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Beef Of The Week #426: Michael Buble v Retirement

By | Published on Friday 19 October 2018

Michael Buble

You’ve probably heard by now that Michael Buble has quit the music industry. Sure, it was a weird thing to announce so early in the process of promoting a comeback album. Still, you can’t argue with fairly clear-cut quotes published in a national newspaper.

Oh wait, no, apparently you can. Because that’s exactly what Buble’s people – and now Buble himself – have been doing this week. Buble, in fact, being the sort of zeitgeist-riding artist he is, has gone so far as to dub the retirement story “fake news”.

Responding to the newspaper article, his rep insisted that things Buble had said describing his feelings when his son Noah was diagnosed with cancer two years ago had been misrepresented by suggesting he also felt that way now. Meanwhile, speaking to the Associated Press, Buble himself said: “I’ll keep going until the news of my death comes out, which will probably be fake too”.

He added that he’d first heard that he’d retired for show business when concerned friends began sending him text messages asking if it was true. He says he replied telling them that they should “consider the source”.

Right then, yes, the source. That source would be the Daily Mail. So fair enough, I guess. Except that, even though a Mail journalist was involved, it’s still a little confusing as to exactly what happened here.

The singer’s publicist said, after quotes from that interview had been condensed and mangled by hundreds of other publications, that his various comments all related to feelings that he’d had in the past.

It’s true, a great deal of the interview is given over to his feelings of dissatisfaction about his career at the point Noah received his diagnosis. But taking time off during his son’s treatment gave him space and time to re-evaluate things, the article then explained.

“I’d told my manager I wanted to take a ten-year sabbatical, so I could hang out and be bad”, he said, recalling the time after his son went into recovery. “But I missed the guys in my band. So … I said to them, ‘Come over to the house, let’s drink, order pizza, play video games and jam’. They came over, we partied and we said, ‘Let’s play some music’. I thought, ‘Wow! This is fun'”.

Having rediscovered his passion for performance, he was able to enjoy himself again, make an album that he was happy with, and get some perspective on the elements of the business that had been causing him anxiety in the past.

After all that, it was a bit weird when later in this conversation with the Mail’s journalist Buble apparently said: “This is my last interview. I’m retiring from the business. I’ve made the perfect record and now I can leave at the very top”.

The article itself concludes by noting that this is quite an unusual and unlikely thing for him to have said, placing doubt on whether Buble actually meant it. Which was also a bit weird. I mean, it would be odd for the Mail to remark on how odd Buble’s retirement statement was if the newspaper had invented it with a view to sensationalising an already quite meaty interview.

Anyway, Buble has now denied that he ever said he was retiring. He also referred to the Daily Mail as “negative energy”, showing at least that the paper’s reputation is far-reaching. In addition to this, he repeated something that came up in the now disputed interview – that he struggles with many of the less enjoyable elements of fame. “I’m not strong enough to deal with it, so I don’t deal with it”, he told the AP.

He then added that he’d rather not know what the media are writing about him anyway, saying: “By the way, those friends that wrote me, I said to them, ‘Thank you so much for caring about my well-being. Do me a favour, don’t share [the article] with me. Send me pictures of your kids and tell me how you’re doing, because I much rather know about that'”.

So, I think the moral of this story is that you probably shouldn’t trust anything you ever read about Michael Buble or any quote or statement attributed to him. You should assume at all times that all possibilities are a reality and no one thing is certain. Right now he is both retired and working. He may or may not have a new album coming out. And he may or may not want you to ask him about it.