mac and we Skype every couple of days. He still can't use the damn thing, he screams into it and I have to tell him I can't see him, but he and my grandma feel that that connects us."
Tickets for Michael Bublé's O2 shows (July 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20) are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ie. Michael Bublé's Christmas deluxe special edition is out now on Warner