The Great Canadian Road Trip: Song #39/250: Feeling Good by Michael Buble

Michael Bublé is one of the most unique and interesting artists I have yet profiled. He is a singer who has sold over seventy-five million albums worldwide yet has never had a hit song. He is listed as the third most successful Canadian artist of all time behind Celine Dion and Shania Twain, yet he is most known for covering the classic songs of American singers from half a century ago. His most popular album was a collection of Christmas standards. He only ever got into singing when he ran out of chances to develop into a national hockey league player. He actually paid to have his first album released all by himself. On and on the stories go. Michael Bublé has been betting on himself and going against conventional wisdom his whole life. In the end, it has brought him nothing but success. Here is the story of Michael Bublé.

Michael B. as a young man who harboured dreams of a career in the NHL

Michael Bublé was born in Burnaby, British Columbia. He grew up with a love for hockey and was a big fan of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. At the time, they had a Czech-born player on their team named Juri Bubla who became Bublé’s favourite player to follow and emulate. As a teenager, Bublé’s dream of becoming a professional hockey player came to an end as his enthusiasm for the game outstripped his skill level. For most of his late teenage years, he worked on his father’s fishing boat. The experience of being out at sea for months at a time was physically demanding. He was a boy among men during these outings. But the fact that he was able to hold his own in such a setting and play a productive part filled Bublé with a form of confidence that allowed him to eventually succeed in music. While on land during these same teenage years, Bublé started to attract attention at family events and other local gatherings in his community because of his singing ability. His maternal grandfather believed that his grandson had a gift and paid for music lessons himself. Sometimes, his grandfather, who was a plumber by trade, would offer his professional services in exchange for studio time for his grandson. It was during this time that the musical foundation upon which Michael Bublé would build his career truly began.

Michael Bible making a guest spot on CTV’s Vicki Gabereau Show in Vancouver.

Once Michael Bublé began to gain some experience on stage at talent shows and the like, he decided that a career in the entertainment industry might just be the ticket for him. Once he made that decision, Bublé showed an uncanny ability to market himself, making a series of fortuitous connections with influential people who helped him launch his career. In the beginning, his first break came when he won a local talent show and was disqualified for being underage. Normally this wouldn’t qualify as being a good break, but in Bublé’s case, the organizer of the show believed that he had the talent to be the winner and only disqualified him on the age technicality. That talent show organizer ended up becoming Bublé’s first manager. Bublé offered to work anywhere and everywhere and, as a result, sang on cruise ships, at local clubs, in shopping malls, at business conventions…basically anywhere that there was a microphone and an audience. One of the places he managed to get an invitation to perform was on the Vicki Gabereau talk show on CTV that was filmed in Vancouver. Bublé became a fill-in guest. That meant that he remained at her disposal on an on-call basis, filling in whenever a scheduled guest had to cancel at the last minute. This exposure allowed him to polish his skills as an entertainer and as a live interview guest. From his work with Vicki Gabereau, he scored a job singing at the wedding of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s daughter. It was because of the success he had singing classic tunes such as “Mack the Knife” at the wedding of Caroline Mulroney that Bublé was seen by producer extraordinaire David Foster. This changed everything for Michael Bublé.

David Foster and Michael Buble.

At the time that Michael Bublé met David Foster, Bublé was essentially nothing more than a wedding or lounge singer. He had one album to his credit at this point. But that album was paid for by Bublé on his own dime and was not the result of any record company investing in his potential. On the other hand, David Foster was one of the top music producers in the world, having had success with Celine Dion and many other big name acts. Bublé approached Foster and asked him if he thought he was talented enough that Foster might act as producer for his next album. Foster was lukewarm in his reaction. Eventually, he agreed to produce Bublé, but only if he could raise half of the production budget on his own. In this way, Foster was testing Bublé’s level of commitment and drive. Michael Bublé was not to be denied. He managed to raise over half a million dollars on his own. When he came back to David Foster, cash in hand, Foster agreed to give Bublé a try. This collaboration resulted in an album simply called Michael Bublé, which instantly went multiple times platinum and helped make Michael Bublé a star on the rise in Canada and around the world.

While Michael Bublé has had some success with songs that he has written, such as “Home”, “Haven’t Met You Yet” and “It’s a Beautiful Day”, it is his work singing the classic songs of the American Songbook that has brought him lasting fame. Ever since he was a teenage boy singing at family functions in Burnaby, B.C., Michael Bublé has been at his best when employing a singing style similar to those used by crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Perry Como and Mel Tormé. Because of his skill at turning back the hands of time for an entire generation of listeners who loved The Rat Pack era music, Michael Bublé’s albums often feature songs that are mostly cover versions of these classic hits. For this reason, he has been able to have a career with album sales cresting over the 75 million mark without having to do so by releasing hit singles of original work. It is an amazing accomplishment in many ways and makes him unique among all performers that I have ever profiled on this blog.

Of the many classic tunes that Bublé has covered, his rendition of “Feeling Good” is the one that has been most enthusiastically received by critics and fans. This song was written in the 1960s for a musical entitled The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. The song became popular when it was first covered by singer Nina Simone in 1965. However, it really gained momentum for her in the 1990s when it was used in a car commercial and came to the attention of an entirely new generation of listeners. A decade later, Michael Bublé covered “Feeling Good” for his fourth album called It’s Time. That album was Bublé’s second with David Foster and the first to reach on the album charts. “Feeling Good” was the lead track. It is a song about confidence and has come to symbolize Bublé’s vision for himself and his career.

A professional photo of Michael with his grandfather.

It is not by fluke that Michael Bublé has become as successful as he has. He has a beautiful singing voice that is perfectly suited for the niche market of crooning the classics. He has an engaging personality and a winning smile that allow him to effortlessly charm audiences wherever he goes. One of his most important attributes is his work ethic. You don’t get to climb the ladder of success without drive and determination. Bublé’s willingness to pay his dues in all manner of events and locations during the early days of his career allowed others to come to trust him to always show up ready to give his best performance. Finally, perhaps the most important thing that Michael Bublé has going for him is his belief in himself and the backing and support he has from his family. It is hard to go wrong when you head out into the world armed with the courage of your convictions and the love of those who care about you the most. All in all, it is a recipe for success. Here’s hoping that Michael Bublé continues to enjoy a most amazing career. For now, let’s listen to one of the songs that really started him off. Here is his cover of the classic Nina Simone song “Feeling Good” Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for Michael Bublé can be found here.

The link to the official website for the town of Burnaby, British Columbia can be found here.

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