By Andrea Burzynski
NEW YORK (Reuters) - With a son on the way and a new album with more original songs than ever, Michael Buble is venturing into uncharted territory without letting go of his personal or artistic roots.
"To Be Loved," the 37-year-old Canadian singer's follow-up to his 2011 "Christmas" album, mixes standards inspired by jazz, Motown and even the Bee Gees, with tracks written by Buble as well as collaborations with Bryan Adams and Reese Witherspoon.
"I wanted everything to be soulful," Buble told Reuters.
The album grabbed the top spot on the U.K. Billboard chart the week of its April 15 release there, and is poised to take the top U.S. spot after debuting stateside this week.
Buble said that he was inspired to write more of his own songs such as the single "It's a Beautiful Day" after receiving a positive response to previous originals like "Haven't Met You Yet" and "Home."
Still, he remains committed to the classics that first made him famous.
"I love writing songs, but the truth is I love doing thoughtful, great covers too," he said. "It'll never get to a point where I have a record that comes out of all originals."
"To Be Loved" has received mostly positive reviews especially for the classic tracks, though a few critics found the album uneven. Buble said that his most important reviews come from his fans.
"The truth is that the greatest review I can get is somebody putting their hard-earned money into the hand of a cashier and investing in me to buy the CD," he said.
By that measure, he is doing quite well: Buble has sold 45 million albums over the course of his career, and is set to play 10 sold-out shows at London's 02 Arena beginning on June 30.
He will be back from touring in time for the birth of his first child, a son due on August 21. Buble said that he and wife, Argentine actress and singer Luisana Lopilato, agree that family will always come before career.
He has already cut back on his time away from home in anticipation of his son's arrival.
"My wife is a really successful actress, and I don't think it's fair for me to be the one who's always working," he said. "She loves working, it feeds her soul, and when she's working she's happy."
Buble, who comes from a family of fishermen in British Columbia, Canada, says he wants his son to grow up with the same values that marked his early years.
"I think we take great comfort in knowing that we have families that are so down to earth and real, great blue-collar families, that just being around that will be enough to keep that kid centered," he said.
On his new album, Buble sings a song called "I Got It Easy," which he wrote about his current life.
"I want him to grow up knowing that it doesn't come easy, that you have to work for things you really want," he said.
(Additional reporting by Alicia Powell, editing by Jill Serjeant and Xavier Briand)