Byline: JEFF MAGILL
MICHAEL Buble is a man in demand.
When we called the 28-year-old crooner from Vancouver for a chat last week, he was stuck in a Canadian hotel room doing backto-back interviews.
After promoting his debut album, simply entitled Michael Buble (pronounced booblay) for the best part of a year, the new king of smooth is about to embark on a world tour which will see him take in America and Australia before heading to Britain, where he will play Belfast's Waterfront Hall on May 18.
His album has sold well over one million copies worldwide (UK sales are largely thanks to the television and radio support from Michael Parkinson) and tickets for the tour are selling faster than the proverbial hot cakes.
Not bad for a swing singer who was virtually unknown just over a year ago.
But if you think Michael is just another Robbie Williams, trying his hand at swing to win a few fans, think again.
Michael has lived and breathed this music since his childhood and, such is his talent, he can take well-loved popular pop tunes and make them sound completely his own. He is the Sinatra for the new Millennium.
As well as singing the odd classic on his album, like Come Fly With me, Michael also takes tracks such as Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Van Morrison's Moondance, George Michael's Kissing A Fool and Stevie Wonder's For Once In My Life, and makes them sound like they were all written especially for him with that golden era in mind.
But before we get too carried away with the word swing, Michael, albeit charmingly, corrects us.
"I don't think of it as swing," he says. "Swing, to me, is just a groove of music. The people that I idolised were the pop singers of their day, like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, they were just singing a different type of music. But on my album, there are hardly any of those old tracks. I just like good songs," he says.
But while Michael has a slight aversion to using the 's' word, he has no objections about being labelled as a crooner.
"I'm definitely a crooner. I like to pronounce the lyrics and I sing with sincerity and passion. But Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam is a crooner and Sting is a crooner. It's not about the style of music," he says.
Michael attributes the success of his debut album to this sincerity, as well as the fact that he has worked hard and covered some good songs.
"Artists come and go but good songs never die. Also, I have a sincerity and joy for what I'm doing. I put everything into it and, with the …