Thursday, August 12, 2010
He may have ditched his iconic Rapunzel locks, but Michael Bolton has certainly not lost his momentum.
At 57, the soft-rock heartthrob is defying his age with rigorous touring, an updated sound and an idealistic worldview.
Bolton will swing through Carmel’s Sunset Center next Wednesday as part of the North American leg of his “One World One Love” tour that kicks off on Aug. 13 and continues through the U.S. and Europe until late March 2011.
“There’ll be 110 shows that we’ll have done in 2010,” Bolton says. “That’s a pretty demanding schedule.”
Bolton released his first studio album in five years, One World One Love, last September, turning over a younger leaf with collaborators including hip-hop artist Ne-Yo and pop pinnacle Lady Gaga.
Gaga and Bolton met before the former’s career began skyrocketing; Gaga – a Bolton fan – had expressed interest in collaboration, and although Bolton hadn’t heard of her at the time, he was duly impressed when they met.
“I was looking at a young, new, about-to-be-released artist who could really sing and loved what she was doing,” he says. “You never know with new records whether artists are created in a studio in a laboratory environment where we have so many tools… I was hearing Gaga singing to me with a great voice, perfectly in tune right in front of me.”
Gaga co-wrote and performs with Bolton on “Murder My Heart,” a track from his new album.
While decades in show business can turn bright eyes into cynical hearts, Bolton’s approach to global suffering remains relatively pure.
“I think it’s a reality that the more division you experience and the more people focus on what divides us, the worse things get,” he says. “Every time someone starts talking about a common ground, your sense of hope rises.”
He says his latest music is committed to bringing audiences “this uplifting feeling in the midst of turmoil and a world that is very unsettling, to put it mildly.”
And while his career has stretched a generation, he remains young in the hearts of a key demographic: the ladies.
Bolton guesses that the female-male ratio of his show attendees is “60-40 or 70-30, because there are a lot of couples in the audience.”
“Several years ago… we started noticing younger female attendance at the shows,” he says.
But, he adds, no matter what changes over the years, he promises to revisit the biggest hits in his concerts and looks forward to the freshness of a live concert.
“That’s the thing about a live performance that is spontaneous energy, although the song’s already been written and it’s been produced in a certain way,” he says. “It’s coming to life right that moment, at that very moment in front of the audience.”