In 1999, I first met Michael Buble when I was shooting a promo campaign for my studio. Krista, my assistant at the time recommended this “local kid with an amazing velvety, young Frankie voice” from a cd she heard from her grandfather’s friend, Mitch Santaga [Mike’s grandpa]. We contacted his manager, Beverly Delich, and set up the shoot. With minimal budget plus working with an “independent artist”, we had to be clever to pull off a sophisticated shoot with this young classic artist. My neighbor, Franco Nigro of Quorum Fashion, came to the rescue by offering to outfit Michael with this amazing 2 piece. Michael had been playing the role as Elvis on a production called “Red Rock Diner” at the time [in case you’re wondering about the hair]. In a future post, I’ll explain why there is an “H” on the cigar ring that he’s holding. We did this shoot on Granville Street and the gold reflector gave us that “this hurts but I’m looking HOT” attitude as the city transit buzzed by behind him. Michael and I hit it off famously as friends that day and this shot turned out to be the best candidate of the cover for his 2nd independent album “Babalu”.
Prior to this album coming out, we shot lots of stuff. Beverly and Mike had me shoot on such low budgets, it started to get a bit annoying as far as the business part was concerned, but we were already such good friends by this time that the money became the least of my concern, in all honesty. Michael had me so impressed with his talent and his ability to get out there and belt it out and dazzle crowds, regardless of how tired or even sick he would get at times. He performed 6 days a week for Red Rock Diner[twice on Saturdays] and still played at the clubs on Sundays and Monday Nights. -where does one fit REST in there? I know he feeds off his crowd. Once he gets them going, that’s it, “what cough? what flu?” And he got that crowd at Babalu screaming every time. How could I not be impressed, and be anything but proud as a friend. Plus, he promised that “WHEN I get big John….” [i think he’s the only guy that got away with calling me John. -errr!]