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Hotstar


12:00 AM Monday, 4/12/04 |   |

Strangely enough, Michael Buble's rise to stardom is kind of quiet and unpretentious. The crooner's debut album has gone platinum in dozens of countries and reaching that status in the U.S. He's been featured on MSNBC, and a television entertainment show said he's going to be one of the big names of 2004.

Meanwhile, the Canadian's recent trek along the West Coast sold out almost as soon as it went on sale. His music was featured in the movie "Down With Love." And man, do the ladies dig him.

But then again, who's Michael Buble? Although he is by every means a rising star, it seems his true arrival is still on the way. He's got record sales, he's got drawing power at the box office but, as an old song said, the best is yet to come.

Buble is styled after the crooners of yesteryear. Whether it's a Bee Gees tune, Van Morrison's "Moondance," or Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me," the 28-year-old singer finds a way to revive songs as old-fashioned, swinging, big band numbers. He pulled that trick for years at clubs, cruise ships and corporate events.

"I had run out of money and run out of options, and the light at the end of the tunnel had just gone away," Buble told Pollstar. "I busted my ass for nine years and, at some point, you think to yourself, 'I tried hard [and] potential is a lovely thing but you can't feed your family on it.'

"I called [original manager Beverly Delich] almost in tears and said, 'Bevy, we tried so hard for so long, both of us,' and she said, 'Sweetheart, give me one more year. I promise you, one more year. This will be your year.'"

Right after that conversation, he took a "bad corporate gig" in Toronto so he could earn enough money to fly back to his home in Vancouver. While he was there, Buble gave the last copy of his indie record to a guy in the audience.

"He was really sweet, and I handed him the CD and kind of said, 'If you like it, take it home and listen to it with your wife and kids. If you don't, it'll make a great coaster for your desk.' The next day he called me and said, 'I'm the right-hand man to the honorable Brian Mulroney and he's a fan.'"

The former prime minister of Canada liked Buble so much he hired him to sing at his daughter's wedding. The audience included the man who would produce his debut album

record producer David Foster, who helped Celine Dion and Whitney Houston get their starts.

Foster then introduced Buble to current manager Bruce Allen.

"Bruce is a very famous man in my country, especially British Colombia. Growing up, I used to listen to his radio show and think he was a jerk. I would think, 'My God, I can't believe he just said that. What a jackass.'

"[Delich] had gone to Bruce Allen a few times in the years that I struggled, and he was the only manager who actually gave her time. ... So, here's what happened: I got down to Los Angeles, I made the record, things started to buzz, and [Delich and I] knew we were in way above our heads.

"I talked to many managers of great artists. I can't name names, but one of the first questions most of them asked me was, 'Well, when do we get rid of this Beverly?'"

When he told them that she had been loyal throughout the lean years and he would stand by her side, the talks always ended right away. Then he had a meeting with Allen at a restaurant called the Shark Club in Vancouver. Allen was watching a football game because he had some money riding on it. Allen turned to him and said:

"'So, what do you want to do with the broad?'"

Again, Buble expressed his loyalty and said he would not turn his back on her.

"He looked at me and he got a big smile on his face and said, 'I'm sure fucking glad you said that because you barely know me and I'd hate to see what you'd do to me.' I looked back at him and said, 'Bruce, where do I sign?'"

Delich still handles Buble's day-to-day needs.

Next up was agency. Allen took Buble and Delich to Los Angeles and the three of them shopped the majors.

"We walked into William Morris and my music was playing, and I thought, 'This is surreal, man.' Then we got upstairs to this big, oval office with a big boardroom table. There were 12 people sitting at the table and I sat down at the head of the table, and the music stopped.

Each one of them stood up to detail their jobs and where their energy would be put.

"I think at that point, Bruce and I and Beverly looked at each other and went, 'Holy shit.'"

By the way, Buble and Delich are business partners. They just landed office space for their own booking agency, giving musicians the same shot Buble got. When he was in Australia recently, he saw a jazz singer at the hotel where he was staying, playing to three people and "probably making 40 bucks." But she was good.

According to Buble, she was 10 times as good as he is. The crooner asked her to open for him at the next show and is planning to book her, along with a young opera singer from Montreal.

"I can go on and on. There are so many people I've seen that are quite amazing."


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