Michael Bolton belts out his hits with a few holiday favorites thrown in for good measure
Grammy Award winner Michael Bolton, who has been churning out hit songs for years, has embraced a new generation of fans that know him for his comedy work online.
His “Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day” Netflix variety special earlier this year and a “Jack Sparrow” comedy short that has garnered 175 million views on YouTube helped add a fan base that loves his funny side.
He promises them more comedy in the New Year.
“Humor has always been a big part of who I am. I like to say that I've never really grown up. Laughing keeps you young, so sharing this side of me with fans of my music or new fans of my comedy is great fun,” says the 64-year-old singer and songwriter.
The last time Bolton was in Western Pennsylvania in 2013, he performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. At his Dec. 5 concert at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, his own band of musicians will be backing him up.
“I love having a symphony orchestra on stage with me; it's an honor and delight,” he says. “But the ‘Greatest Hits' shows are big productions with a lot of pop, rock and R&B influence, so there are certain band members that deliver that sound. I travel the world with the same team, which is super important to keep the high level of consistent performance that my audiences have come to expect.”
Bolton says most of his songs carry deep meaning in some way.
Among his favorites are “Steel Bars,” a song he wrote with Bob Dylan; “Said I Loved You But I Lied,” written with Robert John Lange; “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which earned him a Grammy, “Georgia” with Ray Charles, and his rendition of “Dock of the Bay,” the Otis Redding classic that Bolton says Redding's widow, Zelma, gave her blessing on.
“But I suppose that ‘How Am I Supposed to Live Without You' is really important,” he says, “in that it was the first song I wrote for another artist (Laura Branigan in 1983), which became a No. 1 and then when I recorded it, it became a No. 1 again and ultimately earned me another Grammy for best pop male vocal.”
Bolton had a busy travel schedule this year that included a tour of Asia as part of his “Bolt of Talent” music competition TV show that took place in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Taipei.
His 2018 tours include concerts in the U.S., Great Britain, South America and possibly Australia.
He says there are no plans for slowing down in his immediate future.
“I'm not even close to retirement,” he says. “When you're working for a living, then I think you get to a point where you think of retirement, where you think, ‘OK, I'm going to do this until I wind down at this point of my life.' When you're looking at art, do you ever see a painter tell you that he's going to stop painting at 60 or at a certain age? Is a poet going to stop writing poetry?”
Bolton has sold 65 million records worldwide and has produced 17 albums. His latest album, released in 2017, is “Songs of Cinema,” featuring his renditions of favorite movie tunes, including “Heard It through the Grapevine” from “The Big Chill” and “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”
He also has received humanitarian awards for his foundation, Michael Bolton Charities, which assists women and children at risk of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.