“Ave Maria.” I was able to perform it live with Placido Domingo—a great honor, and one the highlights of my career.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of legends. Who’s your dream duet that you haven’t performed with yet?
Celine Dion and Rihanna are at the top of my list.
From your Saturday Night Light short portraying Captain Jack Sparrow to your recent Office Space skit, it seems like you have no problem poking a little fun at your reputation. Why did you say yes to those opportunities?
I’ve always been the class clown. My friends and family have known that for years. The Captain Jack Sparrow digital video now has over 140 million views on YouTube, and has led to more opportunities to play in the comedic space. I’m embracing them. I’m a huge fan of Mike Judge, and we joked about how many Office Space DVDs I’ve signed over the years at concerts. I’d love to do something with him as “the real” Michael Bolton. Recently, I’ve been collaborating with Ricky Blitt, and we just sold a pilot to ABC for a scripted comedy that I would star in, so stay tuned.
Were you worried that people would take your musical performances less seriously after those skits?
No, because we’re reaching out to new audiences. Plus concerts and comedy are completely different arenas. I’ve always enjoyed being diversified in my career, and ultimately, it’s just about evolving and staying relevant. I will say that we get some pirate hats at shows now from time to time.
Are there any more skits or songs like that in the pipeline?
We just did a funny song for Fiber One.
Have you ever met anyone else named Michael Bolton?
Well, as you may know, my birth name is actually Michael Bolotin. I can definitively say I have never met anyone else named Michael Bolotin. In fact, most people can’t even pronounce that name when they meet me.
You’re working on a documentary about Detroit. Why there? And what do you hope people take away after seeing it?
It all started when I was recording my tribute to Hitsville USA, where Motown was born. Through various trips to the Motown Museum in Detroit, I started meeting and interviewing musical legends like Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, and Aretha Franklin, and also discovering the incredible renaissance happening in and around the city. We made a lot of friends in different sectors of the community, from Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans to John Varvatos who just opened a store there. Detroit represents all that the American Dream once was and can be again. We hope that people all over the world are educated about the incredible and important legacy of the place.
You’ve dabbled in music, film, and comedy recently. What’s next?
Oh, if I had more time, I would probably try to improve my chipping in golf.