Michael Bublé: The Lucky Fisherman


Here’s the inspirational story of how Michael Bublé made it. It’s so easy to see someone or something that’s a huge success and say, “It was always bound to happen. It was fate,” but I don’t believe in fate. Fate is something people use to make sense of bad luck, or excuse their laziness. I believe in hard work, focus and determination. And, as you’ll read, I’m not the only one.

Michael Bublé has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Adored by the critics (mostly) and public alike, he is considered by many to be the world’s number one entertainer. It’s easy to join in the praise, but it’s a miracle Michael Bublé ever made it. Where it not for a series of fortunate events and his determination, chances are he’d be a fisherman like his dad. So how does someone get from a nobody to major star within a few short years?

If you believe in destiny you would say there was never any doubt that Michael Bublé would be a professional singer. He told Oprah Winfrey he had dreamed of becoming a singer since he was two years old. After working summers alongside his dad’s commercial fishing crew he finally had his first professional singing engagement, aged 16. Were the bookers stunned by his natural talent? Were they clamouring to sign him up on the spot? Nope. He only got the work because his grandfather offered his plumbing services in exchange for young Michael to be given a chance. He persevered, won a talent competition and spent the next seven years schlepping around at every gig he could find: shopping malls, lounges, cruise ships (imagine!), corporate events, weddings and my personal favourite, a singing Santa Claus. Bless him.

Things started to get interesting when he shared a television spot with Diana Krall but by the time he was 25 the dream was fading. Ready to quit and pursue a career in journalism, Bublé’s luck started to change.

An aide to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney showed Bublé’s self-financed album to his boss. He liked it and hired Bublé to sing at their daughter’s wedding. Any performer knows to give their best on every gig, even a run of the mill wedding, because you never know who is in the room. As it happened, that night, multi-Grammy Award winning producer and record executive David Foster was in the room. If you don’t know Foster, you will know some of the people he has worked with: Madonna, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand and Andrea Bocelli. Foster liked Bublé but was reluctant to sign him because he, “didn’t know how to market this kind of music.”

Undeterred, Bublé seized the initiative. He moved to Los Angeles with his agent purely to convince Foster to sign him. Eventually there came good news and bad news: yes, Foster would produce an album, but Bublé had to find $500,000 to pay for it. The money was found (in the end Foster covered the bill) and after the nod of approval from Paul Anka, Bublé found a new manager and was on his way.

Of course, Bublé has an incredible talent. So do lots of people. Talent alone wasn’t enough to make him a star. From an early age he knew exactly what he wanted to do, he worked hard and seized the opportunity when it came. He couldn’t have predicted meeting David Foster, but by taking every gig that came along, self-producing an album, and making friends wherever he went, he increased his chances of something happening. I don’t believe Bublé was motivated by fame or money. He found his passion as a singer and in the end the fame and money were the icing on the cake.

Was it just luck? I don’t thing so. Luck plays a big part, but as golfer Gary Player used to say, “The more I practise, the luckier I get.”

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