Michael Bolton opens his Love Songs Greatest Hits UK tour tomorrow following his longest stint off the road in years due to the pandemic.
After taking six hours to pack his suitcases, The How Can We Be Lovers? hitmaker is bringing his self-deprecating sense of humour along with a back catalogue that has sold more than 65million albums and singles worldwide.
Michael says: “When people tell me they selected my music for their wedding, one of the first things that pops into my head is, ‘I hope you’re still together’.
“It’s cool – borderline too much responsibility. I remember the first time it was suggested to me, ‘Do you realise how many children have been conceived to your music?’”
Starting out in the hard rock and heavy metal scene as frontman of the band Blackjack, it took until the late 80s before Michael’s switch to pop-rock power ballads sent his career stratospheric.
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? and his cover of Percy Sledge’s When A Man Loves A Women cemented his position as a force to be reckoned with, then two Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame followed.
The 68-year-old has written for Cher, duetted with Lady Gaga and Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley, and has been sampled by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
He’s keen to get back in the studio with Gaga following the positive reaction to their duet Murder My Heart, which featured on his 2009 album One World One Love.
Michael says: “We have talked about potential work in the future.
“It’s something that I certainly would like to do.
“It just has to make sense for both of us. Her work ethic is insane – it’s off the charts. Gaga is on the top of the world and getting very deep into film and her acting career.
“I have enormous respect for her as an artist and love her as a person.
“You reminded me there was something I wanted to run by her.
“It needs to be kept secret…”
While his arm can’t be twisted to reveal further, Michael tells me how immensely proud he is of how comedy trio The Lonely Island brought him to a new audience.
He featured on their 2011 spoof track Jack Sparrow, which saw him belt out a power ballad about Johnny Depp’s Pirates Of The Caribbean character.
The hilarious accompanying video, where Michael dresses up as Sparrow, fellow movie characters Tony Montana from Scarface, Forrest Gump and Erin Brockovich, has had more than 220million YouTube views and led to Justin Bieber branding Bolton “a beast”.
Dad-of-three Michael says: “It was a changing, fun part of the evolution of my career because people think that I’m very serious.
“I am about my work but I’m also the class clown who would get in trouble at school and have to be sent to the principal’s office and my father would have to come in.
“Finding what’s funny about things is something I’ve loved to do since I can remember.
“Whatever I could do to make people laugh or feel better is at the top of the list.”
“My daughter was sitting in front of her computer watching all of the comments coming in.
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“She looked up at me and said, ‘You’re not going to believe what’s going on – they love it’.
“She’s the one who told me about Justin’s comment.”
While intrigued by Abba’s planned Voyage experience, in which avatars of the Swedish four-piece will perform in a custom-built venue in London, Michael has no plans to hang up his microphone in person any time soon.
He says: “I’ve thought about it and been told about the hologram experience.
“I want to keep performing while my voice is showing up to the extent that it is with the power and high notes.
“I want shows to sound like the records but feel fresh and live.
“I feel nervousness, like this is my first tour – and it’s not by any means.
“It took me 20 years to have a career then I toured non-stop, recording, producing, promoting around the world.
“The next thing I know there’s not one show allowed to happen.
“It’s been rough on a lot of people, and an entire industry that supports hundreds of thousands of people as well as reaches the millions of people who love to go see live music.”
Michael’s Love Songs Greatest Hits UK tour, with support from Rebecca Ferguson, opens tonight in Harrogate and closes at London’s Royal Albert Hall on October 25. Tickets are available at gigsandtours.com and VIP packages at sjm-vip.com
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