Maui.

Talking Travel with Singer-Songwriter Michael Bolton

5 April 2017

He’s the king of the power ballad. A Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who has been entertaining audiences worldwide with his unique brand of mass-appeal music for more than four decades.

Selling more than 75 million records and notching up six multi-platinum albums in a row between 1987 and 1995 alone, Michael Bolton has one of the most successful careers in the music biz. And he has a cabinet full of Grammy and AMA Awards to show for it.

Now, the 63-year old hit-maker is back in the charts with a brand new album and an upcoming world tour. He talks to Flight Centre about his professional travelling life.

A portrait of singer-songwriter Michael Bolton. Michael Bolton travels all the time. Image: Timothy White

What’s your favourite holiday?

Maui in Hawaii – my kids and I used to go there every year. As beautiful as it is there, the main attraction for me was having my daughters around me at that age and just enjoying our time together. These days it’s next to impossible to get everyone to travel at the same time, so I look back on those vacations with great fondness.

What’s your carry-on essential?

Professional headphones. Even if I’m going on vacation, I’m usually in work mode. I live on a plane – I fly every couple of days – so if I’ve recorded some new material I’ll go through it all on the plane and I need to listen at a professional level to make sure that the frequencies and the like are right.

How do you beat jet lag?

Twenty years ago I was on a plane every other day, flying from New York to London or wherever – I’d check into my room, take meetings that night, have a business dinner or do interviews or tour… I remember back then it was only one night of jet lag but now it’s not the case.

While I fly regularly from LA to New York and back, which is nothing, big 10 to 14-hour flights leave me with a two-day jet lag. And unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way to beat it – it’s just the reality of time. No matter how much you stay in shape and try to combat it, jet lag is something I’ve never been able to get beyond.

Michael Bolton was thrilled to perform at the Sydney Opera House. Image: Getty

What’s your favourite city for music?

That’s not a fair question! LA, New York, London… almost anywhere in Italy. It depends on what kind of music I’m looking for and what I’m in the mood for. My shows cover RnB, rock and classical – it’s a wide selection. I love it all.

There’s chances of seeing great artists everywhere. I finally got to play the Sydney Opera House, which is such an iconic building – it looks great outside and sounds amazing inside. And there you have great concerts and orchestras. So, you can really see great live music everywhere.

 Adventure or luxury?

I’d say comfort, as travel takes its toll, particularly when I’m on a pretty gruelling touring schedule. I’ve been around the world 20 or 30 times and I’m going to want to be able to sleep well.

You won’t be 100 per cent for a show unless you recharge your body and I need to be in good shape for the audience, for dedicated fans who know your body of work word for word – they’ve sometimes even conceived their kids to my music! It’s funny but it’s true.

What’s the essential ingredient for a good trip?

Being with good friends and family – it’s always about the people you’re with. People who make you laugh and who love to laugh. It starts there. If you’re with people like that anywhere you go, you’ll enjoy the experience.

Scuba divers. Even if you're scuba diving, good travel buddies make all the difference. Image: Getty

What’s your top travel tip?

See above! Make sure that you’e surround by people you love being with. That really will determine the level of your enjoyment and quality of your experience, whether it’s hiking, scuba diving or whatever… you just need to be with quality people.

What’s your biggest packing mistake?

I do my own packing and I’ve been travelling from 1983 and from ’87 it has been non-stop around the world. I pack in a way that someone who travels constantly packs – I’m very mindful of what you can and can’t take and travel regulations. I don’t want to make life difficult for my travel, anyone I’m travelling with or security folk. I’m super-conscious of that. I’ve done stuff like leaving my phone charger behind in the past but now I’m so trained I can almost unconsciously pack everything I need while walking from room to room on the phone.

Where do you want to go next?

I’m getting ready to do some more shows in the states. I have some in Canada and then Europe. I’m travelling until May touring and then there’s a TV project for South-East Asia that finds great singers. That may start late April or May. I’ve been travelling in that region for 30 years and I love it. I’ll have off days, so I’ll be able to sightsee too, whether that be a few days in Singapore or a few in Kuala Lumpur.

Michael’s new album, Songs of Cinema, is out now.

*Featured image: Maui in Hawaii. Image: Getty\


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Paul Ewart

Originally from the UK, Paul has lived and worked in three different continents: from the heady metropolis of Dubai, to North America and - as of six years ago - Sydney, Australia, a place he now calls home. His travel career spans 13 years across various print and digital outlets. Until recently, he worked as a senior TV producer for Channel 7. Now, he's back doing what he does best: travelling.