Ask Michael Bublé about his proudest moment in showbiz, and he won’t mention his 2007 Grammy nomination or his multiplatinum album sales. Instead, the suave singer will gleefully recall watching his girlfriend Emily Blunt win a Golden Globe on Jan. 15 for her turn as a sullen teen in the BBC-TV movie Gideon’s Daughter. “It was the greatest night of my career,” says Bublé of Blunt, best known for playing a catty assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. “She was so humble, and I was so emotional. I kept shaking her, saying, ‘Don’t you know what’s just happened?’ [Usually] I really have an issue with enjoying the moment, and for the first time I understood how it felt to allow yourself to be so happy and pumped.”
Blunt knows just how he feels. “I get tears in my eyes when I see him onstage. It’s overwhelming,” says the actress, 24, who began dating the singer after stopping backstage to say hello at one of his concerts in 2005. “And then we get home, and he’s back to his regular spazzy self.” But it’s his jazzy persona—his smooth delivery often draws comparisons with Frank Sinatra—that’s on display on his latest album, Call Me Irresponsible, which drops on May 1. Along with his romantic originals, Bublé, 31, continues to rework classics like “That’s Life” and pop hits like Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” redone as a Portuguese jazz ballad.
As a kid in Burnaby, B.C., raised by mom Amber, 51, a homemaker, and dad Lewis, 52, a fisherman, Bublé seemed more eager to become the next Michael Jackson. “I was a huge fan of his,” says Bublé. “Pop had a huge influence on me, so it was important to take [jazz standards and pop] and create a hybrid.” He spent 10 years honing that sound at clubs and corporate gigs, seemingly to no avail. “I was like a sprinter with a parachute on his back, running as hard as I could,” he says. “But people didn’t show up to see me—they showed up to get drunk.” Finally, in 2000, producer David Foster discovered him singing at the wedding of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney’s daughter (Bublé is a Mulroney family friend). Says Foster, who has produced almost all of Bublé’s albums: “Michael was so good, it was like the first time I saw Celine Dion.”
There are no five-year Vegas stints in Bublé’s future so far. He’s happy to nest full-time with Blunt in Vancouver, where they watch hockey games and tool around town together on his trusty plum-colored Vespa. “I’d much rather go to a movie, eat some sushi and have some wine than go to the ‘Party of the Year,'” says Bublé. “Honestly, I wish [awards shows] could bring the camera to my house instead.” There, the lens would catch him helping out with chores (“He changes the light bulbs,” says Blunt, “and I make him take the bins out because they really stink”) and notching yet another Scrabble victory (“He always wins with a three-letter word,” says Blunt. “It kills me!”). “He is very content and in love,” says Bublé’s sister Crystal, 25. Especially when he watches The Devil Wears Prada on DVD. Says Bublé: “Every time I see her onscreen, I fall in love with her all over again.”