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Michael Buble: Caught in the Act banner
Michael Buble sings with Laura Pausini
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By Jaan Uhelszki

The cover of Michael Bublé's self-titled debut album is a portrait of the artist gazing off into the distance, looking handsome and solemn. Although it recalls a famous early photograph of Elvis Presley, Bublé's references more often echo an earlier phenomenon -- Frank Sinatra -- whose musical and social perimeters continue to be retraced by new generations.

But according to Bublé, he never set out to be the next "Chairman of the Board"; instead, he wore out his Bobby Darin records and a copy of Van Morrison's ASTRAL WEEKS, developing a love for solid songwriting, idiosyncratic phrasing, and the panache of the artists who came before him. When the young crooner began singing professionally, he -- like a growing number of new and established musicians such as Diana Krall, Peter Cincotti, Rod Stewart, and Carly Simon -- looked to the past for inspiration, defying the odds to achieve success playing standards from the postwar swing era to the peak of the Rat Pack's hegemony. He revisits those old tunes with a wisdom and grace that belies his 30 years.

Born in 1975, the son of a fisherman, Bublé was encouraged by his grandfather to listen to the records of Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and other interpreters of the classic era of pre-rock American songwriting. Though the British Columbia native cocked an ear to what his schoolmates were into, his heart was truly with the older music, so much so that he was even conversant with half-forgotten catalogues, like that of Al Martino. Bublé's reasons for perpetuating this genre are straightforward, as he explains in the concert: "Jazz and standards are the greatest gift America ever gave to the arts."

With his well-tailored suits and self-effacing sense of humor, Bublé has a wholesome appeal. One observer has described him as a "gentleman," another as "a decent young man." He's modestly scoffed at comparisons with Harry Connick, Jr., though it would seem only a matter of time before he, too, conquers film and television. He has already made a few inroads with bit parts in DUETS, TOTALLY BLONDE, and DOWN WITH LOVE, as well as a guest spot on the daytime soap DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

Top banner photos: Michael Bublé

Guitarist Randy Napoleon

Guitarist Randy Napoleon

The horn section of Buble's touring band.

The horn section of Michael Bublé's touring band.

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