There’s no business like snow business for Michael Buble, writes James Wigney
Christmas album fills crooner with spirit.
MICHAEL Buble admits it was a little odd to be making a Christmas album in July, with the sun beating down in the Los Angeles summer.
The Canadian crooner ( pictured) is more accustomed to the chestnuts- roasting- onan- open- fire kind of festive season at home with family in frigid Vancouver.
Not that the sentimental old softie was too fussed – if he had his way, he’d have Christmas every day of the year.
‘‘ You know what, I love Christmas so much that I could sing these songs and talk about it all day, every day,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s my favourite time of year.’’
Christmas was – and is – a big deal in Buble’s household. He still gets a little choked up talking about family gatherings he remembers from his childhood.
These days, Christmas is a rather different beast but no less celebrated.
The 36- year- old married Argentine actor and model Luisana Lopilato in Buenos Aires in March.
‘‘ My whole band are my best friends, so they all came and . . . we had a blast,’’ Buble says of the wedding bash.
Buble now gathers his new extended family around him to celebrate Christmas, kicking off on December 24, when Argentines traditionally celebrate, and rolling into the next day.
‘‘ My wife’s whole family comes to stay with me and we all spend Christmas together at my house in Vancouver,’’ Buble says.
‘‘ It was the cutest freaking thing last year because I brought them up to a mountain near my house and for the first time her mother and father and sister and brother saw snow. My 56- year- old father- in- law turned into an 11- year- old.’’
What some call the silly season also helped put Buble on the course to becoming the global superstar he is today. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas album ranks among the most influential of Buble’s life.
‘‘ I was just a kid, five or six years old, and it was my introduction to jazz and the dulcet tones of his vocals and that style,’’ he says. ‘‘ I love those songs.’’
Such albums are, let’s face it, a pretty mixed Santa sack, more often stocking fillers than Christmas crackers. But such is Buble’s enthusiasm that he considers his new album, simply titled Christmas – which features Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and White Christmas – to be his most important to date.
Buble has, in fact, already had a stab – with the 2004 Christmas EP Let It Snow – that he would still rather forget.
He says he was pressured into making it in a hurry at a time when he had no power and it left a bitter taste in his mouth.
‘‘ It’s not my Christmas record but I really didn’t have any power at the start – but in time you become the 900- pound gorilla.’’
Such is Buble’s clout now that when his record company wanted him to take a similar approach for Christmas, he had his answer ready.
He insisted on assembling an entire orchestra – with strings, horns, harps and percussion – in the studio and recording the entire album live.
‘‘ We did about five takes and took the best one and really captured a great energy and the essence of what it is to play these songs live,’’ Buble says.
‘‘ There were a lot of people in the room and we were all excited and in the Christmas spirit, even though it was July.’’
Buble has also included a duet with Mexican superstar Thalia on the album, ensuring his Spanish language skills get a workout.
Despite taking lessons so he can speak to his new wife and in- laws in their native tongue, he rates his Espanol as ‘‘ mierda’’.
‘‘ It’s such an emotional heart language and English is not, it’s very cold,’’ he says. ‘‘ We have ‘ I love you’. They have seven different ways to say that. And they speak really quickly too.’’
Australian fans will be disappointed to learn that Buble can’t see himself coming back to what has always been one of his best markets any time soon.
Right now he’s focusing on enjoying married life and starting a family.
‘‘ Me and Lu are really hoping to be pregnant by next Christmas,’’ he says.
‘‘ It would be really great and nice.’’