We’re hiring! Join Us.

Latest Stories

View More →

Beverly Delich on Michael Bublé, Talent, and the Music Industry

by Photo of Jas Pybas

Beverly Delich talks managing Michael Buble, the music industry, and offers bit of advice for musicians.

Beverly Delich on Michael Bublé, Talent, and the Music Industry

In this article…

Beverly Delich is semi-retired back home in Vancouver, Canada. In her spare time, she coaches artists seeking vocal and presentation advice. Before this relatively calm life, she was the former manager of Michael Bublé. For ten years she managed him, initially discovering him at a talent contest in Vancouver. He was 18-years-old at the time.

“I was conducting talent searches throughout the city of Vancouver for various clubs, and I had this one talent contest this one night which he entered. And he won. He was outstanding. And then I noticed on his application -- I had overlooked it -- that he was underage.” Delich stifled laughter, coffee cup in hand. “So, I had to go over to Michael and I said, ‘Look, I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is that you won the contest. Bad news is that I have to disqualify you because you’re not even supposed to be in here'... He was so disappointed.”

Bublé is now 38 and the holder of four Grammys.

Delich, recognizing ever-present talent when she saw it, provided Bublé with another contest opportunity. Her job at the time was booking community entertainment at the Pacific National Exhibition where a talent show was being held, this time within his age range. Bublé attended the contest, and won.

"It was an auditorium of like 2,000 people and everybody stood. He was so good," reminisced Delich.

In conjunction with what was probably a cash prize, winners were awarded a trip to Memphis, Tennessee. Delich went with Bublé, and on the plane back to Vancouver Michael turned to her and proposed an offer:

"Would you be my manager?"

"Michael," she said, "let's just see how this goes."

She finally agreed to officially become Bublé's manager during a party in celebration of his independent CD release, where 500 people attended. Real potential was evident at this point. But Ms. Delich had no prior experience in management, much less the music industry. Her moment's decision to manage him resulted in a ten-year relationship with Bublé, who now frequently refers to her as his "safety net".

Michael Bublé and Beverly Delich sitting together in the back of a car in 2002.

The most arduous chore was convincing recording labels to sign Bublé, most of which felt he was talented but expressed uncertainty as to what they could do with him. He was a "Frank Sinatra soundalike" and it was the early 2000s. His talent was there, but they weren't sure if the audience was. 

Bublé followed a musical review he was a part of to Toronto where an organizer at an event he performed at asked if he could present his CD to Brian Mulroney, the Canadian Prime Minister at the time. His daughter was getting married. David Foster, renowned for producing for artists like Prince, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, was an attendee at the wedding.

"He [Mulroney] went over to David who was a good friend of his and said 'You gotta do something with this kid.' Even David Foster said, 'What will we do? I don’t know what to do with him' and he [Mulroney] said, 'Oh, come on.' So David, to this day, if he sees talent he thinks he might be able to work with in the future, he brings them to perform at events that he does for charity to see how the audience reacts. He brought Michael on several wonderful, wonderful affairs in Los Angeles."

Delich, after much time had passed, called Foster inquiring for future plans with Bublé. He said he would produce his CD if they could somehow raise $450,000.

Finding an investor was nearly impossible; no one could believe the hefty price tag for the CD production. Paul Anka, a friend of Foster, was able to get Bublé a contract. They scrapped it after Foster warned them that record companies wouldn't touch him because of how tied down he would be, and ended up recording the CD in his own studio. Production cost ended up being $700,000. Later, Warner Bros. signed Michael.   

Now retired from the music industry and familiar with its antics, Delich iterated how grateful she is to have worked with those who practiced ethical behavior. In the entertainment business, loyalty is not as common as betrayal.

"There's management companies who let the artists go and they never get any remuneration for the time they were with them. There's artists that leave the managers, and managers that leave the artists. They might have owed the manager for the time they spent and gave them nothing... There's people that will do anything for money." 

A successful artist should be a lot of things, but Beverly maintained that genuine talent is the most important characteristic of them all. However, having talent is only part of the formula. Being able to recognize and have confidence in your own natural abilities is as equally paramount as possessing them.

"Your mom and dad can tell you that you're talented and all your relatives can say, 'Oh my God, you're so talented. You need to be out there'... When people used to call me for vocal coaching and stuff like that, I would talk to them on the phone to find out if I wanted to work with them. I would say to them, 'Do you have a good voice?' and they would either say to me, 'Well, uh, yeah, I think so,' or they would say, 'Yes, I do. I do have a good voice and I want you to hear it.' That in itself told me."

Everything from aesthetic appearance to personality to stage presence can be constructed and improved, but future prospects in music are grim for those who lack an authentic gift.

"It takes somebody like K.D. Lang... She was all over the stage. But you know what, that woman can sing. She has one of the most amazing voices. She sang first. Remember. She sang first... Look at the people like Norah Jones. When she first came out she was so shy. But everywhere you went, in a department store -- anywhere -- you heard her song. Anything can work if you have the talent."

Times have changed in the industry from ten years ago. Beverly asserts the importance of finding someone who can create some autonomy between the music and the business. 

"[Find] someone to help you in some way so that you don't have to go around knocking on the doors. You need to be working on your music. And if you can't find somebody to help you, whether it's an agency or someone like how I was with Michael, then it needs to be somebody who believes in you."

There is plentiful opportunity to be virtually independent. Artists can produce their own music and book their own shows, largely due to social media and technological advancements. Many are opting out of agency and signing into labels to pursue independency. But there are certain valuable commodities that are not easily replaceable with production software or Facebook. A person who can ease the load of logistical responsibilities and serve as an emotional crutch helps recenter a musician's focus on the most important thing -- the music itself.

Beverly Delich has recently published her book Come Fly With Me, going in-depth about her relationship with Bublé and their journey breaking into a tough music industry. You can purchase it here.

Want great tickets but hate paying fees? Check CHARGED.fm to find tickets for less and NO FEES!

Comments (0)
  1. Add a Comment

    All fields marked with * are required.

Continue (x)

Please Login…

To continue, please login into your CHARGED.fm account.

Don't have an account?
for free.

Hold on a sec…

Login (x)

Hold on a sec…

Sign Up (x)

Hold on a sec…

Share with Friends (x)

Share on other sites

Share this event on your favourite sites and other online communities.

Note: These links will open in a new window

Contact Host (x)
Contact The Host

* All fields are required.