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Science of the music brain

Michael Buble learned a valuable lesson while participating in a documentary on the complex interplay between music and the human brain.

Michael Buble learned a valuable lesson while participating in a documentary on the complex interplay between music and the human brain.

The Canadian crooner is normal, after all. "I learned that what I was insecure about - me thinking that I wasn't as brilliant as some other writer because I write (with my emotions) - it actually was really nice to learn that most human beings have responded the same way as I do to music," the Vancouver native said in a recent interview.

"So I'm more the norm when it comes down to it."

Meanwhile, Police frontman Sting had a very different reaction to "The Musical Brain," (CTV, 7 p.m. ET on Saturday) which provides a look at the connections between music, memory and the functions and growth of the brain and also features interviews with Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist and former Fugees guitarist Wyclef Jean.

Though Sting willingly participated in a variety experiments with McGill's Dr. Daniel Levitan, he eventually bristled and said that examining the science behind music made him uneasy.

Buble said he was surprised how different he and Sting were on a number of creative levels.

"He writes in a completely different way," Buble said. "They said at one point in the special that he almost gets the same kind of emotional kick out of playing Sudoku that he does writing.

"For me, it's purely emotional. So, I never really have had to second-guess myself too much because emotionally, I'm pretty honest with myself. I know what I like and what I don't."

Though Buble is hard at work on a new album, "The Musical Brain" is just one of the guest appearances he's made of late.

He also contributed a brief original song to a recent episode of NBC comedy "30 Rock." The song, called "Mr. Templeton," was played over a montage in which Alec Baldwin's character goes on a date with a nurse (Salma Hayek) who has her elderly patient in tow.

In an episode that aired the week before, Hayek's character teased Baldwin over his record collection, saying: "I didn't know Michael Buble had so many albums."

Buble said he was on holiday in Hawaii when that episode aired.

"I kept getting phone calls and emails from people saying: 'Man, they're talking about you on the show the last couple weeks,"' he said.

Then his manager called and said that Baldwin and Hayek were both fans and hoped he could contribute a funny little tune to the soundtrack. The always self-deprecating Buble jumped at the opportunity.

Buble says he has known for a while that Hayek is a fan - "really nice, beautiful woman," he says - but that it always surprises him when someone famous knows who he is.

"It's always nice to hear that," he said. "I live in Vancouver, and I'm not a big celeb guy who goes to red carpets, so it's always a surprise when someone you admire likes what you do."

Buble says his next record should come out this fall. As he works on it, the documentary remains fresh in his mind.

"A chord makes me feel a certain thing," he said. "A lyric matched perfectly with that chord helps me to decipher what I think is a hit song. When someone tells you that your brain is working like most of the world's ... it tells you that if you think a song is a hit, that you have a good chance that it will be.

"And maybe other people will respond the same way to what makes you hot about it."

 
 
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