For someone who considers himself to be in the “back nine” of his career, Michael Bolton is keeping plenty busy.
The soul-voiced crooner, who appears 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, published a memoir — “The Soul of It All: My Music, My Life” (Center Street/Hachette) — last year and released his 22nd studio album, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.” (Montaigne Records).
Apparently, there’s more in the Bolton pipeline.
“I’m working on new songs and having meetings on developing and producing television shows and film projects, and possibly a Broadway musical,” he tells The Record of Hackensack. “My friends joke with me about the fact that I never stop.”
However, the two-time Grammy winner and avid golfer does see an end to his career, which stretches back to 1970, when he inked his first record deal at 16 years old.
“I’m entering the back nine,” Bolton tells The Record, in a reference to the last nine holes on a golf course. “The first 18 years leading up to (commercial success) were stellar in some ways, and since then it’s been such a rocket ride.”
Before finding his niche with his trademark blue-eyed soul, the New Haven, Conn., native recorded a half dozen rock albums as a solo act and with his group Blackjack. He also co-wrote hits for Laura Brannigan (“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”) and Cher (“I Found Someone”).
In 1987, Bolton finally become an “overnight” success after releasing a hit cover of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’) on the Dock of a Bay,” paving the way for covers of “Georgia On My Mind” and “When a Man Loves a Woman,” as well as hits he co-wrote, including “Time, Love and Tenderness” and “How Can We Be Lovers?”
Bolton has sold more than 60 million records and nine of his songs topped the pop and contemporary charts.
His new record, which includes a duet with Kelly Rowland on the title track and versions of familiar Motown tunes such as “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “What’s Going On,” and “Tracks of My Tears,” has earned respectable reviews.
AllMusic.com critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine says Bolton “has settled into his skin as a singer,” and described the collection as “one of the most likeable records (he) has made.”
Despite whatever noises he’s making about retirement, Bolton seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight.
He was ever-present this past holiday season, via a series of TV and radio spots for Honda that spoofed hokey holiday tunes and his own image as a romancer.
“Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more exposure,” Bolton tells The Record. “They gave me final approval on all the vocal performances and the footage. I had fun with it and it turned out great. The next thing I knew I was on TV every 15 seconds.”