Michael Bublé just launched the Apple Music Hits series Higher Radio to mark the release of his first studio album in three years.
In the first two episodes, airing Monday and Tuesday, Bublé shares his 24 favourite vocal performances of all time, revealing why he chose those songs and what they mean to them.
Bublé also tells listeners when he knew he was “in love” with Mariah Carey.
“The year was 1990. It was May. At that point, I was a six-year-old boy. Okay, fine, maybe I was… I could have been eight. I was probably 21. I just don’t want to tell you how old I was. And I saw a photo of Mariah Carey for the first time.
“I hadn’t heard her voice, hadn’t heard her sing. I was in love. God help me, I heard her voice come out of the radio singing ‘Vision of Love’ for the first time and I couldn’t understand how God had blessed someone with so much talent. Five octaves. Five. I think I have half an octave.
“She had incredible dexterity, control, a wonderful tone. And I thought this song was one of the greatest performances, vocal performances, that I had ever heard. Truth is, to this day, I’m a huge, huge Mariah fan. And I’m working really hard to have that second octave. What a performance. Mariah Carey, I love you.”
Another one of Bublé’s favourites is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
“The other day, I played this song for my kids. My kids are eight, five, and three, and instantly it became their favourite song; and I think, in the last week before this radio program, they have asked me 10 times a day if I could play that song, they don’t know what it’s called, nor do they understand what it’s about, but inherently, they understand that it’s one of the greatest vocal performances they’ve ever heard.
“Freddie Mercury is just an incredible artist. A complex, original, wonderful operatic ballad and it’s the reason why all of us hear it and are taken back to the first time we heard it.”
He then explains why Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” had him in tears: “Bitterness. Jealousy. Insecurity. Those are some of the words that I’d used to describe how I felt when I heard this song by Bruno Mars.
“I was insecure that I couldn’t sing it as well as he had, I was jealous that I hadn’t written it, and bitter that this dude was going to be a massive, massive star. I could have chosen ‘Leave The Door Open’. I could have chosen… He is honestly, that man is a beaut.
“I’m not afraid to say this, Bruno. I don’t know if you’re listening but I love you, man. I love you very much. You are a gifted and beautiful and talented vocalist and you blew me away with a song.
“I’m not afraid to say that I cried my eyes out a few times listening to this. Man, what a performance. Bruno you, the man, ‘When I Was Your Man’. I’ll be your man, you want me to be your man? I would do it. Easily, easily, one of the greatest, greatest vocal performances that I’ve ever heard, one of the greatest songs that I’ve ever heard.”
Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is also among his faves: “Sometimes a concept is born and it’s just executed perfectly, and this is one of those moments. I only wish that I had written it. It’s said that this song I chose was written for his love, Cherry Seaborne, who is now married to him with a daughter. And you know what? I’m friends with him. So I can tell you, it’s the truth.
“It’s one of my favourite vocal performances from one of my favourite people, from one of my favourite singers, from one of my favourite songwriters. I’m really proud to say that this is a good buddy of mine and that I really love, love this song and this vocal performance, and I think you guys do, too. I think you’ve proven it.”
In the third and final episode airing Friday, March 25, Bublé will celebrate the release of his latest album Higher by giving fans a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the project, his approach to songwriting, collaboration, and more.
The hitmaker’s top 24 vocal performances:
Mariah Carey – “Vision of Love”
Yma Sumac – “Babalú”
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Joe Cocker – “With A Little Help From My Friends”
The Beatles – “Twist and Shout”
Sam Cooke – “Bring It On Home To Me”
Elvis Presley – “It’s Now or Never”
Eminem – “Lose Yourself”
Roy Orbison + k.d. lang – “Crying”
Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man”
Phil Collins – “Against All Odds”
Stevie Wonder – “As”
Willie Nelson – “Crazy”
The Righteous Brothers – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”
Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”
Aerosmith – “What It Takes”
Donny Hathaway – “Put Your Hand In The Hand”
The Jacksons – “Can You Feel It”
Dean Martin – “You Belong To Me”
Nat King Cole – “Mona Lisa”
Nina Simone – “My Baby Just Cares For Me”
P!nk – “Just Give Me A Reason”
Dinah Washington – “What A Difference A Day Makes”
Annie Lennox – “Walking on Broken Glass”