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Michael Bublé thought he knew what love was. After all, he’s sold more than 60 million albums worldwide singing about the subject. But it turns out he had a lot to learn.
The week that his last album, 2016’s Nobody But Me was released, Bublé and his family went through an emotional journey that informed and changed his life.. He was understandably unsure how or if music was going to remain part of his life. “What the experience did was give me a real perspective.. It completely changed my outlook on what mattered and what was important to me.”
But the desire to express himself creatively slowly came back into focus when Bublé invited his band mates over to his house, not with the intention of making music, but simply to enjoy each other’s company and drink, eat pizza and play video games.
“Once we got bored with that, we started jamming and there was this wonderful click, this moment where I went, ‘Oh, yeah! I forgot how much I loved this’,” Bublé recalls. “I think I just needed a little helpful reminder.” The concept for the new album (pronounced Love) flowed. “Then, the only question was not ‘Am I going back to work.’ It was ‘Can I do it on my terms? Can I do the songs I love with the people I love the way that I love and do it with pure joy and bliss?’ And once I knew that was possible, it was a go.”
Bublé’s vision entailed looking at love in all its facets, both sacred and profane. “This would be my group of short stories that would be my theory of love,” he says. “The good, the bad, the light, the dark, and I think that took a lot of pressure off of [Bublé’s co-producers] David Foster and Jochem van der Saag and me. There was just great ease of having done our homework and knowing what the record was.”
His mission became clearer as he picked the songs — or as he says, “I know it sounds so artsy-fartsy, but I think the songs chose me. It’s strange how the universe will just drop things into your lap.”
Bublé anchors Love with songs from The Great American Songbook, often reinventing timeless classics with dazzling new arrangements. His haunting interpretation of “My Funny Valentine” is as menacing as it is melodic. Bublé and Cécile McLorin Salvant turn “La Vie En Rose” into a poetic bi-lingual duet, while Bublé and Loren Allred put a new twist on Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night.” Charlie Puth contributes backing vocals on “Love You Anymore,” which the hitmaker co-wrote with frequent Bublé collaborator Johan Carlsson. The emotional centerpiece of the album is “Forever Love,” a tune co-written by Bublé about his favorite role, being a dad, and the vulnerability and strength that comes with unconditional love.
Love stands as a testament to the power of music and its healing power—in this case, not just for the listener, but for Bublé too. “The truth is I needed to make this album,” he says. “The truth is it was really therapeutic for me. I felt so comfortable. I mean, these songs, this genre, is the essence of me. It's where I live, it's where I've grown up... It fits me perfectly. It's so natural.”
His return to the studio came with a purity of purpose and an even stronger sense of connection with his fans, whose unyielding outpouring of support lifted him and his family through the darkest times. “Going through what my family went through also gave me faith in people and humanity,” he says. “I just felt really blessed in a lot of different ways— obviously with the outcome with my boy and I also felt like I had been blessed with this wonderful opportunity in my life to do something that I love that could maybe have the positive impact out in the world that the world had on us.”
Making Love brought Bublé a sense of joy that, in hindsight, he realized he’d been missing on recent projects. "I never felt so free [since] I started my career when I was never worried about the results because I was so overjoyed and grateful that I could be doing it at that capacity. I just might have forgotten that joy. I don't know if I remembered well enough the real reason of why I loved it. I wish that I didn't need something so harsh to teach me such a lesson, but it is what it is.”
And now, as Love goes out into the world, Bublé hopes the music reaches those who might need to hear it the most and provide comfort to those in distress. “There are people that are gonna hear these songs and they're gonna be inspired to fall in love and there are people who are gonna hear these songs and they're gonna be hurting,” he says. “They're gonna be, in many ways going through tough stuff. And if one of these songs lifts them out of that, if it can carry them to another day, I think then I'm doing my job and I think I'm being responsible for the gifts I've been given.”